Published Nov 01, 2013Anyone who's had the misfortune of stumbling across Celebrity Rehab on TV would immediately recognize Bob Forrest as one of the counsellors regularly helping actors and musicians like Tom Sizemore and Steven Adler try to stay clean and sober. His cragged, pockmarked face, usually seen under the brim of a fedora, has weathered the full extent of years spent abusing drugs and alcohol. Revealing what many may not know about Forrest from those television appearances, documentary Bob and the Monster charts how he sidestepped becoming a rock'n'roll cliché by getting clean and then devoted his life to helping others do the same.
As a former roommate of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and Anthony Kiedis, Forrest and his band, Thelonious Monster, were part of the Los Angeles music scene in the '80s, which also included Fishbone and Jane's Addiction. Many of those bands' various members appear to help piece together the raucous time, while an abundance of home video footage captures the raw energy of the live performances of Thelonious Monster and others. While they didn't enjoy the level of success of some of their peers, they did earn credibility and a loyal following before Forrest's addictions helped derail their momentum.
In an industry where artists are constantly chasing a high off-stage to substitute for, or surpass, the one on-stage, Forrest is an ideal candidate to help combat this tendency and a naturally compelling documentary subject. Even delving briefly into a childhood that was ideal, in spite of a large secret he didn't discover for some time, the film admirably attempts to paint an in-depth portrait of Forrest, uncovering that the constants in both his music and addiction work is a deep passion and unfaltering pursuit of honesty.
Recreating some scenes, like Forrest's first time using heroin, with the use of Claymation proves to be a nice way of visualizing the sense of detachment that accompanies drug use. His commitment to battling addiction has clearly touched many, as is evident when Courtney Love becomes emotional in discussing how much Forrest has helped her and her family. On one of the two commentary tracks on the disc, Forrest amusingly compares the experience of having a documentary made about himself to being present at his funeral, while the other has the filmmakers offering a fairly unexciting blow-by-blow of making the film.
Aside from that, there's also a behind-the-scenes look at how the Claymation sequences were made that, in a series of still photographs, gives only a disappointing hint of how difficult it is to make moving arms and legs an inch at a time actually worth watching. (Universal)