A Movie A Day #12: Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator (2002, directed by Helen Stickler)

gatorIn the 1980s, Mark “Gator” Rogowski was a superstar.  A professional skateboarder, Gator was one of the most popular vert skaters, competing and partying alongside Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Steve Caballero, and Lance Mountain.  Yet today, unlike his contemporaries, Gator is almost totally forgotten.  In 1991, after having changed his name to Mark Anthony and declared himself to be a born again Christian, Gator raped and killed Jessica Bergstrom, a friend of his ex-girlfriend.  Convicted of first degree murder, Gator was sentenced to life imprisonment.  He is currently an inmate of the California State Prison System.

Through archival footage and interviews with both his fellow skaters and his ex-girlfriend, Stoked tells the story of Rogowski’s rise and fall.  Even if you know nothing about the history of skating, the interviews are interesting and frequently insightful about the fickle nature of fame.  Anyone who was not already a fan of Jason Jessee’s will be after seeing him interviewed in Stoked.  Because California state law prohibits inmates from giving video interviews, Rogowski is interviewed over the phone and his disembodied voice provides a ghostly accompaniment for much of the film.

Stoked not only tells the story of how Gator ended up in jail but also of how vert skating became big business in the 1980s.  At the height of his popularity, Gator was making $20,000 a month, just through board sales and the sponsorship of Vision Street Wear.  When street skating became popular in the 90s and a new generation of skaters rejected Vision’s commercial approach, Gator found himself washed up before he even turned 25.  By using Gator’s story as a way to examine an entire era, Stoked is to skateboarding what O.J.: Made in America is to football.

Oh No SHE Didn’t!! (MGM/Hammer 1965)

cracked rear viewer


…didn’t manage to keep me awake, that is! That’s right, I actually dozed off in the middle of SHE for a good fifteen minutes! This so-called adventure film, a remake of the rousing 1935 Merian C. Cooper production starring Helen Gahagan and Randolph Scott, is based on a novel by H. Rider Haggard, a pretty big-deal adventure novelist back in the day, who also wrote the novels KING SOLOMAN’S MINES and ALLAN QUARTERMAIN. The ’35 version was filled with sumptuous Art Deco sets and a dynamic score by Max Steiner, and proved popular with moviegoers of the day.


But the times, they do a-change, and so do tastes. Hammer Films decided to do this remake thirty years later, with Ursula Andress in the title role. ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. caveman John Richardson plays Leo Vincey, who’s the spitting image of Queen Ayesha’s long-lost love Kallilkrates. Hammer’s top tag-team Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are in the cast…

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Here Are The DGA nominations!


The Director’s Guild announced their feature film nominations earlier today.

A DGA nomination is one of the biggest prizes of the precursor season.  In general, if the DGA nominates a film then it’s likely that film will also get nominated for best picture.  There have been exceptions, of course.  (David Fincher was nominated for his bastardized rehash of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.)  But, for the most part, the DGA is the most reliable precursor available.

Five directors were nominated.  The usual suspects were there — Lonergan, Jenkins, and Chazelle.  Fortunately, Denis Villeneuve picked up a nomination, which is good news for Arrival.  The fifth nominee was a bit of a surprise.  Garth Davis was nominated for Lion, which I guess means I’ll have to go see that movie now, even though I have little real desire to do so.

Martin Scorsese was not nominated for Silence, which probably means that the film will be dead-in-the-water as far as Oscar nominations are concerned.

Also not nominated — Tim Miller for Deadpool, a film that’s been doing surprisingly well with the precursors.  If Tim Miller had been nominated, heads would have exploded.  It would have been fun to watch the twitter reaction.

Instead, we just got this —

Just to make it official, here are the five DGA nominees:

Denis Villeneuve — Arrival

Damien Chazelle — La La Land

Garth Davis — Lion

Kenneth Lonergan — Manchester By The Sea

Barry Jenkins — Moonlight


2016 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2016


My look back at the previous year continues with 10 of my favorite non-fiction books of 2016!  Now, it should be noted that, because this is an entertainment-related website, I’m only listing my favorite entertainment-related books.  There was a lot of good nonfiction published last year but the majority of it had nothing to do with either the movies or television so who cares?

Anyway, all of these are wonderful and well-worth the money!

  1. The Godfather Notebook by Francis Ford Coppola
  2. TV: The Book by Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall
  3. The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
  4. Natalie Wood: Reflections on a Legendary Life by Manoah Bowman
  5. The Purple Diaries: Mary Astor and the Most Sensational Hollywood Scandal of the 1930s by Joseph Egan
  6. In Search of Lost Films by Phil Hall
  7. Down from the Attic: Rare Thrillers of the Silent Era through the 1950s by John T. Soister and Henry Nicolella
  8. Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
  9. The Curse of Beauty: The Scandalous & Tragic Life of Audrey Munson, America’s First Supermodel by James Bone
  10. A Thousand Cuts: The Bizarre Underground World of Collectors and Dealers Who Saved the Movies by Dennis Bartok and Jeff Joseph

Finally, I have to give an honorable mention to two books that were published in 2015 but which I didn’t read until 2016.  These two books were definitely my favorite non-fiction reads in 2016 and there’s no way that I couldn’t mention them.  Troy Howarth’s So Deadly, So Perverse and So Deadly, So Perverse Volume 2 contain everything you could possibly want to know about the giallo genre!


Tomorrow, my look back at 2016 continues with my favorite novels of the year!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy
  5. 2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  6. 2016 in Review: Lisa Picks the 16 Worst Films of 2016!
  7. Necromoonyeti’s Top Ten Albums of 2016
  8. 2016 In Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2016
  9. 2016 In Review: 10 Good Things I Saw On Television in 2016

Music Video of the Day: Bald Headed Woman by The Hep Stars (1966, dir. ???)

Of course there are! This is turning into the ABBA hole.

Since I do plan on including Frida’s and Agnetha’s post-ABBA music videos leading up to, and following 2004’s The Last Video (ABBA), it means I need to do any pre-ABBA music videos as well. Go figure that a band that would become well-known for their videos would have members that made music videos prior to its creation.

In the 1960s, Benny was in a band called The Hep Stars. That’s him on keyboards. You can read about them on Wikipedia.

The only thing that has me a little worried is that many of the videos after this for the members of ABBA, before ABBA, were part of TV specials as opposed to standing on their own. However, they seem to just be music videos that were shot and aired in a row for varying reasons. They aren’t A Hard Days Night (1964). Besides, there’s no way I’m not including the one where Björn does the tango.


ABBA retrospective:

  1. Ring, Ring by ABBA (1973, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  2. Ring, Ring by ABBA (1973, dir. ???)
  3. Love Isn’t Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough) by ABBA (1973, dir. ???)
  4. Waterloo by ABBA (1974, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  5. Hasta Mañana by ABBA (1974, dir. ???)
  6. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do by ABBA (1975, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  7. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do by ABBA (1975, dir. ???)
  8. Bang-A-Boomerang by ABBA (1975, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  9. SOS by ABBA (1975, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  10. Mamma Mia by ABBA (1975, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  11. Knowing Me, Knowing You by ABBA (1976, dir. ???)