BWW Review: GOOD FORTUNE Celebrates A Good And Philanthropic Man
If there is a time in our lives when we need to be reminded what the true face of humility and philanthropy looks like, today is it. When images of arrogance and self-aggrandizement dominate the airwaves, it is refreshing and even intoxicating to meet a man like John Paul DeJoria. JP, as he's familiarly known, is the subject of GOOD FORTUNE, Josh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell's documentary tribute to this unique individual of good will.
Horatio Alger would love DeJoria, the epitome of the rags to riches story that only in America can be realized. DeJoria, a self-made billionaire and the titan behind John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patrón Tequila, is no ordinary man, but, as the bio-doc reveals, he is in every regard an extraordinary everyman ~ homeless, gang member, biker, philanthropist, and devoted family man.
GOOD FORTUNE chronicles his emergence from the mean streets of Los Angeles through homelessness, business failures, and personal tragedy to the top of the business world ~ ever humble and ever-connected to his Greek family roots. He's the American Dream incarnate but distinct in the way he has used his accumulated wealth, founding businesses designed to build a better world (The Awapuhi Farm, a sustainable solar powered organic farm in Hawaii) and contributing to countless charitable causes.
Among the who's who of celebrities (Michelle Phillips, Cheech Marin, Roger Daltrey, Pierce Brosnan, and Robert Kennedy ~ just to name a few) who attest to JP's humanity and humility, it's Arianna Huffington who captures the concept of corporate social responsibility that JP emulates: that money and power constitute a two-legged stool that is unsustainable; it is giving back that makes the stool whole and valuable. A moving recollection by his daughter Alexis reveals how JP goes one step beyond and emulates Maimonides' levels of charity: to give anonymously and to endow one's fellow man with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others.
Sure, the film has the feel at times of either an infomercial for JP or an episode from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, aided along by the narration of Dan Aykroyd whose stentorian tones seem to be channeling Robin Leach. One has to marvel though at the superstardom and showmanship he has achieved among his friends, clients, partners, and beneficiaries ~ whether descending into a hall suspended on a motorcycle or receiving the adoring cheers of thousands of aspiring beauticians as if he were Elvis.
But, in the end, GOOD FORTUNE is all together an uplifting and enjoyable profile of a genuinely fulfilled and fulfilling humanitarian.
To wrap the case on behalf of JP's iconic status, the film is bookended with the before-and-after experience of Johnny Georges, a humble farmer with an idea that can benefit other farmers without gouging them. He presents his product, Tree-T-Pee, a water containment system for agribusinesses, to the Shark Tank entrepreneurs, and only DeJoria is willing to step up to the plate and invest in his altruistic dream. Today, Georges' enterprise has gone worldwide, and JP's motto, "Success unshared is failure," has again been realized.
GOOD FORTUNE, as much an allegory about the American Dream and the use of wealth as it is about John Paul DeJoria, is one of the featured films at the 2017 Sedona International Film Festival, February 18th through the 26th.
Photo credit to Big Picture Ranch