paul williams still alive

discs paul williams

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Paul Williams: Still Alive Like many kids in the ’70s Stephen Kessler was a fan of singer/songwriter Paul Williams‘ particular brand of sad, melodic songs that gave equal time to love and loneliness. As an adult Kessler wondered what happened to his childhood idol, and being a film/commercial director he decided to investigate and make a documentary on the 5’2″ award-winning legend. The result is a fascinating look at a man and a talent who could never have attained such stardom in today’s physically-obsessed world, and for Williams it’s a chance to look back and publicly acknowledge his past demons. At least, that was Kessler’s plan, but he may have neglected to share the idea with the talent. Williams makes for an engaging subject, due both to his personality and his aversion to the whole process. Kessler’s own needs permeate the film, and while he threatens to take over as its focus he actually adds an interesting element to the story about fame. [Extras: Bonus concert footage]

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If there’s anything I hate most about the Oscars it’s the way the movie awards have the power to influence filmmaking. This time of year it’s more and more difficult to tell if certain films are even meant for us, the audience, or if they should solely be shown to the Academy in exchange for little gold men. Of course, one of the purposes of baiting for Oscars is to receive nominations and especially wins, which will presumably help earn more money at the box office (or, more likely, from the cable outlet). This still excludes satisfying the audience as the primary impulse and objective of making movies. In theory, accolades should indeed motivate Hollywood to make the best pictures they could possibly make. There’s still something to be said for art being the best when not aiming for praise and prizes, but in terms of studio product, which is more craft and entertainment than art and expression, such goals can be positive inspiration. Without the Oscars we probably still would have seen a profit-aiding progression of special effects technology and artistry, but surely some production values have improved over time as a result of sound recordists and costume designers and art directors and composers and songwriters striving to be known as the best in their field.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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