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Dear Hollywood: Audiences are Ready for a Bob Ross Feature Film (or Five)

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Hollywood your love affair with painters is nothing new.  There have been several films produced over the years celebrating a handful of noteworthy, so called “elite” artists for their creations as well as their historical influence on popular culture.  Take Vincent Van Gogh for example, as one of the most beloved artists of all-time, filmmakers remain starry-eyed with the post-impressionist painter thus documenting his short but colorful life more than any other artist with four feature films, including the lauded bio, Lust for Life (1956) starring Kirk Douglas.

Surprisingly, filmmakers have likewise featured Spanish artist, Francisco Goya in four movies, (maybe more, if you’re counting foreign films) the most memorable being Goya’s Ghosts, starring Stellan Skarsgard as the acclaimed painter as well as actors Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman.

Although Pablo Picasso is a name synonymous with artistic greatness in art or other creative endeavors, this prolific artist and pop-culture phenomenon of the twentieth century only has two films, the most impressive being the perennial Surviving Picasso (1996) starring Anthony Hopkins, as the cruel, but charismatic, larger-than-life artist.

The 1980’s neo-expressionist, graffiti artist and one-time Warhol collaborator, Jean-Michel Basquiat is tied with Picasso with two films, including, Basquiat (1996) starring an all-star cast featuring:  Jeffrey Wright, Benicio del Toro, Gary Oldman and David Bowie as Andy Warhol.

Then there’s a hodgepodge of other notable films thereafter such as:  The Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), appertaining to Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer, Pollock (2000), about the life of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, Frida (2002), celebrating the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) a documentary concerning the elusive, underground graffiti-artist and political activist, Banksy, which are worth mentioning.

All the same, there’s one preeminent painter missing Hollywood, and I’m not happy about it!

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“Happy Little Mountains and Pleasant Hills Where Snow Lives” by Bob Ross

July 4th marked the twenty-first anniversary of the death of Bob Ross, one of the most beloved painters the world has ever known.  Ross is a treasured icon.  More than any other artist, he exposed painting to millions of latchkey kids through his mesmerizing television series, The Joy of Painting, which aired on PBS from 1983 to 1994.  His lesser known show Beauty is Everywhere is currently streaming on Netflix.  Known for his expeditious “alla-prima” technique, he created nearly 30,000 paintings in his lifetime, hundreds of which were immortalized in his television show.  His art featured: majestic, snow-capped mountains, fluffy clouds, and happy little trees.  While audiences fondly remember his serene landscapes and his proclivity for using a fan brush, they also appreciate his gentle demeanor and love for nature and particularly small rodents.  Like Warhol, Bob Ross had a trademark look:  the unmistakable, frizzy afro, scraggly beard, the unbuttoned dress shirt, and tight denim jeans.  However, it’s Ross’ zen-like message about art, creativity and humanity, that audiences remember most.  It’s been said that “the majority of people who watch Bob Ross, have no interest in painting.”  There’s some truth to that, because were his paintings any good?  Art critics argue, no.  But many others disagree.  They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you connect with Ross’ message or work, then isn’t that of lasting permanence?  And wasn’t that his lesson all along?  Which begs the question, what makes Van Gogh, Picasso, or any other aforementioned artist “better” than Bob Ross?  Regardless of which side you’re on, there’s no denying Bob Ross is one of the greatest pop-culture icons of the twenty-first century.  With that said, do you know how many films have been made about Bob Ross?  Zero.  That’s right, nada!  There’s never been a better time to start a new genre of Bob Ross inspired films.  So, since we have a blank canvas, I have 5 Bob Ross inspired film ideas, that I’m ready to discuss with you Hollywood.

Pixar, sure you’ve made some fantastic films about:  cars, toys, fish, monsters and rats, but stop playing with our emotions and get your writers to see the forest through the trees.  I envision a parent lost to a forest fire, but remember everyone loves happy endings.

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Photo by Matthew Mahone

It turns out you do have to suffer for your art, at least when you get trapped in Bob Ross’ basement, where all his paintings were made.  Let’s push the envelope and make a trademark Tarantino style film.  I can’t wait to hear the soundtrack.

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Photo by Matthew Mahone

Everyone loves a good romantic comedy, but casting is key.  You’ll want to make a film that is funny, but profoundly heartwarming.  It’s been said that Pitt, “uses his star power to get people to look to where the light doesn’t usually shine” and that’s just what a Bob Ross movie needs.

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Photo by Matthew Mahone

No animals would be harmed in the making of this surreal film.

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Photo by Matthew Mahone

Christoph Waltz stars as Bob Ross, who gives the outward appearance as a gentle soul, but in reality, he was a manipulative sociopath.  How else can you explain the fact that there were no humans in his paintings and all his friends were trees?

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Photo by Matthew Mahone

It was Ross himself who said, “The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do.  Anything.  As long as you believe.”  Do you believe Hollywood?  You know where to find me, my number hasn’t changed.

#BobRossMovie

Article written by Matthew Mahone

Follow me on Twitter @M_E_Mahone