If you don’t know the name Paul Williams, you’ll recognize his songs.
This is the man behind “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “The Rainbow Connection” and Barbra Streisand’s smash, “Evergreen,” to name a few.
Lifelong fan and filmmaker Stephen Kessler set out to discover what happened to Williams, who was a ubiquitous presence on 1970s television. Williams disappeared from the scene as his life spiraled downward and the reason is simple: Drugs and alcohol.
The documentary picks up when Williams, then 16-years sober, plays a sold out show in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to adoring fans who, like Kessler, were afraid the singer was dead or had simply stopped performing. This movie would be truly great if it weren’t for one thing: Kessler.
He’s probably the most annoying onscreen documentary presence since Myles Berkowitz in 20 Dates, with constant fretting over whether Williams likes him or whether they’ll finish the film. On the flip side, Williams is a delight. Watching him go from writhing in front of the camera to merely being suspicious of it to embracing it is one of the movie’s pleasures.
At this stage in his career, he’s self-assured, humble and thoughtful. It’s an addiction story with a happy ending.
CCA Cinemateque, PG-13, 87 min.