Your Netflix Instant Weekend: THE PARKING LOT MOVIE, 100 RIFLES and more

Brian Kelley

by: Brian Kelley
January 20th, 2011

When I started this column I hadn't really thought things through completely. I failed to consider the possibility that we'd have a pretty much completely dry week. But since this is my column, I think it is safe to say I can make up the rules as I go along. So, instead of doing something rash like recommend you give EXCESS BAGGAGE another shot, I'm going to draw not just on new stuff but also on a recent release that wasn't in the past week, but one I haven't yet had the space to highlight. This week we're going to look at a fascinating documentary about the most mundane of subjects and a sexy Raquel Welch western.

Heads up - I'll be at Sundance next week. I'll have something up for you to read even if it's just a quick list. I won't forget you entirely!


I have an affinity for documentaries about subjects you would almost instantly reject as too banal for exploration. Enter THE PARKING LOT MOVIE, a film focused on a single small pay parking lot in Charlottesville, VA and the attendants that work there. The only thing this film has going against it is ignorance, a problem which can be resolved by investing the 70 minutes it takes to watch it. Through the course of the film, the world of employment at a parking lot is explored via a colorful crew of attendants. They wax philosophical (some of them are even grad students in the philosophy department at the University of Virginia across the street), describe the joys and pitfalls of the job and show a much rougher side to parking lot life than one might imagine exists. Don't ever try to escape this lot without paying, they are not afraid to chase you down on foot. While not necessarily deep, one could argue this is an interesting microcosm-sized view of class struggles, the lowly attendants dealing with and fight back against the SUV-driving aristocracy when driven (heh, get it?) to that point, if only in defense of the small amount of dignity employment offers them. Most importantly though, as a documentary, it is thoroughly interesting.


Jim Brown is Lyedecker, a deputy on the hunt for Yaqui Joe (Burt Reynolds), a half-indian, half-white revolutionary who robs a bank in the states and flees to Mexico. His intent is to purchase weapons for the Yaqui tribe to defend itself against the Mexican governor General Verdugo (Fernando Lamas). Lyedecker is arrested and he and Yaqui Joe manage to escape into the hills together where they are joined by a gorgeous Indian named Sarita (Raquel Welch). As battles between the Yaqui and the General escalate, Lyedecker becomes more sympathetic to their cause. I'll be the first to admit there are far better Westerns during this period and each of this film's stars is in something of far greater quality in this era. 100 RIFLES doesn't have a lot to say, lacks chemistry amongst its leads, and, while action heavy, isn't exactly expertly directed. The Jerry Goldsmith score is excellent though. Despite all its faults, however, it is an interesting watch, an often entertaining glimpse at a misguided imitation of spaghetti westerns. Plus Raquel Welch is damn sexy, knows it, uses it and has more screen time here than in BANDOLERO!

The Wildcard - GUZAARISH

Every now and then you need to clear all the gunk out of those tear ducts and if BLUE VALENTINE isn't playing in your city, then perhaps give this Bollywood production a whirl. As I read it, the plot concerns a book-writing, radio-hosting magician who became a quadriplegic 14 years earlier when a performance went bad. During those years he has been attended to by his nurse Sofia. Recently, though, his internal organs have begun to fail and it is becoming evident that he will need to go onto life support in the near future. It is then that he petitions the court to allow him to end his own life. This of course causes controversy, not only with the courts but with the woman who has cared for him for all those long years. If nothing else, the trailer is rather beautiful. Research indicates that, like most Bollywood films, GUZARRISH is not emotionally subtle but it embraces that excess to good effect. Hopefully I don't spoil your weekend with this recommendation. (Available in HD)

If you're looking for more...

Ok, so maybe you can give EXCESS BAGGAGE another shot after all these years. Patrick Stewart is riveting in the recent World War II-era modernization of MACBETH. Catching up on the last of the New Year's releases - Sidney Lumet and Paddy Chayefsky's prophetic sensation NETWORK was added. More Woody Allen is available via A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY. A movie that never fails to get the heart beating at excessive rates, POLTERGEIST, can come through your TV in HD with the click of a button. There is a segment of the movie-watching population that actually enjoys The Fat Boys' DISORDERLIES. Available now is A WEDDING from a director with one of the best batting averages ever, Robert Altman. Check out the original "teacher attempts to tame terrifying students" film, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE. Christopher Guest's BEST IN SHOW contains enough laughs to fill an entire weekend. Plus, Parker Posey FTW. Finally, for a better (but less sexy) western, go for John Wayne in CHISUM.

That's it. Hopefully there is a bit more to offer next week. I'll get it up (somehow) for you and in the meantime keep an eye out for our flood of Sundance coverage!

Commenting Rules: Comments are intended to open up the discussion to our readers about the topics at hand, and as such should be offered with a positive and constructive attitude. If your comment is not relative to the above post or is disrespectful to the authors and readers, we reserve the right to delete it. Continued abuse of our good nature will result in banishment of the offender. Additionally, if you have any burning issues to point out to the GATW crew - typos, corrections, suggestions, or straight-up criticism - please email us instead of commenting here.

  • Recent Post