Paul Williams Still Alive | Chicago Reader

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Rated PG-13 · 84 minutes · 2012

Documentary
Paul Williams wrote some of the biggest pop hits of the 70s, recorded by artists like Three Dog Night ("An Old Fashioned Love Song"), the Carpenters ("We've Only Just Begun"), Barbra Streisand ("Evergreen"), and even Kermit the Frog ("Rainbow Connection"). For most of the decade Williams was ubiquitous as a TV performer too, though in the 80s his career was sucked down into the usual vortex of drugs and alcohol. Now sober for 20 years, Williams tolerates—just barely—the crowding camera and invasive questioning of documentary maker Stephen Kessler, who follows him around as he travels from one low-level gig to the next. The movie joins a growing list of fanboy videos (Coming Back for More, about Sly Stone; Do It Again, about the Kinks) whose real subject is the interviewer's personal relationship with his musical idol; Williams, to his credit, is pretty gracious about the whole thing, given that the general thrust of Kessler's questions is how it feels to be washed up.
Director: Stephen Kessler
Producer: Jim Czarnecki, Stephen Kessler, Mike Wilkins, David Zieff, Robert Cohen and Lesa Lakin

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