Some documentaries are motivated by anger, some by curiosity and some by a burning truth that needs to be told. Supermensch: the Legend of Shep Gordon (Michael Myers’ directorial debut) was motivated by love. “Shep Gordon is hands down the nicest person I’ve ever met,” says Myers to the camera, his eyes glistening. Looking at the poster and the title, you’d be forgiven for thinking Gordon was the latest Myers comedy character.
But he is real. He is a confidante, a friend, an agent, the man who helped Myers out when he got into trouble early in his career. Supermensch is his way of saying thanks. As the one time manager of Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin and Luther Van Dross, Gordon has plenty of good stories. A PR genius who found himself in the right place at the right time, Gordon sells himself in this like he sold his clients, which means you’re never quite sure if the stories – the women, the celebrity endorsements, the meeting with Picasso – are completely true. Still, it’s fun to believe they are.
Half way through, it turns from a rambunctious tribute to a tear-stained love letter. Celebrity talking heads compliment his dinner parties. He gets emotional about the Dalai Lama. Most ridiculous, though, is the way he’s lauded for the highly dubious achievement of having created the prototype celebrity chef, at which point I was seriously beginning to doubt his positive effect on the world.