“The Parking Lot Movie” is an interesting little documentary about an over-educated group of curmudgeonly parking lot attendants who work at a lot in the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia. These guys, like many clerks and other folks perceived as the peons of society, would like their job a whole lot more if it wasn’t for the people using their service. Arguments about money owed along with vandalism and general bad behavior happen to these guys everyday and it’s made them hardened men. Or, were they already hardened before amicable lot owner Chris Farina hired them?
I enjoyed “The Parking Lot Movie” but it’s a bit uneven and also too long. I felt the best moments were when the attendants got into arguments with customers or were forced to chase down people who took off without paying. Obviously, when there’s a video camera present, people act like civilized human beings but director Eckman catches a few folks being naughty and it’s funny to see such complete jerks on their daily jerk routines. But these scenes are few and far between and as a result, the film is extremely talky and somewhat aimless in the end.
All of these lot attendants are smart and artistic. This job isn’t forever, but it works for now. They can sit in the miniscule lot booth and read, play guitar and just ponder life. Later the film delves into the idea that these attendants see so much of real life and that, coupled with philosophy and archeology degrees, proves they know more about real life than others do. Perhaps they do. But these guys are also all pretty much total assholes and while scurrilous people being cranky is fun for a while, I started to feel towards these men what they feel towards their customers: contempt.
While the attendants are correct in feeling irritation at self-serving, rude and selfish people in their giant SUV’s who feel money means they’re entitled to treat others badly, is it better to sit back in smug judgment of everyone? I’m sure that’s part of the idea Eckman is getting at, but by the time the film was over, I had heard enough from these guys and was ready to leave the lot for good. Still, a documentary based on a group of people who work at a parking lot is a tough sell and Eckman pulls it off pretty well in the end.