Still Bill (film)

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Still Bill
Still Bill film.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Damani Baker
Alex Vlack
Produced by Damani Baker
Alex Vlack
Jon Fine
Andrew Zuckerman
Starring Bill Withers
Music by Robert Burger
David Hoffman
Cinematography Damani Baker
Jon Fine
Ed Marritz
Editing by Jon Fine
Sakae Ishikawa
Studio Late Night and Weekends
Distributed by B-Side Entertainment
Release dates
  • March 2009 (2009-03) (SXSW)
  • January 27, 2010 (2010-01-27) (United States)
Running time 77 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Still Bill is a 2009 documentary film about musician Bill Withers. It received its world premiere at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival.[1] The title is a reference to Withers' 1972 album of the same name.

Plot[edit]

The film follows the life of Bill Withers, from his roots in West Virginia to his career in the United States Navy, to his famed musical career and post retirement family life.

Cast[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews. Review aggregator website Metacritic gave the film a 76 out of 100, indicating "generally positive reviews."[2]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and wrote positively about the film except for one set up interview with Cornel West and Tavis Smiley in the film:

[Withers] still lives and survives as a happy man. Still Bill is about a man who topped the charts, walked away from it all in 1985 and is pleased that he did... Perhaps in an attempt to slip some "meaning" into the film, the documentarians Damani Baker and Alex Vlack arrange a conversation with the scholar Cornel West and Tavis Smiley from PBS. It feels like they're trying to lead Bill into heavy generalizations, but he won't go there. Withers seems as close to everyday Zen as I can imagine. He talks a great deal about his philosophy, to be sure, but it's direct and manifestly true: Make the most of your chances, do the best you can, stop when you're finished, love your family, enjoy life.[3]

Mike Hale of The New York Times also thought the film was well done and mirrored Ebert's position on the interview with West and Smiley:

Offstage Bill Withers, the eternal hero of karaoke baritones, exhibits the same gift for aphorism and general soulfulness that informed hit songs like “Lean on Me” and “Ain't No Sunshine.” This makes much of the biographical documentary Still Bill pleasant and even moving... A dialogue among Mr. Withers, the scholar Cornel West and the television host Tavis Smiley feels forced.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Still Bill - Cast, Reviews, Summary, and Awards". AllRovi. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  2. ^ "Still Bill Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  3. ^ "Still Bill :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  4. ^ Hale, Mike (2010-01-27). "Movie Review - 'Still Bil' - A Documentary Looks at Bill Withers - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 

External links[edit]