Mark “Gator” Rogowski was one of the most celebrated professional skateboarders of the 1980’s. Along with the likes of Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero and Lance Mountain he took the sport from a few kids messing around to a multi-million dollar industry, which earned them great wealth and fame.
Eventually styles in skateboarding changed, the clothing lines that sponsored him stopped being cool and an ill-conceived name change knocked him off the top spot. Unable to deal with the downturn in his career, his personal life also began to suffer, leading to a violent crime in 1991 that shocked the skateboarding community found him serving 31 years to life in prison.
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Stoked documents Gator’s and skateboarding’s rise to fame from the first pro signings to it’s peak in the late 80’s. Using footage from the time and interviews with the biggest names of the time, including Gator himself (by telephone from prison), the film shows how too fame that comes too fast to someone too young can really have a detrimental effect on their life.
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It’s that overall message that means that this film is interesting for anyone, whether you have an interest in skateboarding or not (my girlfriend and I accounted for both types when we watched it, so I can say that with all honesty). It’s well put together and the interviews that make up the bulk of the narrative are with people who were close Gator. Music from the likes of Black Flag, Agent Orange, The Dead Kennedys and The Faction, amongst others, and a large dose of 80’s nostalgia top it all off.
Once you’ve watched the film you can delve into the wide array of special features, which give a great deal more information.
Studio: Palm Pictures
Release date: 30th August 2004