In the opening sequence of Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOS, Christo Roppolo leads the film maker to a part of a local golf course where he filmed what he saw one night in the sky. He believes the UFO caused a sudden, intense urge to relieve himself and with no restroom in sight and running out of time, he races to a nearby tree to unleash. His anecdotal style (sound effects and all) is casual for something so... intimate. The way the scene ends, you can’t make this up.
There isn’t much that makes me laugh so hard, but when something does it’s because it comes from a truthful place. Roppolo had me rollin’.
There is no surprise twist ending, but for those who want to experience the film first hand things revealed are in italic.
Of course, the opening scene will have most thinking, “Oh, he’s one of those.” You know the label: A crazy, a kook, a UFO nut job. Roppolo does live alone with his dogs, people consider this to mean loneliness. He speaks as if his mind can’t hold the ideas and his mouth is the sole aid barely capable of delivering the message. There’s even the loud, maniacal laughter and a constant lifting up of his sagging pants to go along with this misconception. Despite this, the film maker moves quickly to the subject: Roppolo’s countless video recordings of lights in the sky.
However, the director Justin Gaar states the recordings of lights are nothing exceptional:
“At first glance, it just appeared to be blinking dots in the sky.”
All documentation is centered around Monterey, CA. A semi-bucolic city in the region of the state about 70 miles north of Los Angeles. But Roppolo’s behavior and the promise of sensational footage intrigued Gaar enough to keep filming.
There’s a story Roppolo tells of a burning man running wild at the local golf course. Upon further investigation, that story is proven true. Many weird incidents have occurred in Monterey for some time most of those center around the lights in the sky. It all begins to build up the man’s claims.
After several viewings of other footage, we finally get to see the main piece that has been promised from that opening scene. Its about 27 minutes of unedited video. There are three lights which form a triangle. In almost perfect formation the triangle spins, turning like a programmed night club lights. [The Greeks used the triangle as the delta symbol and saw it as a doorway.] Through the filming, Roppolo narrates what can otherwise be clearly seen. He thanks the lights for validation of his claims.
The proof is undeniable. These are not planes, helicopters or even drones. Their light signature is too distinct for this type of confusion. Even Gaar who came into the situation a skeptic had to admit he has no definitive explanation for the lights other than what they truly are: UFOs.
Whenever he goes out to one of the places where he has recorded the lights, he will engage anyone around. Asking questions about what, if anything, they have seen and there are those who have seen things in the sky.
Roppolo is a without question obsessed with these sightings.
This leads Gaar to delve deeper into Roppolo’s mission. There is no doubt he seeks validation, but why? Why keep going as devoted as he is?
In the late 90s and early 2000s, Roppolo was set on becoming a director. He made a small budget horror movie. It received critical acclaim. He had a good marriage. Things were looking up.
But life happened.
The day after the screening of his movie, his brother walked into the bank where they shared a joint account and stole Roppolo’s money. $126k in total. The brother, in collusion with their mother made off with the money, never to be seen or heard from again. Roppolo’s dream of financing more films was shattered. Soon after, his wife was diagnosed with cancer. It is alluded to that the money could have saved her, but without it, they had to settle for help from friends to make her as comfortable until that final day came.
There’s betrayal and then there’s betrayal. Roppolo has always been different, but this trifecta of bad luck may have sent him over the edge. He is a loner, something he readily acknowledges, because the severity of what he dealt with made him this way. Roppolo confides in Gaar that he and the film crew are his only family.
But life goes on.
Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOS is funny, charming, sad, though in the end, invigorating. This man keeps on believing and no one has taken that from him. Now or ever.
And there is still the unanswered question of those lights. Will it ever be explained? Who can provide the answer Roppolo and others like him seek? It’s hard to say, but the video doesn’t lie. There are lights in the sky. No one can deny the truth.
At this time, CotMWSUFOS can be streamed on Netflix.
I leave you with the hauntingly beautiful song Lights in the Sky from the album The Slip (2008) by Nine Inch Nails.