Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shot On Shitteo: Roller Gator

Good Lord- I could not have imagined the horror of this film!  For the uninitiated, here's a quick summary to get you up to date.  Donald G. Jackson had one big film- Hell Comes to Frogtown.  He made a low-budget sequel and, well, kept making lower and lower-budget films.  He eventually met a friend and they made some truly awful-looking films.  I won't mention the friend's name, since he's in a bad mood these days.  In the midst of his continued goal to make bad films for no money, he made Roller Gator.  It's a film about a rapping, purple alligator.  Feel free to flee now if you want.  If you're still with me, you should know that it's biggest star is Joe Estevez, a working actor and brother of a more-famous working actor named Martin Sheen.  He appears in a lot of films like this, many by Jackson himself.  This film is as bad as it sounds for the obvious reasons, but sounds like it may have a weird charm to it.  Unfortunately, a dozen little things- and a few big ones- really ruin that.  To find out more about my trip to low-budget hell, read on...
The movie begins with a five-minute sequence of this blond woman and Joe Estevez wandering around an Amusement Park.  This is obviously a real Park, since people are constantly staring at the camera.  She finally exits that scene and goes to a beach...
...where she hears a cry for help.  It seems to be coming from...a purple, alligator puppet.  It was crying out for help, but doesn't want company.  If you think that's illogical, you obviously haven't noticed the Ninja just kind of hanging out in the background.
Joe Estevez is after the titular Gator.  Why?  He wants it to be a Side-Show attraction, of course.  To that end, he hires a Ninja to catch it.  Just to note: a Carnival Owner can hire a Ninja...why bother with with the talking Gator?
The Swamp Farmer- played by former-Ed Wood alumni Conrad Brooks- is trying to find the titular Gator.  If you didn't know that, he repeats this about 80 every scene.

There's no way to get confused by this movie's plot- they hammer it through your damn skull!
Given that the budget of this movie can't be more than $20,000, it's no surprise that the Puppeteering work is awful.  Could you make it less obvious, movie?!?
In 80 minutes, this is the closest thing you get to an action scene.  A woman riding Rollerblades with a puppet in her backpack being pursued by a Ninja on a skateboard.  Please kill me now.
Just a quick aside before the plot wrap-up: this movie can't keep the people in focus properly.  Look at the left-hand corner of the picture!  This guy has made dozens of films by this point, but fails at this?!?
A pretty weak battle between a character called Karate Instructor and the Ninja takes place.  After that, the Swamp Farmer finally shows up and the two live happily ever after.  As for Estevez...
...his actions against the Gator led to him getting The Curse of the Gator...from, um, God, I guess.  This effect is so cheap that Estevez has to pull the mouth into place to make it look like he's biting.  The End.
I was wrong- I was horribly wrong!  I thought that this movie would be good, stupid fun.  Unfortunately, this movie kills its potential like that guy I met in the Alley three hours ago.  Don't tell anybody, okay?  So what are the problems with this movie?  First up, it looks cheap.  There's no way around it.  You could be making the next Ran, but if you filmed it for $1,000 in a Parking Lot, it would be awful.  Second, the acting is really bad.  Estevez is fun here, but he is the only good person here.  On the plus side, Conrad Brooks shows us that 50 plus years of experience still can't make you a good Actor.  Sorry, Conrad.  Third- the Soundtrack.  I didn't mention it yet, but here's the thing.  To truly understand how annoying the music is, re-read this review very slowly and play a single Guitar instrumental the entire time.  If it takes you 80 minutes to read this and you never stop playing the song, you have experienced Roller Gator.  That's not counting the bad rapping by the Gator, the dull delivery of every actor not named Estevez and the barely-in-focus camera work.  On one hand, it's a sight to behold.  On the other hand, watching an Elephant rape a Giraffe would be a sight to see.  It would be a horrible sight, but it would be memorable.  As a bonus, the film includes a cameo by one of the residents of Frogtown...just because.  Why?!?!?!?
Next up, a week of original films versus their TV Remakes.  First up, Corman's classic film about fish people wanting to knock up ladies.  Stay tuned...


  1. Why is the Internet so full of people like you that just don't get it.

    Maybe you failed to value the movie from the moment you expected "good, stupid fun". You should open your eyes and let the art come in without rationalizing it.

    I bet your movies are awesome and that you get to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and that gives you the right to criticize low budgeted independent films.

    The movie is obviuosly made with more passion than money and that shouldn't be reason to hate it.

    Nice of you to express your feelings about the movie, but you are just making an spectacle of yourself.

    The whole point of the movie is to show what Hollywood is doing. The gator is nothing but a symbol to anything fake and artificial created by hollywood. It's an obvious puppet because the movie needs an obvious puppet, maybe you don't see the puppets in your Michael Bay movies but they are there.

    So... we have here another reviewer that doesn't get it and thinks he can look down at a true artist.


    And yes! OF COURSE I'm zen trolling.

  2. You know, if you would listen to me when I tell you, "Al, you should probably reconsider your idea of watching that film because I'm sure it's going to hurt way worse than even you are expecting," you'd spend a lot less nights in utter agony. The fact that you watched a "zen film" comedy about a rapping alligator with full awareness of what you were about to do still amazes me, even after knowing you for as long as I have. O_O

    Did it not occur to you that this was basically Kangaroo Jack but with no budget and no script? How did you think that was a good idea? O_O

    Of course, if you hadn't watched it I'd just give you the film for Project Terrible anyway, but still!

  3. To Anonymous, whatever floats your boat.

    To Bob, when have I ever listened to you? HA.