Dangerous Parking


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Well, whadya know? Sometimes, in the middle of the zombie movies, torture porn, and lowbrow comedies, I actually get to watch a good movie once in a while!

Wikipedia summarizes the film's storyline perfectly, as follows:

"Based on the semi-autobiographical critically-acclaimed novel by the late Stuart Browne, Dangerous Parking tells the story of Noah Arkwright, a cult director in the indie film world, whose life is on a crash course, with Noah steering himself towards his own destruction. Noah's life is one of success - and excess. Everything - drink, drugs, girls, fame - that Noah can get his hands on he wolfs down with an insatiable hunger.

Alcoholism and drug addiction have him firmly in their grasp - but Noah has no interest in acknowledging either until Kirstin, a young alcoholic who has 'seen the light', manages to convince Noah that he is heading for destruction and sets him on the path to reclaim himself. With the help of his best friend Ray, Noah attempts to right his ship - and when fate sends him a guardian angel in the shape of cellist Clare Mathesson, Noah tries even harder to shift his focus from self abuse to self preservation - and on the road to selflessness.

And that is when Mother Nature deals him the cruelest blow of all."

That is a perfectly accurate rendering of the facts, but doesn't touch on the tone of the film. You might expect heavy drama from the story of a man who barely overcame substance abuse then had to face bladder cancer. There is some of that, of course, but the approach of the film (and presumably the eponymous novel, which I have not read) is to tell the truth in all of its facets, per the tradition of the deathbed confession, embellished only when it makes for a better story. The film is coarse, refined, tender, raunchy, dramatic, hilarious, and sad. The lead character is profane, sensitive, bitter, resigned, tender, cruel, brave, cowardly, highbrow, lowbrow, and all brows in between. I've always hastened to point out that the truth is overrated as movie material, but nothing makes a better drama than the full, unspun truth, provided that it is used to tell the story of somebody who is interesting to begin with. It's even better when the subject of the film is funny, uninhibited, and horny!

I'd say this film nailed it.

The credit goes to Peter Howitt, who did it all. He adapted the novel into a screenplay, directed the film, and starred in an performance of emotional extremes. Actor Howitt seems to be channeling the spirit of the late Richard Harris, coupling arrogant and cynical high tones with introspective and sentimental low tones, all filtered through the humor of the bottle. Howitt even did an extended hairless scene during the character's chemotherapy and an extended full-frontal nude scene during a lapse from sobriety. Talk about putting it all on the line for a project!

Howitt's total involvement  is the key to the film, of course, but a special nod also goes to Tom Conti as a doctor who comes off as stuffy, condescending upper class twit, but nonetheless has a compassionate heart hidden beneath his breezy pedantry and stiff upper lip, probably somewhere between his jodhpurs and his riding crop.

The narrative technique of this film is as complicated as the tone shifts. The scenes include a combination of (1) narration from some time in the future, (2) the reality of the moment portrayed, and (3) the character's fantasies during the moment portrayed. The presentation is further complicated by flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks, and flash forwards within flashbacks, so that it is not always clear when the "present" is, and the precise order of events can be difficult to discern. There are many films where that sort of jumble doesn't work at all, but this is not one of them, for two reasons: first, the film is paced briskly and is damned funny, so the humor carries the individual scenes even when it is not clear how everything fits into the big picture; second, there is a very good structural reason, one which I can't reveal, to justify the narrator's having disguised the time and place from which he makes his narration.

This film had me laughing out loud at times, and it also had me in tears. It would be a powerful story even if it were totally concocted, but it is made more poignant by the fact that it is more or less true. It is so entertaining and engaging that I went to amazon.com and ordered the book as soon as the movie's credits started rolling.

There is no Region 1 DVD currently available. The Region 2 issue can be ordered through Amazon UK

DVD Book


2 The Guardian (of 5 stars)
1 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
2 BBC  (of 5 stars)
86 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
34 Metacritic.com (of 100)


7.6 IMDB summary (of 10)


As of publication, there was no theatrical release in North America nor Region 1 DVD.




  • Raquel Azevedo and Rebecca Jones show T&A in some raunchy sex action.
  • Shirley Oakes exposes a fleeting nipple.
  • Alice Evans shows her breasts in a skinny dipping scene. She also supposedly exposed her spread coochie in one scene, but it's too dark to see what's really down there.
  • There is extended full-frontal nudity from Peter Howitt.


Web www.scoopy.com

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Exceptionally good movie, but not mainstream fare for general auds.