Paul Williams Still Alive 2012 PG-13

Amazon Instant Video

(63) IMDb 7/10
Available in HD

Paul Williams Still Alive is both a rollicking pop-culture flashback filled with great television and performance clips, and the humorous journey of an awkward documentarian and his reluctant subject.

Starring:
Paul Williams, Stephen Kessler
Runtime:
1 hour 27 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

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Paul Williams Still Alive

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Product Details

Genres Musical, Documentary, Comedy
Director Stephen Kessler
Starring Paul Williams, Stephen Kessler
Supporting actors Karen Carpenter, Johnny Carson, Dick Clark, Angie Dickinson, Jack Klugman, Peter Lawford, Tony Randall, Colin Reboy, Burt Reynolds, Telly Savalas, Barbra Streisand, John Travolta, Stephen Kessler
Studio Brainstorm Media
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

I wish all documentaries could have this much heart and soul.
Jeff Clark
Usually the answer is, he had a relative in the film business but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Coronet Blue
I'm not sure what the movie would be like to someone who hadn't seen him all over the place.
Joan F. Ashcraft

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazoon on November 5, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I'm strongly recommending this film, although only to those "super-fans" of Paul Williams (and I can proudly count myself as being one of them).

I've been listening to Paul Williams ever since my father brought home his LP "A Little Bit Of Love" way back in 1974. I was only 10 or so, but his songs resonated with me even as a young boy. The album was so vastly different from any of the typical country twang that my father was accustomed to playing that it really stood out, and it remains a favorite of mine even to this day. In the mid 70's, Williams released "Phantom of the Paradise", an incredibly creative glam/horror cult film and soundtrack that truly solidified my love for Paul and his music.

STILL ALIVE recounts the many TV guest appearances and cameos Paul made during the 70's, and as a fan, it was so pleasurable watching these film snippets. It was like traveling inside a television time capsule, and I was struck at the sheer volume of projects Paul was involved with. As for the notion of him being deceased, I've always known he was alive and well, so it struck me as phony that a supposed fan like (writer/director) Stephen Kessler wouldn't have known this as well. So in retrospect, the film's title seems more like a marketing tool than anything based in reality.

In any event, this is a solid documentary that kept me interested throughout, and I savored every morsel. I've read in other reviews that some critics found Kessler to be annoying and/or self-serving. I didn't find this to be the case. I very much enjoyed his narration, and felt that it livened up the unhurried pace of the film.

It's a bit saddening for someone like me to watch Paul's shrinking spotlight.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joe Reboy on January 20, 2013
Format: DVD
Tossing aside the poorly chosen title, the film has one significant conceit that harms it... the idea that Paul's existence was solely dictated by his TV popularity. He WAS a staple of 70's TV talk shows, but let's face it, A) the talk show format died, Paul didn't, and B) if that is what you love Paul for you're obviously not as interested in Paul as you think you are. Director Stephen Kessler takes us along on a fascinating ride which on the surface comes across like a stalker/star relationship wherein the stalker uses the camera to leverage access, which lends the first half of the film a great deal of uneasy tension between the subject and the director. How many filmmakers WANT to advertise that their presence made their star itch?

The film still manages to pull a rabbit out of it's hat as Paul's life is explored in sometimes deep levels and other times very shallow ones (an effort to gloss over Paul's work for Alcoholics Anonymous is brushed off nearly as easily as Paul's early attempts to talk about his father). If it ain't about being in front of a camera the director is not interested in it. But in those moments that do manage to sneak through, those of us who HAVE met him briefly are relieved to find out he seems pretty much consistently the calm, patient and subtly brilliant man we perceive very early on.

That Paul had already gone through the painful journey of struggling through alcohol and substance abuse, it's also a bit harsh to see that the two main goals of the director are very mean-spirited... a sleepover and an effort to shock him by forcing him to watch a coked-up performance he gave, again, on camera. It's difficult to imagine considering yourself a huge fan of Paul's and then treating him in such a crass manner.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Slick on October 19, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Overall, I'd give this a recommend if you are a Paul Williams fan, or someone who is curious about who Paul Williams was and is (given the fact that, as with any film, it is a "fake" reality that has been edited and organized to tell a story).

I think the blurb oversells the film a bit (it's not exactly rollicking and humorous), but I did find it solid, if not a little weird - because it is also about the filmmaker and how he is reacting to Paul Williams... I liked it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barber on November 8, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
A MUST SEE for all Paul Williams fans. I really related to the films producer. I also related to Paul, because I am also in recovery.

He is clearly a musical genius.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By filmfan1970 on November 8, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
The premise of director Stephen Kessler's film, Paul Williiams Still Alive, is that Kessler, a fan of legendary singer-songwriter and 70s pop culture icon,Paul Williams, since childhood, wrongly assumed that Williams was dead. Once Kessler discovered, in fact, that Williams was 'still alive,' he decided to look Williams up and make a documentary about him, or so he says. That premise sounds shaky to begin with. If you are a fan of someone's work then wouldn't you feel compelled to keep up with what they have been up to, creatively speaking? WIth such a self professed love of Williams' music, you would think that Kessler would give us some insight into the man and what he's been up to during the last three decades. Instead, what you get here are numerous opportunities spent trying to get Williams to emote on camera with very little regard for what makes him tick as a person. There are some interesting and amusing clips of Williams' 70s variety and talk show appearances but, other than that, there isn't really much to recommend the film. That's too bad when one considers the short shrift (no pun intended) that the diminutive songwriter has gotten over the years. Here is to hoping that a real Paul Williams documentary will materialize somewhere in the near future as this clearly isn't it.
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