I just want to go on the record that I really hate having to rate a documentary on Paul Williams so god damn low.
The director of Paul Williams Still Alive is Stephen Kessler, a self-proclaimed fan of Williams who does a very poor job documenting his idol's life and career. Instead, Kessler interjects himself into the narrative so much that it becomes nauseating.
For a majority of the running time we're witnessing Williams' annoyance with Kessler; from Kessler asking…
A bizarre documentary about a tortured genius. Ended up being way too much about the director.
The life and music of Williams is good and interesting enough to fill a movie. Too bad this movie is filled with the director talking about what it all means to HIM and inserting HIMSELF into as much of the movie as Williams. All the meta stuff is clumsy and stupid and eye roll inducing.
There are a lot of different ways to go about a music documentary. You have the "let's give the subject a metaphorical blowjob for 90 minutes" approach. You have the "talking heads dissect everything" approach. You have the "get yourself invited to Ginger Baker's South African compound and antagonize him even though he's a complete dick who might not have a problem killing you" approach.
This film comes from the "way, way, WAY too nervous superfan stalks his idol and…
Los Angeles, CA
I like Paul Williams pretty much. I'm not a huge
deep lover of like every single ballad, but yeah, good.
And Bugsy Malone, as many know is dear to my heart because of the music.
I think where this doc goes wrong is mainly with the direction.
I feel like he had a lot of trouble working with Paul, but after all the
documentary was suppose to be about Paul, no? A good what seemed
Or, Oh, He Wrote That? Lively documentary about the meteoric rise and slow, simmering sobriety of Paul Williams, the singer-songwriter who became one of the world's least likely celebrities in the 1970s, then slipped into obscurity to battle addictions to drugs and alcohol.
The film picks up with Williams in the late '00s after the director, who connected with Williams' work growing up but assumed for years that he had died (hence the title), met him at a screening of…
There's a great story here. Also a story about a filmmaker who finally learns how to shut up and listen to his subject.
An entertaining documentary that almost borders on parody as the vocal director inserts himself into the film and tries to provoke conflict and tragedy that's just not there. The end result is a documentary that feels like it's compiled of the things you're supposed to leave on the cutting room floor, and in the end it resonates as more "real" that way. It's not an essay, it's more or less what happened.
I'm not often into documentaries where the filmmaker works so hard to make themselves part of the narrative, but it works here, mostly due to Williams always being so annoyed by the director's presence.
Anyway, this is a nice tribute to a very important and often overlooked (today) figure.
Uneven, but interesting look at a guy I remember seeing everywhere when I was a kid.
this could have been really great, but the director would not get out of the way. for some strange, unknown reason he seemed to think that we were watching his film because we were interested in him, his thoughts and his feelings as opposed to the reason why we actually watched his documentary.
I grew up with Paul Williams, and have really enjoyed some of his work. But the filmmaker here is so grating and invasive that it just sucks the life out of the film. It's not about you, man.