Category Archives: stephen kessler
Paul Williams Still Alive ~ I saw this great little documentary on Showtime one night when I couldn’t get to sleep, and I’m glad I did. I remember Paul Williams. He was everywhere in the 1970s on TV and movies. I knew he was a singer, and more importantly, a songwriter. A serious songwriter. If you listened to the radio in the early seventies, you heard dozens of Paul Williams songs. In a way, he was the seventies.
What immediately pulled me in about this documentary was that the narrator seems to think that as well. As a matter of fact, his perspective and sense of time and space were mine. That commonality made this doc somehow more personal.
By the time the documentarian is actually accepted by Paul Williams, I was hooked and in for the whole ride. Really I would have watched anything at this point, but man, what a treat that it was really good. Writer/director Stephen Kessler is that good, I would have watched a doc about squid if that’s what it became.
The actual doc subject however is Paul Williams. The thing is, this isn’t just a bio of an amazing songwriter, singer, and pop culture icon – it’s also a tale of his fall and redemption. At the time if this doc, Williams was not only on tour, but also twenty years sober and a licensed drug rehab counselor. And it’s also the story of the friendship between the filmmaker and his subject.
Whether you watch it as a Paul Williams fan, as a time capsule of the 1970s, or just as a darned good documentary, Paul Williams Still Alive is definitely worth watching. Check it out.