Early on, we are introduced to Chris Farina, CPL owner since 1986. Farina, we learn, gained an appreciation for personal interaction with the consumer during his travels while a youth. Usually reclining or laughing at his own answer, Farina comes across as someone who has got the proverbial "it" figured out. He mentions at one point he's more concerned with the employees than the customers in his lot, a tribute to his employees' almost filial regard of him. He is laid back, down-to-earth, and content. In some ways he reminded me of Anthony LaPaglia's music store manager character in the 1995 feature film Empire Records. The employees' camaraderie and buoyant repartee among each other in the Allan Moyle directed film also falls in line with that of the CPL.
|Chris Farina, owner of the Corner Parking Lot, in the booth.|
One last point that is essential to address is the film's tone toward its subject-matter. Would I call The Parking Lot Movie a mockumentary? Not for a second. Although plenty of dialogue was kept and edited for tongue-in-cheek purposes, and the music (done by Sam Retzer) certainly pokes fun at points, it is clear that a full out parody is not what Eckman set out to make. On the contrary, what one should take away from the movie is its sincere message that these employees all look favorably on their time spent at the lot. As one worker states, during their employment " [we] had it all in a world that had nothing to offer us." While acknowledging and often times deprecating over the trivial part of society they play or played a role in, they all betray, consciously or not, a sense of satisfaction and dare I say gratitude for their time spent at the Corner Parking Lot. In the end, we're taught two invaluable lessons: the first in vocation, humility and appreciation; the other in how a small to mid-size urban pay parking lot works.
~ Review by Mike Dorfman