ET Movie Review: 'Paul Williams Still Alive'
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If you watched a lot of TV back in the 1970's, you probably remember Paul Williams. Now there's a documentary about this famous singer/songwriter from another era called "Paul Williams: Still Alive".
He wrote such hits for The Carpenters as "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "We've Only Just Begun". Three Dog Night charted big with his tune "Just an Old Fashioned Love Song". He won an Oscar for Barbara Streisand's "Evergreen" and even penned "The Rainbow Connection" for Kermit The Frog.
Williams appeared on dozens of television shows in the 70s. Everything from "The Tonight Show" to "The Gong Show" to "The Love Boat".
He was also the idol of filmmaker Stephen Kessler who sets out to find out what happened to this guy and how he seemingly disappeared from show business for decades.
The answer: Alcohol and drugs.
But Williams has been fully rehabilitated for quite some time and no longer craves the spotlight the way he did years ago, when he took every lousy TV offer that came his way.
Williams is such a different person these days, that it's interesting that he doesn't even want anyone to make a film about him.
Documentarian Kessler's adoration for his subject is so intense that it sadly overtakes the movie. Too often the film becomes more about Kessler's attempts to connect with Williams on a personal level, than it does about Williams himself. Consequently, the film feels too long.
Despite this, the old clips are fun, there are interesting moments like Williams' revulsion at watching an old tape of himself, high as a kite on cocaine, while guest hosting for Merv Griffin.
Even with flaws, Kessler does manage to paint a portrait of a talented guy who seems to be a lot happier with his life now having finally found himself.