The Parking Lot Movie PG

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(34) IMDb 7/10

The Parking Lot Movie chronicles the rarefied world of one small parking lot in a college town, and the asphalt philosophers who work as attendants there.

Starring:
John Beers, Chris Farina
Runtime:
1 hour 11 minutes

The Parking Lot Movie

Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Meghan Eckman
Starring John Beers, Chris Farina
Supporting actors Tyler Magill, James McNew, Scott Meiggs, Nate Millington, Mark Schottinger
Studio PBS
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

This movie was very funny and entertaining.
greg best
It shows how the way in which we view the world--and more importantly, humanity--can be influenced by our everyday experiences in this crazy world.
T. Hollenback
One attendant, transcending the seemingly petty dramas at the lot concluded poetically, "We had all in a world nothing can offer us."
Don Schwartz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Don Schwartz on February 7, 2011
Format: DVD
In 1986, Chris Farina purchased a parking lot in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2009, Meghan Eckman produced and directed a documentary, The Parking Lot Movie, about the attendants working at Farina's `The Corner Parking Lot.'

Located near the University of Virginia, adjacent to the backs of several bars as well as the train tracks, and featuring a wooden shack built in 1986, the attendants have face-to-face contact with the customers as they drive by the lot's shack to, hopefully, pay their parking bill, in cash or check, directly to the attendant.

Farina tends to hire college students, graduates, and musicians--men with higher-than-normal IQs than one would find attending a small-town parking lot. His management style is loose, care-free. Consequently, these young men spend their time between customers playing games and creating contests with the lot's orange cones. They print words, phrases, and the names of extremely low Q-list rated celebrities on the vertically-swinging bar customers drive under after taking their automatically-printed, time-stamped ticket. The attendants hang out with friends some of whom also work at the lot--or are alumni of it. They play music, sing, listen to music, read, and, most critically, deal with rude, narcissistic, and combative customers some of whom simply drive by the shack without paying.

Oh, and one more thing: They reveal their souls to the filmmakers.

The power, the impact of both comedy and drama--whether narrative or documentary--rests in conflict. It is this conflictive contact with difficult customers that emerges as foreground for the attendants as well as us viewers of Eckman's well-done documentary about a whimsical subject that turns out to be not so whimsical.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By klo'c on February 6, 2011
Format: DVD
The Parking Lot Movie is a gem. The documentary explores the life philosophy of the attendants of a parking lot across the street from UVA- characters that will draw you in with their sincerity, humor, and unique outlook on life. Their experiences at the parking lot give insight into human nature, and remind us to respectful to everyone- especially if they're parking your car.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Les Argotiers on February 21, 2011
Format: DVD
I do, I own pretty much every book that involves a disgruntled worker or a worker that loves his job. This documentary is now number 1 when it comes to documentaries. (This coming from the guy who got Netflix for documentaries). Watch it, buy it, steal it. I don't care, but you will enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blues Professor on May 25, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film, directed by a young filmmaker, creates a fascinating portrait of a group of guys working at a parking lot in a college town. What's so interesting about a parking lot, you may ask? Although it may seem like the most mundane of topics, the film actually raises intriguing questions about education vs. class, town vs. gown, elite entitlement vs. intellectual capital--thanks to the "insanely overeducated" folks who work at the parking lot and observe the comings and goings of their customers. This oddball group of philosophers, musicians, anthropologists and street-corner gurus enjoy hanging out and creating unusual "parking lot games", to pass the time as they collect parking fees from people who mostly party too hard, drink too much, and aren't used to noticing the service people around them. It took Meghan Eckman 3 years to film and edit this story, but what she produced is a remarkably funny, intellectually stimulating, and at times even painful portrait of a group of guys who realize that they are working in a nearly invisible profession, and yet they still can't help but notice what's going on. Eckman found an untold story in her own backyard and created a film which raises intriguing questions, which every educated person should think about.

I showed this film at the end of the semester in my film class, and asked my students, "What stories are in your own backyard, that you might want to tell?" They could think of lots of possible films they'd like to make, both fictional and non-fictional. This movie is a good catalyst for discussion and so I highly recommend it. (As a personal aside, I'm familiar with Charlottesville, VA and the UVA campus, through friends and relatives who went there, and can vouch for the accuracy of the film. In fact, my cousins who grew up there and attended UVA all worked in similar parking lots. On my recommendation, they watched this film and loved it.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Sanberg on March 21, 2011
Format: DVD
I try to watch a number of documentaries every year to remind myself there's a real world out there. I'd not heard of this film but those who saw it seemed to enjoy it a lot. Thought I'd give it a go and I'm glad I did.

This is about parking lots in general, because I suppose they all experience the same things to one degree or another, but it's about one pay lot, in particular, in Charlottesville, VA. What makes this worth seeing is the owner and the guys that work there. The owner gets it. He hangs in loose. He understands what the job is about and what type of person could do the job for any length of time without blowing a gasket. The employees themselves are a cool bunch. Most are educated in the arts or philosophy or whatever, and they give a great perspective of the job and the customers.

I live outside of Chicago and having had to pay $20.00 for two hours worth of parking, it's interesting to hear these guys talk about customers trying to dodge a $1.50 parking fee. They see all types. The yuppies, the drunks, the entitled brats and every other "type." They see them all day and every day and have developed thoughts and philosophies regarding all of them. They do all manner of things to keep the job interesting and do their share of complaining about the butt-holes they are forced to deal with.

Parking is something we only think about when in needs to be done, and then it's simply one of those things that is a stepping stone from where we were and where we're going. I can pretty much guarantee you though, that after you watch this little gem, you won't ever view it quite the same way again.
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