When a high school senior, Chris, gets in trouble with the West L.A. police for joy riding in stolen cars, his wealthy but neglectful dad hires Chris's older brother Lance to spend time ...
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When a high school senior, Chris, gets in trouble with the West L.A. police for joy riding in stolen cars, his wealthy but neglectful dad hires Chris's older brother Lance to spend time with him and keep him out of trouble. Lance is in the underworld, running guns, so caring for Chris starts out as a good cover. Then, he warms to his brother, and the two develop a strong bond; Chris gets serious about school and starts to come out of his shell. But, will the relationship be strong enough to weather pressures from Lance's business, Chris's discovery that dad is paying Lance for the care, and Lance's enjoyment of female companionship? Written by
"Natural History of Parking Lots" has got to be one of the finest films I have ever seen. Shot on a non-existent budget in ultra-stylish black & white, the film has the look of a Bruce Weber photo. Proof that sheer talent, and artistic vision are the keys to good film-making, and not lots of money. The story follows Chris, an angry teenage loner who gets his kicks stealing 1950's cars. When he gets arrested, his sleazy, money-grubbing dad calls on Lance, Chris' older brother, to spend some time with him. Lance is a very cool, leather jacket wearing "bad guy," and his hard rebel attitude really impresses his younger brother. Of course Lance fails to mention that dad is paying him lots of money to hang out with him. Naturally Chris is thrilled that Lance is paying him so much attention, and he becomes a happier kid as a result. He stops his car theft and even improves his performance in school. Things begin to fall apart though when a girl enters the picture and Chris feels that she is stealing his brother away from him. This is a very well made story about the bonds of friendship and brotherhood. A particularly memorable scene has the two brothers driving down to Mexico in a convertible, and partying all night. Energetic, stylish camera work throughout, and the black and white film works so well here. Features some great music throughout, it is hard to describe just what makes this one so good. The story is fairly simple, but the whole thing just looks so great. There is a sad and violent ending, which i won't divulge here. This film is nearly impossible to find as it has never been released on DVD, and only very limited VHS tapes were circulated. I was lucky to tape this one from the Sundance channel years ago, and that video tape remains one of my favorite possessions. Reminiscent of films like "Rebel Without A Cause', and "Rumble Fish". Unfortunately it has fallen into obscurity. But if you are a fan of underground cinema, and coming of age dramas, I recommend hunting this one down. A million times cooler, and more honest than anything Hollywood can offer. The other reviewers who insulted the film's limitations due to it's small budget, commenting on things like "poor sound quality", perhaps should stick to the blockbuster garbage. 10/10 stars.
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