Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon – TIFF 2013 Review

Written by ScottClark

Mike Myers’ directorial debut is proof not only that he’s a skilled director and impressive documenter, but the subject of his film is probably one of the coolest men to ever live. Shep Gordon, manager extraordinaire, is a power house of productivity, a messiah of good times, and an all-round nice guy. He’s managed Alice Cooper since the beginning of his career, practically invented the concept of the celebrity chef, and has managed to intertwine his existence with the mint of Hollywood and rock royalty by being one of the world’s greatest hosts. So says Supermensch; The Legend of Shep Gordon.

maxresdefault (1)The key to Myers’ film is that he has a genuine respect for Gordon, like the rest of the stars who pop up through this charming – often hilarious – exploration of Gordon’s career. Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Myers himself, Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson, to name a few, all jump at the opportunity to give candid tales of Gordon’s frankly mindboggling life. From his humble, drug-fuelled beginnings hanging out with the likes of Hendrix and Joplin, onwards through his fast-paced career in music and film. His legendary appetite for good times and women are here exceeded only by his love for seemingly everyone he meets.

Myers is an incredibly gifted filmmaker, fusing his zany wit and comic timing with Gordon’s own barmy life. His editing is sharp and gripping; snippets from movies and a great soundtrack make Supermensch nothing short of fascinating viewing. Perhaps Myers gets a bit caught up in his own love for the father-figure, at points making his documentary a kind of advertisement, but a keen sense of ‘the man’ Gordon as opposed to just ‘the legend’ maintains a suitably grounded and heartfelt film. The Alice Cooper chapter goes on a bit but Gordon’s input into Cooper’s vaudevillian act is vast and thus arguably important. Sure, near-ridiculous amount of good praise for Gordon gets silly at points, but only a cynical kind of tabloid gossip-craving would render this an actual fault. Take a page out of Gordon’s book and cheer the hell up.

No matter where your interests lie, Gordon’s life is at worst intriguing and at best mad. This is a highly impressive debut and a thrilling story of a loving friend, hedonist, innovator, and showman. The fifteen year old me wants another Austin Powers, whilst now I can’t help but hope Myers has another go in the director’s chair.

 

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon is entirely watchable, vivid, and compulsive filmmaking punctuated by a host of celebrity guests, a great soundtrack, and some psychedelic editing. Myers’ debut film is an impressive exploration of a life well-lived: heart-warming, hilarious, but above all highly recommendable.

4/5

Scott Clark

 

Dir: Beth Aala & Mike Myers

Stars: Shep Gordon, Michael Douglas, Alice Cooper, Mick Fleetwood

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