Category Archives: Short Films

Skaterdater (1965)

A still photo from the 1965 Academy Award-nominated short film “Skaterdater.” The 18-minute film was shot on location in the South Bay without dialog and starring a bunch of skateboarding kids.

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: From skateboards to girls.

Director Noel Black, who had just graduated from USC film school, wanted to put together a production reel that he could show to potential producers and studios and  after securing $17,000 for financial backing decided to make a short movie examining the then new craze of skateboarding. The story centers on some neighborhood skateboarders in Torrance, California who enjoy spending their summer afternoons skating around town. One day one of the boys (Michael Mel) spots a pretty girl (Melissa Mallory) and decides she’s more interesting than his friends, so he starts spending all of his time with her, which makes his other friends jealous and one of them (Gregg Carroll) challenges him to a skateboarding ‘duel’ along a steep, hillside street.

Despite the limited production values this still comes off as fresh and original and it’s officially the very first film ever made about skateboarding. In many ways not much has changed. The only real difference is that businesses back them did not have the sway to put up signs banning skaters from using their parking lots or sidewalks and one amusing segment shows the disgruntled look of local business owners having to put up with the distracting skateboarding noise outside although unfortunately director Black over-accentuates the noise for effect making the sound and ultimately the segment annoying to the viewer as well.

Some of the stuntwork though is impressive and the fact that there is no dialogue or names given to the characters is a benefit as it gives the thing a universal appeal knowing that this same type of scenario gets repeated all over the country from one generation to the next. The film was met with strong critical praise and has led to it getting preserved into the Academy Film Archive in 2010 as well as helping to boost director Black’s filmmaking career, which directly  led to him getting a chance to direct Pretty Poison, starring Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld, which has since garnered a strong cult following.

As for the cast none of them became famous or found a career in front of the camera, but they’re all still alive and recently got together for a reunion with pics showing them as they were back then and how they look today :

L-R back row Bill McKig, Gary Jennings, Marshal Backlar, producer. L-R front row Michael Mel, Melissa Mosley and Bart Jahn all reunited 50 years after making the 1965 Academy Award-nominated short film “Skaterdater.” The 18-minute film was shot on location in the South Bay without dialog and starring a bunch of skateboarding kids.
Redondo Beach June 27, 2015.
(Photo by Brittany Murray / Daily Breeze)

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: November 11, 1965

Runtime: 17 Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Noel Black

Studio: United Artists

Available: YouTube

The Jogger (1988)

Capture 81

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Jogging can be deadly.

Jerry (Terry O’Quinn) is a high-strung businessman with a type A personality who has been told by his doctor to take up jogging to help relieve is stress and improve his health. Like with everything else he goes overboard with it. Jogging excessively until it becomes like a second job. One day while out on another one of his morning runs he comes upon another jogger (Tom Morga). Jerry decides to challenge the man to a race and he ends up winning it making him feel quite vindicated, but the other jogger does not take kindly to losing. He begins to chase Jerry around the park while attempting to stab and kill him. When Jerry is finally able to make it back to his house he realizes that the jogger has followed him and he continues with his assault. In fact wherever Jerry goes the jogger follows making him believe that he will not be able to get rid of him unless he fights back.

For a low budget short film this isn’t too bad. The editing and camerawork is crisp and professional. We get a good idea of Jerry’s character in a short amount of time and it’s great seeing O’Quinn in an early role. The action is exciting and there is enough tension to keep it interesting. There are even a few genuine unexpected jolts and a surprise ending.

The story initially seems original, but as it progresses you realize that it is just another retelling of the classic ‘The Twilight Zone’ episode entitled ‘The Hitch-Hiker’ in which the Inger Stevens character is constantly hounded by a mysterious hitch-hiker who turns up wherever she goes. The surreal elements that get thrown into this thing don’t help and I would’ve liked something that had stayed more realistic and been more subtle. Yet it’s still enjoyable enough for its short running time and some may find the scenario to be more creative than I did.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: 1988

Runtime: 25Minutes

Director: Robert Resnikoff

Available: None at this time.