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.