by Bill Pearis
It's quite the résumé: writer of hit songs for the Carpenters, Barbra Streisand and the Muppets; delightfully villainous costar of Brian De Palma's cult classic Phantom of the Paradise; one of Johnny Carson's favorite guests. Paul Williams has lived a life most would envy, but according to Stephen Kessler's revealing documentary, he's only just begun. This isn't your standard talking-heads hagiography. Kessler began filming as a fan first, attending a Williams concert in Canada after he discovered his childhood idol, long out of the Hollywood limelight, was still alive and well. He slowly works his way into the legendary singer-songwriter's confidence, accompanying him to a variety of events--celebrity golf tournament, autograph signings, performances around the globe--and probes his subject about his colorful past. [Time Out NY]One of the coolest cats of the '70s, Paul Williams' songwriting credits include The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" and "Rainy Days and Mondays," The Monkees' "Someday Man," the theme to The Love Boat, and all the songs for The Muppet Movie, Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, Phantom of the Paradise and Bugsy Malone. He also starred in Phantom of the Paradise, and had roles in Smokey & the Bandit and '60s cult film The Loved One, among other works. More recently he collaborated with The Scissor Sisters on their 2006 album Tah-Dah. Paul Williams Still Alive opens in NYC on Friday, June 8 at the Angelika in NYC. Paul Williams will be at the 8PM screenings on Friday (6/8) and Saturday (6/9) for a post-screening Q&A. He's gotta have a lot of good stories.
Watch the trailer for Paul Williams Still Alive below, along with some tv clips of Paul in his '70s prime.