PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE
Release Date: June 08, 2012
Starring: Paul Williams, Johnny Carson,
Merv Griffin, Peter Lawford,
Karen Carpenter, Burt
Reynolds, Tony Randall, Kermit
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 87 minutes
Director: Stephen Kessler
Executive Producer: Robert Cohen, Lesa Lakin
Producer: Stephen Kessler, Jim
Czarnecki, Mike Wilkins, David
Writer: Stephen Kessler
Address Comments To:Richard Abramowitz
22 Green Valley Road
Armonk, New York 10504
Phone: (914) 273-9545
Fax: (914) 273-1351
The documentary starts with filmmaker Stephen Kessler saying how much he was inspired by Paul Williams when he was a boy. “I always thought he died too young,” Kessler notes as a recording of Paul singing “Rainy Days and Mondays” plays in the background. “When I was a kid, I really wanted to be Paul Williams,” Kessler adds.
Kessler is surprised to learn Paul is still very much alive and still performs. He becomes determined to seek out Paul and ask him to do a documentary on his life. Reluctant at first, Paul agrees, but then becomes recalcitrant about revealing the details of his 1980s alcohol and drug addiction. Now more than 20 years in recovery, Paul doesn’t like to talk about the past and how much of a lost, arrogant jerk he became in the wake of his early fame and substance abuse. However, as he confronts his past and how far he’s come, Paul reveals he’s so much happier being a sober, though less well-known, artist. In fact, he now serves as president of an industry group that protects the rights of songwriters.
PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE is an uplifting tale of recovery from addiction and the dangers of fame and fortune. It’s quirky, funny, and ultimately very moving. The lyrical songs of Paul Williams, which include the marvelous “Rainbow Connection” from the first Muppets movie, form a wonderful backdrop. Viewers also get a chance to see Williams travel during various concert gigs, including a funny trip to the most dangerous island in The Philippines.
The only complaint MOVIEGUIDE® has is that the movie never details how Paul was able to overcome his addiction. Thus, it contains no specific moral lessons or spiritual aids. It becomes clear, however, that Paul Williams has somehow developed an inner strength and decency. It’s also clear that he and his wife, Mariana, love one another.
MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for some foul language and drug references.
PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE is an uplifting tale of recovery from addiction and the dangers of fame and fortune. It’s quirky, funny and very moving. The lyrical songs of Williams, including the beautiful “Rainbow Connection” from the first Muppets movie, form a wonderful backdrop. The movie doesn’t discuss how exactly Paul stopped being an alcoholic. There’s also some foul language and references to drug use, so caution is warranted.