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Skate Movie Review: “Stoked” The Rise And Fall

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.


Released in 2003 at the Sundance Film festival, directed by Helen Stickler. Stoked is a clear display of the American Skateboarding dream gone wrong with tons of homemade VHS tapes and interviews from the ’80s showing a young, healthy and very much famous “Gator” intercalate with brief bits of Rogousky on the phone speaking from his current incarceration, telling his side of the story of a scandalous cold-blooded crime.

A young Mark states at the beginning of the film how fear won’t lead his life and how he is bigger than fear itself. Unfortunately this fear in addition to hate, alcohol, and depression got the best of him.

The film features interviews with pro skaters like Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta, Steve Caballero among others that tell the story from their perspective, knowing Rogousky as a friend and fellow skateboarder.



Photo: Mikael Cho (Unsplash)

The soundtrack of the film perfectly embraces the punk rock culture of the time, featuring bands like Butthole Surfers, Dead Kennedy’s and Black flag just to name a few giving the film a closeness to the scene, the rage and against the law party environment embraced by Rogousky and the others.


The Rise


Back in the ’80s, “Gator” was something of a rockstar on the skating scene due to his skateboarding style, the way he dressed and the way he conducted himself.

He was wildly inspired by rebellion and punk rock music and even made the cover of Thrasher in which he appears being handcuffed and dragged into a police car after punching a cop in the face! This gave him even more fame and “punk points” in the skating world.






The film features his influence in skateboarding fashion and his relation with Vision Skateboards which in the movie is even identified as the brand that marked the birth of California’s skateboarding streetwear style

He was also very popular with girls being the bad boy of skateboarding. However, according to friends and people close to him he was also very into committed relationships and some of the girls he dates speak about his personality and how he was someone that could love as much as he could hate.


The Fall

The film documents how the skateboarding scene changed at the beginning of the 2000s when vert skateboarding popularity decreased giving space to street and park skateboarding, being quite a shock for all of the pros that practiced this discipline. Mark was directly impacted by this situation and ended up finding his hiding spot in alcohol, which mixed along with his depressive and manic personality caused multiple incidents that made him isolated from the skateboarding scene.

From bad breakups to several hospital admissions, incidents that among others led the Gator to descend to madness, get closer to his “religious side” and eventually led to the murder and rape of Jessica Bergsten, a former girlfriend’s best friend.

One of the hardest stories for skateboarding history that displays how a lifestyle driven by success, drugs and alcohol can lead to tragic events in any scene, this time in skateboarding.

NOT recommended for sensitive viewers but highly recommended if you want to know the full story.


Read also: The Search For Animal Chin: Skate Video That Became a Movie

Read also: 5 Skateboarding Movies You Must See



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