Paul Williams Still Alive (2012)
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as Dick Clark
as Johnny Carson
as Karen Carpenter
as Richard Carpenter
as Robert Blake
as Barbra Streisand
as John Travolta
as Angie Dickinson
as Paul Williams
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Critic Reviews for Paul Williams Still Alive
The insightful, rueful, intensely self-critical and self-aware Williams delivers a harsh look at his own accomplishments, as well as at Kessler's process.
What makes Paul Williams Still Alive successful is the relationship between Kessler and Williams.
For all of Kessler's annoying traits, he did get results. Perhaps a different approach wouldn't have yielded a film as satisfying as "Paul Williams Still Alive."
The resulting documentary, at once endearing and dull, does indeed tell us about Williams, but it also tells us perhaps too much about Kessler.
Filmmaker Stephen Kessler's sheer delight in following around his boyhood idol, whose music framed much of the '70s when Kessler was a lad in Queens, is thoroughly infectious.
Audience Reviews for Paul Williams Still Alive
A sentimental portrait of a man who wanted nothing more than to entertain others (and eat squid). This film made me a fan of Paul. In more ways than expected.
A hostile documentary fails in a most spectacular way. Despite the film's obvious initial motivation to force a trite tale of a fall from grace, it ends up showing the truth, that Williams is happier now than he has ever been. Paul Williams succeeded in transcending superficiality and achieving something he could never in Hollywood: gaining acceptance and friendship as his authentic self.
"Paul Williams: Still Alive" is a moderately involving documentary whose lesson is not to not meet one's heroes but rather to not get personally involved with one's fans. That's because Paul Williams fan Stephen Kessler who was at first surprised that he was still alive tracks his hero down to Winnipeg where he is performing in concert, signing autographs and body parts and consuming insane amounts of squid. Later, Kessler films him on tour, apparently only to badger him over two continents as to why he appeared in such 70's television series as 'The Gong Show.' Three reasons are readily apparent: One for the money, two, because Williams was such a ham and three, how many people can say they were shot by Angie Dickinson? In fact, I was thinking over the first twenty minutes of this documentary that this was the first time Kessler picked up a camera. And then it is revealed that Kessler has actually directed a couple of features, along with commercials. I guess directing a documentary is harder than it looks.
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