Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TIFF 2013: Shep Gordon & Mike Myers: "Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon"

If you don't know who Shep Gordon is, then don't let that stop you from seeing Mike Myers' directorial debut, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon -- an extraordinary documentary about one of the entertainment industry's most successful managers.

Gordon's incredible journey first began after a chance meeting with Jimi Hendrix at a cheap LA hotel. The would-be legendary rocker casually suggested to the unemployed Gordon to consider managing musical artists simply because of his strongest qualification: he was Jewish. Gordon agreed and soon after guided a then unknown Alice Cooper to international fame. Gordon proved that his mentorship wasn't a fluke after he also spear-headed newcomer Anne Murray to the top of the Billboard charts. Some of his other celebrity clientele included: Blondie, Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross, Raquel Welsh and for 9 days, Pink Floyd.

He earned the respect of the who's who in Tilseltown not only for his savvy business ideas but his enormously big heart. Decades later, Myers first met Gordon when negotiating the music rights to Alice Cooper's No More Mister Nice Guy for his rock-comedy Wayne's World. It would be the start of a beautiful and long-lasting friendship.

Mensch is a Jewish term that refers to a person with integrity and honour. To all of Gordon's closest friends, he whole-heartledly fits that bill and then some. In Supermensch, Myers assembled an array of Hollywood actors (Michael Douglas, Sly Stallone -- even Tom Arnold) and musicians (Alice Cooper, Blondie and Anne Murray) to recount their fondest memories of their friend Gordon. Myers perfectly weaves their stories using film clips and stock footage with recollections shared by Gordon himself. The result is an engaging love-letter to the manager, who never seemed to manage his own life with the same dedication as his clients.

Despite his failed marriage and lost loves, Gordon was never blessed with having children of his own. He says, "I don't know who to leave this all to," referring to his great wealth.

Why Myers chose to make this documentary his directorial premiere is evident on screen. He has tremendous love and respect for Gordon, who was there for Myers during his most troubling times.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon has no official release date yet, but I urge you to see it when inevitably plays at a theatre near you.

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