Categories
Film

The Parking Lot Movie

I’m into obscure documentaries. Actually, anything biographical or anthropological intruiges me. So when NetFlix popped up with the suggestion of The Parking Lot Movie I was sold in about 8 seconds. Well, actually I pay $9.99 a month, so I guess I was already sold.

What happens when you put a bunch of philosophy, anthropology, and religion students in charge of a job marked primarily by hours of introspective inducing boredom interrupted with terse moments of anger from people in fancy cars?

That’s the 25 year question embarked upon by the owner of the Corner Parking Lot near the University of Virginia. To say that the job is cerebral is an understatement. Yet the owner of the lot is fascinated by the impact of tiny interactions with the general public. Instead of hiring people who would consider it “just a job” he has hired a cast of characters who try to find a deeper meaning in the mundane. Some of the attendants turn the experience into something fun and memorable. Others try to get patrons to think with witty philosophical quips. All of them get angry when people driving $50,000 cars try to talk them out of paying $2 for parking. And all of them teeter-totter between rage and zen-like peace with their lot in life.

All of which makes this documentary completely fascinating and fun.

The film raises interesting questions about entitlement, happiness, and the relationship between the stuff that we have and the people we are.

What does that have to do with people in ministry? Just about everything.

Fair warning: The film has plenty of foul language. Not intended as a recommendation for children or adults afraid of the f-word.

Bonus: Here’s a music video from the filmmaker. This was buried in the credits unfairly.

Categories
Film

Catfish

Tonight I was fortunate to see a screening of the movie Catfish with the San Diego tweetup group. (Another stellar meet-up, the organizers continue to fantastic.)

The story is about a three New York friends who randomly get to know a family in the upper peninsula of Michigan via Facebook. Their relationship grows over several months to the point where the two filmmaking buddies convince the main character that he has to meet his Michigan friends.

At the end, the audience is left with more questions than answers. Which is part of the experience of the movie itself, clearly intended. Namely, it is either a narrative documentary or a screenplay reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project. As we milled about in the narthex of the theater no one could really figure it out. My theory is that part of it really is a narrative documentary but when they went to cut it they realized that they needed more of a plot, so they went back an added some screenplay to it. But that’s just my theory. It could be straight documentary and it could be straight screenplay. If it’s 100% screenplay than the writers went largely unnamed and they wrote something brilliant.

Overall, while certainly entertaining, Catfish is not nearly as titillating as Blair Witch Project. Which means it is probably destined for a limited release in theaters nationwide and a quick entry into DVD-land. I could be wrong– but I just don’t see something there that is going to force a major box office smash.

As a social media person, I thought the concept was actually pretty fun. It plays with all of the stereotypes and fears people have about living a digital life. Just for good measure it adds a subplot of what big city people think about rural town folk and visa versa.

You will laugh at the main character because he does stuff that we all do. And you will cringe with him as he shares far too intimate details about his personal conversations via text with his would-be girlfriend, Meg.

If you like quirky independent movies, this is it.

Categories
Film

Inception, Explained

Does it make sense now?

19892010.

That’s deep.