Buffalo News Arts Editor Jeff Simon watched “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” at his desk this week and we’re sure that his peals of laughter could be heard by the crew constructing HarborCenter across the street.
In his 3 1/2 star review of the film from director/comedian Mike Myers, Simon wrote of Gordon, a graduate of the University at Buffalo: “This is a man who seems to have known half of the people in the world worth knowing, from Michael Douglas to the Dalai Lama. And, get this, he is credited now by no less than celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse with being the man who was the de facto creator of the whole idea of the celebrity chef, on the Food Network and afterward.”
Later in the review, Simon said: “What makes “Supermensch” virtually required viewing for anyone interested in rock or show business at all, is its riotously funny first hour where this super tale teller gives us, in the stories of [Alice] Cooper’s rise, some of the most irresistible showbiz in any documentary you’ve ever seen.
Here are what two other critics had to say:
Rafer Guzmán, Newsday: “ ‘ Supermensch’ aims to do for Gordon what other documentaries have done for Brian Wilson and film producer Robert Evans: raise the public’s awareness of an influential but overlooked figure. To that end, it succeeds. Though it’s entirely scandal-free, it’s filled with the kind of ‘Who knew?’ moments that pop-culture fans live for. Alice Cooper’s bloody chicken, Teddy Pendergrass’ women-only concerts and Anne Murray’s unlikely cool-crowd appeal are all explained here. Is it really possible that Gordon, a Jewish Buddhist who once cooked for the Dalai Lama, has spread nothing but good karma during a lifetime in the cutthroat entertainment industry? If so, his story is not just colorful but truly amazing.”
Walter Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle: “Gordon, who seems an affable sort, recounts many juicy stories, such as hanging out at Hollywood’s Landmark motel, where he encountered Janis Joplin (who punched him) and Jimi Hendrix. He’s honest about his relentless womanizing, although the film doesn’t dwell on it. He seems modest about acts of generosity you wouldn’t expect from a show biz agent. ... Gordon’s had quite a life. After a serious health scare, he retired, and says he has no interest in fame, for himself or others. He seems reflective for an insider in a tough business, and allows, on an unexpectedly serious note, that he would still like to have children. Having seen the film, I still don’t know if Gordon is really a supermensch, and I’ll hazard a guess that some unflattering material has been left out. If you can accept that, you may relish the gossipy, dishy stuff Myers serves up. For a while, you can feel like a part of the golden circle.”