Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed (2021) – Paints An Interesting Picture

Released: 25th August
Seen: 6th September

Bob Ross Happy Accidents Betrayal & Greed Info

Between 1983 and 1994, Bob Ross delighted viewers with his charming little show The Joy Of Painting. For over 400 episodes, Bob and a series of guest stars would talk the viewer through methods of painting landscapes and he became a cultural phenomenon. Even now, years after his passing, the image of the cheerful man with the giant afro and the well-used painter’s palette is iconic. Hell, it’s well known enough that a recent episode of Drag Race had someone recreate the look with a wig made of squirrels (and sure, they were in the bottom that week but you still knew who they were). Well, turns out the story of Bob Ross’ legacy wasn’t exactly as happy as the little trees that were in many of his paintings.

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He’s All That (2021) – That Don’t Impress Me Much

Released: 27th August
Seen: 29th August

He's All That Info

Pygmalion is a 1913 play by George Bernard Shaw about a little flower girl being taught how to be a proper English lady after a bet between two men, Higgins and Pickering. If this sounds familiar to those who’ve never heard of Pygmalion that’d be because this play ended up being the inspiration for the mega musical My Fair Lady. It also inspired the 1999 film She’s All That, which hasn’t aged well but I promise you was a gigantic hit back in the day. It was part of this period of time where a lot of classic stories got updated for a 90s teen audience and it might have been the most successful of the bunch, although Cruel Intentions and 10 Things I Hate About You have seemed to live on a lot stronger in pulp culture.

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Pray Away (2021) – One Of The Most Important Doco’s Of The Year

Released: 3rd August
Seen: 3rd August

Pray Away Info

If you want to get on the express ticket to my bad side, be on the side of Conversion Therapy. Conversion Therapy, otherwise known as Pray Away The Gay, is the idea that people can be turned straight via some form of extreme therapy. In reality, it’s a way to force queer people into suppressing their true selves in order to be accepted by a group made up of bigots who have only read one book and decided that the part of that book that said gays were bad was a rule they had to follow forever but the part about mixed fabrics was up for debate. Over the years there have been a lot of documentaries regarding this movement but the recent documentary Pray Away might be one of the best of the bunch.

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9to5: The Story of A Movement (2021) – What A Way To Make A Doco

Released: 1st February
Seen: 22nd July

9to5 Info

The last year has not exactly been easy for anyone, but especially those in a regular nine to five job that found themselves suddenly unable to work and make the pittance they’d been making previously. Seems like finally this idea of barely getting by with a back breaking job has found a limit that can’t be ignored, since we now know that at any moment something can happen that will just force the planet to shut down for a year. What we’re seeing now, as things very slowly start approaching normal (APPROACHING, we are nowhere near normal again and stop acting like it) is workers have finally had enough of their low wages and poor treatment and are fighting back… a story that feels eerily similar to the one told in the documentary 9to5: The Story of A Movement

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Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021) – Bewitching

Released: 16th July
Seen: 17th July

Fear Street Part Three: 1666 Info

In the last two weeks, the Horror community has been treated to the first two parts of the Fear Street series. Both parts have been outstanding, glorious slasher throwbacks that honoured the material they were referencing and didn’t skimp on the gore or lesbianism. They were truly brilliant and have been leading up to this, the final part of the epic story of Sarah Fier and the town of Shadyside. It not only has a lot of questions to answer but it has to live up to the spectacular first two parts… so, how is Fear Street Part Three: 1666? Exactly as good as it needed to be, which is to say, “downright spectacular”

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Why Did You Kill Me? (2021) – Seemed Like A Good Idea

Released: 14th April
Seen: 31st May

Why Did You Kill Me? Info

The crime documentary is definitely having a major resurgence right now, in no small part thanks to Netflix who seems to churn out a new one every other week. This kind of makes sense for a streaming platform desperate for unique content because in theory these are simple things to make. Find a weird murder with a lot of twists and turns, have relatives and police officers describe the events as they remember it, maybe hire some actors to recreate certain elements, wait for the editor to put it all together and you have a movie. What sets them apart is how weird/interesting/disturbing the crime is and the general presentation of the information. So, with a film titled “Why Did You Kill Me?” basically begging for attention, does it deserve it?

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The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021) – The Animated Charmer Of The Year

Released: 30th April
Seen: 2nd May

The Mitchells vs the Machines Info

Sony Animation has had something of an interesting history in regards to their output over 20 films. They’ve run the gamut when it comes to quality, from the objectively awful fare like The Emoji Movie to some of the best animation in history with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Slowly they’ve gone from an animation company people would cringe about to one that actually gets a lot of excitement going with their new releases. So, where does The Mitchells vs the Machines fall in regard to the rest of Sony Animation’s output? It’s borderline perfect.

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Over The Moon Header

Over The Moon (2020) – Out Of This World

Released: 23rd October 2020
Seen: 5th April 2021

Over The Moon Info

When it comes to the Oscar race this year for best animated film, it feels like Soul is the foregone conclusion. It’s kind of hard to beat a film that was so funny and poignant with such impeccable visuals and was such a cultural event. However, the race isn’t quite over yet and I would like to offer a wild card entry that might sneak in at the last minute, that being the Netflix original film Over The Moon.

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The Minimalists: Less is Now (2021) – Minimally Good

Released: 1st January
Seen: 2nd January

When I think about minimalism, I tend to think about it in conjunction with the art world. My brain instantly goes to works by the minimalists like Barnett Newman’s Voice of Fire, which is a 5-metre high painting of two dark blue lines with a bold red line right in the middle. Well, it turns out that minimalism is also a lifestyle movement now which basically means to have nothing in your home that you don’t have an actual use for (so bye-bye to that Funko Pop collection).

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