In his directorial debut, Mike Myers documents the astounding career of Hollywood insider, the loveable Shep Gordon, who fell into music management by chance after moving to LA straight out of college, and befriending Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Shep managed rock stars such as Pink Floyd, Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass and Alice Cooper, and later went on to manage chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, ushering in the era of celebrity chefs on television. Stuffed with fantastic archive footage the film traces Shep's transformation from the 1970's hedonist to today's practicing Buddhist yearning for a family of his own.
Most of you probably wouldn't know the name Shep Gordon. If you walked by him on the street, you most likely wouldn't recognize him or even know what he has done for the creative industry. If you have watched a movie, listened to an album, or watched a cooking show, then you should be amazed to know that Shep Gordon was probably a big part of each of those genres. Gordon is a brilliant and kind man who is one of the best managers to the stars and producers to ever live.
His life stories should be entered into the finest museums across the world, because they are truly some of the best and most interesting stories that you will ever hear. It's crazy to me that nobody has done a documentary about this man, up until now that is. And that person is none other than Mike Myers ('Austin Powers' and 'Wayne's World'). Through interviews with Gordon himself and a treasure trove of big name stars in the film, food, and music industries, we get an in depth look at the life of Shep Gordon, who is not only a manager, but a good friend to anyone he comes in contact with.
What I love about this unique documentary is that it is not told in chronological order, but rather is a collection of amazing stories that define Shep himself. One of the great stories that starts the film off is about how Shep got into the business of managing people. While selling drugs to people at a hip Hollywood hotel, Shep heard a woman screaming downstairs by the pool. He went down to see what was going on and saw that it was Janis Joplin having sex with Jimi Hendrix. After the deed was done, Hendrix went over to Shep and asked is he was Jewish. Shep said, "Yes", to which Hendrix told him he should be a manager, and that is just what Shep did. His first client was a very unknown at the time Alice Cooper. Shep is responsible for Cooper becoming the superstar he is today.
But what all of these superstars, including Cooper, Myers, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Emeril Lagasse and dozens of others say about Gordon is that he is one of the most genuine and caring people in the world and they consider him a great friend who they could tell anything to. A good chunk of the film is devoted to Shep and Alice Cooper's relationship and career together and what they did to bump Cooper's fame to the next level. We also see how Shep came across the musicians Teddy Pendegrass and Anne Murray, and how he helped them achieve major success. But through all of these stories, we see that Shep is very grounded and down to Earth and is always willing to put other's needs and wants before his own.
This is evident when he takes in one of his girlfriend's kids as his own. We also see that Shep has always wanted a family and kids, but due to his job and the women who he starts to like, this particular aspect of life has not come easy to him. Not only that, some of his friends would say he is fairly lonely, despite the wealth of friends that surround him. Towards the latter half of the film, we find out that Shep is responsible for the "Celebrity Chef' craze over the past several years and how food has played a vital part in his life and how he cares for people. Where most managers are only interested in money and nothing else, Shep also took a genuine interest in his clients and their lives and wanted to make sure they were bettering themselves and became great friends with each of his clients, because he cared. And through these interviews and his own stories he tells on camera, the man is truly a mensch, which means a person of integrity and honor.
From a story of a random four day vacation with Steve Jobs to hanging out at the Playboy mansion, there is nothing that Shep hasn't seen or lived through in some form or fashion. And while we get a glimpse of some of the great stories that we wish we were on the fly on the wall for, we also get to the deep roots of this amazing man who has touched the lives of so many people in a positive way, while never complaining of his own misfortunes. Mike Myers has done a stunning job of taking hours of footage and arranging them in a unique fashion that keeps each amazing story fresh and appealing and that leaves you wanting to spend more time with this supermensch.
'Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon' comes with a 1080p HD transfer is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Since this is a documentary comprised of tons of archival footage from the 1960s through present day, the image is all over the place. From shoddy vintage footage with tons of dirts and blips to a somewhat crisp if softer look with the present day interview footage, the picture as a whole does the job well, considering the type of production this was. Again, the detail has a softer look to it, with nothing looking demo worthy or every super vivid like you would see with a Michael Bay action film. While the best looking footage is the present day interviews with Shep and the other superstars where decent facial textures show up, nothing is extremely intimate or detailed.
The archival footage that spans several decades has not been cleaned up and has that very old look to it. Some of it is murky, fuzzy, dirty, and full of issues. But I suppose that's all part of the experience here with this great documentary. The colors are all very warm and inviting, much like Shep himself. Nothing in particular pops off screen with the exception of some of the beautiful shots of Hawaii. Skin tones are natural and the black levels are deep and inky when the newer interview footage is on screen. There are plenty instances of aliasing, banding, and other issues, but that's due to the age of the footage and not the transfer. Overall, this video presentation won't win any awards or earn a place on your demo shelf, but it should satisfy you enough.
This release comes with a good DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. This being a documentary, you can't expect a fully immersive sound experience. Rarely does the sound enter the rear speakers and is a very front heavy audio mix. There are a few instances of some ambient noises of ocean sounds and other city and nature sounds, but they don't happen often. It's the dialogue and music that shines here.
The music, which is of course phenomenal, sounds great and full, while mostly sticking to the front speakers. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow as well. There were no pops, cracks, or hissing to speak of either, minus some of the original audio-video footage. The dynamic range is somewhat wide in places and the LFE is good. Like the video above, I wouldn't expect awards with this presentation, but it gets the job done.
Unfortunately, there are no bonus features besides a few trailers for other films that play automatically before the main menu pops up.
'Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon' is a great documentary about one of the best and most genuine people in the entertainment industry. He has touched the lives and careers of so many big name people, all of whom consider him not just a great manager but an incredible friend. The stories are legenedary, fun, and highly entertaining. Since this documentary contains tons of archival footage from the past several decades, the video and audio aren't excellent, but it gets the job done. And there are zero bonus features here, which is a crime, considering there were probably tons of hours of extra interviews and footage that they could have added here. What a shame. And what balls does studio has for charging so much for this Blu-ray, considering there are no extras and less than thrilling video and audio presentations. Although this documentary is a must-see and has great replay factor, I recommend you wait to purchase this release until the price drops.