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- Starring: Paul Williams
- Summary: He won Grammys and an Academy Award; wrote many #1 songs from Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen" to the Carpenter's "We've Only Just Begun" as well as Kermit the Frog's biggest hit, "The Rainbow Connection"; starred in a Brian DePalma movie; put out his own hit records and albums; was a guest on The Tonight Show fifty times; and is the president of ASCAP... and you might not have heard of him. In the 1970's, Paul Williams was the singer / actor / songwriter that emotional, alienated teenage boys all over the world wanted to be, a sex symbol before MTV, when sex symbols could be 5"2 and sing songs about loneliness with the Muppets. One of those boys was Steve Kessler, a chubby kid from Queens. Thirty years later, Kessler discovered something amazing: Paul Williams didn't die. And no one had ever tried to make a documentary about him. A wistful musical journey that will re-introduce a new generation to Williams' soulful classics, "Paul Williams: Still Alive" is the self-narrated story of Stephen Kessler's lifelong obsession with the former superstar-and what happens when the nostalgic filmmaker finally catches up with him. (Abramorama Films)… Expand
- Director: Stephen Kessler
- Genre(s): Biography, Comedy, Musical, Documentary
- More Details and Credits »
88Williams, who was elected president of ASCAP in 2009, speaks frankly and eloquently about his problems dealing with fame, and his recovery. And more important, he earns our thanks by resolutely refusing to let Kessler turn this into a clichéd documentary.
Jun 7, 201280Mr. Williams's quiet integrity trumps Mr. Kessler at every turn. Self-aware and articulate, with a modesty born from confidence, he persistently uses the film to extol - and demonstrate - the rewards of recovery. His conviction brings necessary moral weight to Paul Williams: Still Alive, which transcends caricature to emerge an impressive personal testament.
Positive: 1 out of 1
Mixed: 0 out of 1
Negative: 0 out of 1
I was recently reminded that a person dies three deaths: 1) their corporeal death, 2) when everyone who ever knew you has also died and 3) when your name is spoken for the last time, ever. I'm in favor of forestalling the latter as long as possible by making sure we learn from as much as we can about those who directly and indirectly had a significant influence on our culture. Those who made their mark in the arts are especially vulnerable to being forgotten early due to our capricious tastes.
(You know, I'm surprised to see no one had reviewed this yet. Hmmm....)
The documentary succeeds because of the subject, Paul Williams. If you like music, I highly recommend you see this. This way, when one of your contemporary music idols mentions how one of Paul Williams songs influenced them or, indirectly, through one of their own influences, you'll know what of they speak.
Surprisingly entertaining. (Well, not that surprising seeing as I'd checked out Metacritic before renting it!)
Regardless, Paul Williams is one who, despite a great body of work, I'd expected to be relatively uninteresting in this day and age. Fortunately, I went with the reviews and am pleased I did.