Documentary Sidebar : “Paul Williams : Still Alive”

Trash Film Guru


When I was a little kid, Paul Williams was absolutely fucking everywhere. You couldn’t turn on Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, or Johnny Carson without seeing him. He was a guest star on everything from cop shows like Baretta to sitcoms like The Odd Couple. He was on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island seemingly all the time. In the movies, he took everything from bit parts in big-budget flicks like Smokey And The Bandit to lead roles in singularly unique fare like Brian De Palma’s The Phantom Of The Paradise. He wrote songs for the likes of Barbara Streisand and The Carpenters and had a successful recording career of his own. And who could forget “The Rainbow Connection?”

Yup, there’s no doubt about it — Paul Williams was a positively ubiquitous presence across the entertainment spectrum. Until he wasn’t anymore. And that’s where director Stephen Kessler’s 2011…

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“Tangerine” Dream — Or Nightmare?

Trash Film Guru


For some folks, the occasional vicarious look at people who “live on the margins” is enough. You know the type — they’re fascinated by reality-show train wrecks and Cops reruns and what have you, but really, they’re pretty happy to leave all that behind after 30 minutes or an hour and take the kids to soccer practice or go to the PTA meeting or do whatever it is that suburbanites generally do. Sounds kinda dull to me, but hey, if it’s working for them, more power to ’em.

Some of us, however, are wired a bit differently. “On the margins” won’t do for us when stories about people who live well beyond them are at our disposal. We dig flicks like Harmony Korine’s Gummo and Buddy Giovinazzo’s Combat Shock and Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy. We know that there are millions of people who are forced to eke out…

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