There’s one rule about working a menial job where you interface with the public: Don’t overanalyze it, or you’ll go insane. The subjects of Meghan Eckman’s documentary The Parking Lot Movie, unfortunately, are unable to abide by this rule, as they are all highly educated undergrads, grad students and professors. As the film shows, there is a lot of alone time spent by the attendants of the University of Virginia-adjacent parking lot; this allows for a lot of thinking about life, the universe and that last asshole who sped past the booth in his SUV without paying. It’s easy for the employees of the Corner Lot to feel they are in a “battle with humanity” when their overworking brains are trapped in a booth that barely has room for a metal chair.

Although the documentary benefits from the eloquence of its subjects, at some point you just have to say: so what? Trying to reach for some grand purpose for the making of this documentary, all I got was perhaps the difficulty to get decent employment, even by the highly educated. But that was still reaching. Mostly the documentary embroils the viewer in the subjects’ bitter resentment of anyone who owns a car, even the ones who don’t try to rip them off. Again, if you’ve ever had service job, you’ll know that you have to let some things go or you’ll just suffer.

I think that the main problem with this documentary, that, don’t get me wrong, has fun moments – the inside jokes spray painted on the parking lot gate, for instance – is that I didn’t feel a connection to the subjects. Sometimes it’s just not interesting to watch people get caught up in bitterness.

At the end of the film, Eckman tries to lighten the mood by filming her subjects performing a rap that basically reiterates the points of the rest of the film. It was a moment that seemed like a college short that would be hilarious to the performers’ friends, but not to anyone who didn’t know and like them. But I guess that must make me a part of the “big army” fighting the attendants’ “little army.” Game on.

The Parking Lot Movie airs Oct. 19 on the PBS series Independent Lens.