Film Review: Paul Williams, Still Alive

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Yes, I fondly remember when I was a kid and Paul Williams was everywhere on TV. I never was a big fan of the actor, but loved his music whole heartedly. He was one of the most influential songwriters of the 70s next to Burt Bacharach. Then he vanished with the end of decade and I always wondered what happened to him.

Well that’s partly what the movie is about. Director Stephen Kessler inserts himself in the documentary as a starstruck fan trying to convince Williams that he is a worthy subject to film. And he is definitely worthy of a bio with all the amazing music and stuff he’s done. However the film barely touches this and is more of a documentary of how Kessler became Williams “friend.” He follows him around where Williams makes his rounds as an oldies act and uncomfortably probes Williams’ past drug problems in the 80’s and fall from celebrity status. Other awkward moments when Williams clearly doesn’t want to be on camera takes up too much of the films running time. When things get slow, Kessler gives us some great archival clips and musical performances to keep us interested.

So I recommend this film to anyone who loved Williams with a simple caveat, this isn’t a proper bio but a candid look at his life now and that he’s a better man without all that celebrity crap. Rent it on Amazon or Buy the DVD.