‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’ – Just tell the damn stories

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Mike Meyers could not have picked a better subject for his directorial debut. The quality of the documentary Supermensch is barely even one worth taking into consideration when you sit a camera in front of a guy who managed Jimmy Hendrix, Alice Cooper, Groucho Marx, Teddy Pendergrass, Emeril Lagasse and the list just doesn’t end. Shep Gordon, without question, is a man with a lot of stories. He was the man behind the curtain to which no one paid attention. He was the guy bringing the chicken to Alice Cooper concerts. He was the man who created the genre of celebrity chef.

Meyers loves Shep Gordon. And Meyers’ documentary couldn’t be less of a love parade. That’s really it’s only drawback. There’s somewhat of a lack of conflict in Gordon’s life. This is a man who did everything he wanted to do, and his stories are worth your time. What isn’t worth your time is the sappy Radiohead songs over silent shots of Gordon walking on the beach, the re-creations of anecdotal stories shot by Meyers and the attempts to find something thematic in Gordon’s life.

Overall, Gordon is just a fun drifter. He stumbles into interesting jobs and stories. He once shared joint custody of a cat with Cary Grant. He used to talk Groucho to sleep. Name a hot celebrity gal in the past 30 years, it’s almost a guarantee they had relations. He supplied countless ’70s bands with obscene amounts of marijuana. His policy on his home in Maui is “open invitation” to friends. And overall, he seems like a pretty great guy.

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It’s all just a fun story to tell. So why bother getting trenched down in Gordon’s desperate desire to have a family? The thematic relevance is all there – a man who had an exciting life but never of his own. And, like Meyers’ work as an actor, it lacks any sublety. Frankly, it just gets in the way of the cool stories, which is why anyone is in the theatre in the first place.

Meyers is in one way very impressive: he doesn’t pontificate himself, limiting his appearance to just a few lines about his friend.

As a documentary, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But it’s still a helluva story to tell.



By Kenny Hedges

Suffering from a love of film and writing, Kenny Hedges used to spend his days pounding out reviews of older films nobody saw with the occasional recent press screening peppered in between. He's been published in Cult Montreal and smaller local papers and websites around town. Trained in journalism at Concordia and a high school in Tucson, Arizona that used to let him ditch classes to edit the school paper, he is also cursed with a wikipidic-knowledge of cinema, complete with some unverified information. Sometimes, if he's really good, his fiction gets published. He enjoys house parties, cooking, and old detective novels. Favourite Films: Crimes and Misdemeanors, Halloween, Night and the City, The Wild Bunch, Fletch, Miller's Crossing, Darkman, To Live and Die in L.A., Robocop, Billy Liar, Candyman, Piranha (1978), All The President's Men, Cat People, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, The Monster Squad, Badlands, Away We Go, The Wicker Man (1972), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Favourite Music: Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The Kinks, The White Stripes, The Jam, Burt Bacharach, Bernard Herrman, Modest Mouse, The Walkmen, The Beach Boys, Warren Zevon Favourite Books: The Great Gatsby, The Black Dahlia, In the Mountains of Madness, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Shopgirl, America: The Book, T.S. Elliot, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Billy Liar

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