Director: Mike Myers
A&E IndieFilms/Nomoneyfun Films
Supermensch tells the story – well, part of the story – of Shep Gordon. He’s best known as manager of Alice Cooper. But he’s had a fascinating career in music management (Anne Murray, Blondie, Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass) before moving on over into film producing too – and, so the story seems to go, he invented the idea of The Celebrity Chef.
So who – really – is Shep Gordon? And why has the guy who created Austin Powers made a documentary about him?
Well, Myers, creatively spent following the harrowing flop of his disastrous comedy, The Love Guru, sought solace in Shep’s world. He’d known Gordon since his top client Alice Cooper had a career-reviving cameo in Wayne’s World. Gordon’s become famous for his Hawaiian hideaway where he hosts parties that pull from all areas within the celebrity paradigm, he’s the host with the most. Myers took some time to get to know Shep better and to find himself. As a result he made this film.
It’s a fun walk through the amazing life/lives of a total chancer. Gordon is blessed with a gift of gab feature that had him talking his way into a music-managing career and then learning the skills on the job. His stories around breaking Alice Cooper are legendary.
He then worked out ways to make the safe and improbable country/folk superstar Anne Murray seem dangerous, or at least exciting.
There’s no denying the man has a real talent – an ability to spot ways to make things work.
But we are only ever given the celebratory version of events. We know this because Myers’ subtitle works as a disclaimer. We know this too because we see Gordon wearing a t-shirt that says No Head No Backstage Pass. There’s talk of sex and violence – but it’s muted. It’s a casual mention. You know that Gordon’s been involved with bad things – you just know it. You know it too because the film focuses on his spiritual rebirth as friend of The Dalai Lama, as convert to Buddhism. In fact if you didn’t know he was real already, you might think that Shep Gordon is the greatest mockumentary character ever.
Myers’ film is a lovely off-beat tribute that just happens to be delivered as gushing love-letter. But it’s certainly worth watching. There’s a charm to Gordon. There’s also a great sadness there, some spiritual bankruptcy that he’s recovered from, started over. The new leaf doesn’t make his exploits from the past any less interesting.
And the charm of the film is that we are never really concerned with the idea that there’s another side of the story – a darkness that’s being avoided. That’s a subtle deception Shep Gordon would have been proud to orchestrate.