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Stoked - The Rise and Fall of Gator

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Stoked - The Rise and Fall of Gator + Dogtown and Z-Boys (Deluxe Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

DVD bonus footage:
- Five page interactive timeline
- Rare vintage interview outtakes, skate sessions and demo
- Extended scenes with arresting new material
- Private unseen home movies
- Criminal case documentation
- New short films by director Helen Stickler
- "Stoked: Uncovered" FUEL television special
- Theatrical trailer
- Weblinks
- Spanish subtitles
- Surround sound


Stoked is a fascinating history of Southern California's skateboarding scene in the late 1980s, a profitable and exciting time for then-rising superstars such as Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, and Steve Caballero, but a far darker experience for the much-worshipped Mark "Gator" Rogowski. Helen Stickler's film begins with an entertaining overview of skateboarding's renaissance in the '80s, when Rogowski and other talented skaters in and around Los Angeles developed a massive following of boys, who in turn provided a market for flashy, Rogowski-endorsed designer boards and accouterments. For a time, the charismatic, handsome Gator became a wealthy sports celebrity in search of greater pop-star status. When the skating scene shifted from the half-pipe to the street, however, Rogowski's fortunes, sanity, and freedom tragically erode. Stickler's thorough research, smart pacing, and extensive interviews make this a compelling, cautionary tale; a jailhouse phone interview with the now-mid-30s Gator proves both enlightening and spooky. --Tom Keogh

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark 'Gator' Rogowski, Stacy Peralta, Tony Hawk, Jason Jessee, John Brinton Hogan
  • Directors: Helen Stickler
  • Writers: Helen Stickler
  • Producers: Helen Stickler, Zachary Mortensen
  • Format: Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000127ZDM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,398 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stoked - The Rise and Fall of Gator" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Talk about a guy that had it all and blew it!
Rogowski's is an quintessentially American tragedy, and one that could easily have been lost to wider history without Stickler's exhaustive contribution.
The Wingchair Critic
Despite his obvious rage and mental illness which eventually led to his murdering an innocent young woman, you couldn't help but like Gator.
Dianna Adams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By The Wingchair Critic on December 9, 2004
Format: DVD
Helen Stickler's 'Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator' (2002) is an energetic, responsible, and riveting documentary about the tragic life of Mark 'Gator' Rogowski, the Eighties vertical skateboarding champion who violently raped and murdered an ex-lover's close friend after he was abandoned by the sports world and his long-stirring inner demons rose to the fore.

Stickler makes a brief but important mistake when, in the accompanying bonus feature, "Stoked: Uncovered," she questions "how one reconciles someone who has so much greatness in him and so much evil," since nothing in the film or accompanying material supports the hypothesis that Rogowski, who is today serving a life sentence in a California prison after pleading guilty to the crime 1992, was anything but a very talented and increasingly troubled young man who was suffering from an undiagnosed bipolar disorder, alcoholism, and a rapid series of emotionally devastating defeats at the time of the murder.

Already brash, self-directed, and handsome at fourteen, Rogowski had literally grown up in the sport's private and public arenas, and known little else but being on object of adulation and fanfare.

While much of the Eighties footage presents Rogowski as a preening, arrogant, and narcissistic teenage rebel manque, he was clearly also highly intelligent, clever, well spoken, industrious, creative, and amazingly charismatic, in Max Weber's use of the term.

While none of the factors in Rogowski's life prior to the crime excuse the murder of Jessica Bergsten, there's no evidence that Rogowski was inherently "evil" in any sense of the word, if the word is actually applicable at all.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Clare Quilty on May 2, 2004
Format: DVD
Like a dark version of Stacy Peralta's excellent documentary "Dog Town and Z-Boys," "Stoked" examines the Southern California skateboarding scene, but it focuses primarily on one tragic figure, Mark "Gator" Rogowski, a skating superstar in the late '80s.
Rogowski had charisma, good looks and talent to burn and he quickly grew wealthy from skate tours and endorsement deals. He had everything he needed to succeed, it seems, except guidance, and when skateboarding styles abruptly shifted gears in the '90s, he found himself adrift, a has-been at 21.
Broke and depressed, he went into a tailspin and "Stoked" follows his sad decline all the way to prison. Despite his cocky demeanor, Rogowski initially comes off as a likeable guy, which makes the mind-boggling crime he eventually committed all the more horrifying.
Director Helen Stickler incorporates interview footage (of Peralta and skaters such as Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain and the hilarious Jason Jessee) with a surprising amount of great skate footage and home video (clips of half-pipe expert Rogowski trying and failing to master street-style skating are particularly sad).
By balancing images from the past with perspectives from the present, Stickler makes "Stoked" into a surprisingly objective study of how gifted people shouldn't handle fame and fortune.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Brown on July 11, 2004
Format: DVD
There are plenty of "rise and fall" stories out there ---some fact, some fiction--- but this documentary is one of the best told of such stories. One of the most chilling, too.
The story of pro skateboarder Mark "Gator" Rogowski is told in this docu through the mouths of his friends, love interests, and business associates. Add the wealth of video footage of his glory days and news footage of his fall from grace, and we have a complete look at a subculture that encountered unlikely and unexpected success.
One of the main reasons that this documentary works so well is that Helen Stickler was able to show a viewer who knows zilch about the pro skateboarding scene (i.e. Me!)a clear picture of the smash success the industry underwent in the 1980s, and the various image changes it underwent in a rapid amount of time.
Through interviews with Rogowski's fellow skaters, we learn how these young enthusiastic skateboarders became counter-culture icons with rough-around-the-edge attitudes overnight, how commercial success made them rich, and how many of them were not prepared for such a radical lifestyle change. While the "fame element" put many of the skateboarders in this flick in a dangerous line of fire via delusions of grandeur, Gator seemed most ill equipped to handle the baggage that goes along with being in the public eye.
You see so many different faces of Mark Rogowski, from law-scoffing bad boy to an enthusiastic rock-star celeb on MTV to the arrogant know-it-all of the skateboarding world. His fall from fame is tough to watch, especially because pieces of it are caught on tape, namely his attempt to shift from showcasing his talent on traditional competition ramps to the raw "new wave" of street-style skateboarding.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By stoic VINE VOICE on February 28, 2011
Format: DVD
Way back in 1992, I happened across an article in the Village Voice that told an amazing tale. It was about a professional skateboarder named Mark "Gator" Rogowski who had murdered a woman, dumped her body in the desert, and subsequently plead guilty to the crime. The dramatic tale has stuck with me through the years.

When I saw that there was a documentary about Gator, I jumped at the chance to watch it. Stoked is a great time capsule about 1980s skate culture. Though not a skater, I remember that time quite well and the film brought back a lot of fond memories. (There is even a clip of Gator appearing on MTV with "Downtown" Julie Brown). Stoked includes a lot interviews Gator gave during the 1980s as well as more-recent interviews with his ex-girlfriend and many professional skaters.

Stoked is great for 1980s nostalgia, but it is not as good at discussing Gator's crime. Some of the most-interesting information is missing completely (particularly the role that Gator's spiritual advisor and court-appointed attorney played in the case). Stoked is pretty good, but those who want to know more about Gator's crimes should seek out the original Village Voice article. (It is by Cory Johnson, titled "Free Fallin'" and appeared in the December 8, 1992 issue).
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