Compiled by Meredith Boyd
“The Parking Lot Movie” follows the lives of the slackers, college students and retired college professors who work at a pay-to-park lot called the Corner Lot in Charottesville, Virginia. While this may sound like a mind numbing documentary, “The Parking Lot Movie” is not only witty but also surprisingly deep.
From philosophizing about the meaning of life to turning parking gates into art and exacting revenge on snooty customers, there is never a dull moment in this documentary as present and former workers recount some of their more interesting moments on the job.
At the same time, as the documentary progresses it becomes clear that while entertaining, this documentary also contains underlying themes of basic human respect and a sense of entitlement. Because, after all, as the cover says, “It’s not just a parking lot. It’s a battle with humanity.”
The mark of a great documentary is that it leaves the viewer with more questions than answers. “Exit through the Gift Shop” does just that.
This Academy Award nominated documentary follows Thierry Guetta, an offbeat Frenchman with an OCD like tendency of filming everything all the time, as he accidentally stumbles into the world of street art.
At first Guetta is content with merely filming the exploits of street art greats such as Shepard Fairey (creator of the iconic Obama poster) and the infamous Bansky as they produce their graffiti-like art on walls and billboards around the world. Soon that isn’t enough. So, he dives headfirst into his own street art endeavor.
Funny yet frustrating, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” leaves viewers contemplating the fine line between art and worthless junk.
On Aug. 7, 1974, French tightrope walker Philippe Petit stepped off the southern Twin Tower of the World Trade Center and into mid-air with only a steel wire between himself and the ground, a dizzying 110 stories below. To truly appreciate the gravity of this situation, it is important to note that at the time, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world, not to mention the stunt Petit performed was completely unauthorized and illegal. The documentary, “Man on Wire”, does a phenomenal job of putting the viewer right in midst of the action as it jumps between the careful undercover planning of the walk, the night of implementation and finally the breathtaking walk in thin air.
“Man on Wire” puts an emphasis on doing things just for the pure joy and beauty of it, a welcome breath of fresh air with so many documentaries detailing the world’s steady march to destruction.