Parking woes 

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Time passes slowly up here in the mountains, so slowly that it can often feel like a time warp. People come, go, come back, leave again, and there are a handful of recurring news stories that dominate Whistler's history: problems with bears, problems with housing, and more recently, problems with parking.

People hate to pay for parking, especially if they can remember when it was free. Sure, sure, the new reality means we all need to ride our bikes more, take public transit and reduce emissions so the Earth doesn't shrivel up like the gonads of a celibate desert tortoise. (Astute readers may ask: If pay parking is designed to reduce global emissions, will parking still cost when all vehicles are electric? The answer: You betcha! And it will cost more.)

So in honour of Whistler's new pay-everywhere parking (and because I didn't receive the email which lists what flicks are coming to the Village 8 next week), here are the Top 5 movies about parking:

1. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Starring a young Paul Newman (you know, the guy from the salad dressing and the spaghetti sauce), this one isn't really about parking but it starts of with a badass, disenfranchised war veteran cutting the heads off parking meters with a pipe cutter. Why? Because he wants to go to prison! And he does. Cool Hand Luke rarely makes the list of greatest-ever prison movies (Papillon and Midnight Express are better) but it's a great flick with an anti-parking meter message and a line that still rings true, especially after you get a ticket in Marketplace for not registering your vehicle for your free hour: "What we've got here is a failure to communicate."

2. Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986)

Again, not really about parking at all, but rather about the party you can have in a parking lot — this ground-breaking documentary captures the anti-establishment subculture of '80s heavy metal right when it peaked. At just 17 minutes, and filmed entirely at a tailgate party before a Judas Priest/Dokken concert in Landover, Md., the take-home message from this one is clear: see how much fun people can have when you give them free parking?

3. The Delicate Art of Parking (2003)

One of the best flicks ever made in Vancouver, and actually about parking, this mockumentary stars underrated Canadian star Fred Ewanuick as an over-zealous but inexperienced meter minder, who lives in a world where parking tickets, and the people who give them out, are less popular than rectal exams (so it's a very realistic world). From the hyperrealistic, man-on-the-street footage to the Quebecois tow truck driver, this one is great.

4. The Parking Lot Movie (2010)

"It's not just a parking lot, it's a battle with humanity." With a tagline like that, how can you ignore this feature-length documentary about the woes and wins of the charismatic attendants of a single parking lot in Charlottesville, Va.? Portraying an entertaining mix of the mundane and philosophical, this one also has something to say about class division, social entitlement, and why it's a damn crime to build sports cars with automatic transmissions. There's an element of nostalgia too, robots have already replaced all but a few parking lot attendants (and meter minders are next!).

5. Parked (2011)

An Irish flick, this one stars Colm Meaney (the only Irish actor you know) as a hermit who lives in his car and forms a unique friendship with a young, dope-smoking optimist who moves/parks next door. The friendship blossoms, is tested, and there's a twist ending about salvation, loyalty, and doing whatever you can for a bud.

6. Heat (1995)

This one isn't about parking either, but there's a pretty awesome shoot out in an abandoned drive-in theatre lot AND a killer gunfight/chase sequence that takes place in and amongst cars parked street side in L.A. It's absolute madness and one of the best and most tense urban gunfights ever committed to film. If you are too young to know about Heat, get on it right away. Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Tom Sizemore and director Michael Mann at his ultimate best.

Next week, movies about free transit?


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