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Zombieland

Zombieland

What She said:

She

Zombies are all the rage these days.  Actually, they may even be a little “last season” at this point, but there was a time there when all-things-zombie got very, very popular.  The 2009 flick, Zombieland was released at the front end of that era.  This comedy/adventure film hits all the right notes, and still feels fresh, even if we are now experiencing some zombie fatigue. 

Zombieland tells the story of America after the zombie apocalypse.  The film takes place in the present day, and it is explained that the outbreak began when a strain of Mad Cow Disease mutated and jumped over to the human population.  The illness spread fast, as people began to melt from the inside, got crazy, and started biting new victims. 

We are introduced to twenty-something super nerd Columbus.  Clearly, this is not his real name, but this is all we come to know him by.  He explains that he was just going about his mundane life when one day the outbreak began and a neighbor tried to eat him.  He was able to escape her, and exists in the present as one of the few human survivors left, due, in part, to his OCD mannerisms and tendency to be extra careful. 

Columbus is on a slow and long trek back to his hometown to see if any of his family has survived, until he comes across a zombie killing machine, Tallahassee.  Tallahassee, though seemingly insane, agrees to give Columbus a ride.  Before too long they come across two more survivors, Wichita and Little Rock.  Wichita is around Columbus’ age, and Little Rock is her 12 year old sister.  The two are able to survive because they’re vicious conmen.  Needless to say, they use their charms to take advantage of Columbus and Tallahassee and make off with their car and weapons, not once, but twice.  When they keep running into each other, they decide that a partnership is probably their best option.  Knowing that the odds are against them, Columbus and Tallahassee abandon their own plans and agree to travel across country with Wichita and Little Rock to visit Pacific Playland, an amusement park in Los Angeles that is supposedly zombie free.  Of course, the four end up with their hands full of tons of zombies and plenty of in-fighting within the group.  Survival is becoming more and more difficult with each day that passes.

Zombieland

So, my description doesn’t make this movie sound very funny, but I assure you, it’s hilarious.  First of all, Columbus lives by a list of rules, a code that uses basic principles like “Good cardio,” “Double tap,” and “Beware of bathrooms,” to ensure the best odds of survival.  Jesse Eisenberg plays the role of Columbus, and he’s superb, mainly because it seems the role was tailor made for him and his mannerisms.  The always wonderful Woody Harrelson plays Tallahassee, and he does a great job of making the character extra edgy.  Tallahassee is slightly unhinged, relishing every zombie kill that he makes, and enjoying the challenge of offing the bad guys in new, violent, and creative ways.  At one point he employs hedge clippers.  Emma Stone plays Wichita and Abigail Breslin is Little Rock.  Stone is solid in her role, but Breslin is particularly good.  It’s amazing how cunning and ruthless a kid can be when pushed to her limits. 

Some of the elements that make Zombieland so funny are the quirks of the characters.  Tallahassee has a personal obsession with Twinkies.  He’s on this endless journey to find them, knowing that they will, in fact, eventually expire.  It’s worth noting that the Twinkie infatuation is not quite as innocent and carefree as it seems.  The Twinkies really represent Tallahassee’s desperate longing for a simpler, more innocent time.

My favorite part of the movie is when the crew finally make it to LA, and they seek refuge in the home of a major star with the initials BM.  I’m not going to say who it is, but that entire section of the movie is just great. 

As funny as Zombieland is, it also manages to tell an interesting story.  Of value is the fact that we get to hear a lot of Columbus’ inner dialogue, as he essentially is our narrator.  This film is not a total action fest, but the zombie kills are fairly frequent, creative, and fun.  The movie has very well done make-up, and the cinematography is also quite good. 

Overall, Zombieland is solid to the core.  It’s fresh, entertaining, and amusing.  An excellent choice for those looking to kick back and enjoy a flick with friends.

Thumbs up.

Zombieland

What He said:

He
Zombieland

We’ve watched and reviewed this movie before, but it goes all the way back to the days before the site existed and we were using the Movies App on Facebook. After recently coming to the realization, I decided we had to give this movie the review a proper review. It needed something more in-depth than what the app provided, and we hadn’t seen this movie in a while, so we decided to revisit this zombie comedy.

The movie opens up by introducing us to the main character, Columbus. Columbus – as in Columbus, Ohio – lives his life by a set of rules; at least since zombies have overrun the world. His rules are what keep him alive.
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is on his way back home – from college – to find out if his parents have survived the zombie outbreak. While on his way home, he meets a fellow survivor named Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). Now Columbus and Tallahassee could be referred to as a modern Odd Couple.  Columbus is a very nervous, cautious, and uptight individual. He is very calculated and careful, which I can understand in the zombie apocalypse, but it’s arguable that he might be a little OCD. Tallahassee on the other hand is a brash, tough, carefree guy who tends to not worry about things and lives by a “go with the flow” philosophy. Despite the fact that Columbus is terrified of Tallahassee, and the possibility that Tallahassee might actually hate Columbus, the two decide to team up and pool their efforts/resources for the time being.

One day while trekking across the country, they decide to stop in a supermarket to replenish their food supply. While there they meet two sisters named Witchita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who are sometimes friends and sometimes foes of the guys.

Zombieland

Zombies have been a big thing in pop culture for several years now. I can’t remember the exact year, but the genre has seen a major resurgence in the 2000s for the first time in 20 or so years. They are still everywhere in pop culture, but there is enough stuff out there now that it’s safe to say there’s also a lot of bad stuff out there.
Taking all of that into consideration, the movie is one of the better examples the genre has to offer. Shaun of the Dead (review here) came out five years before this, but Zombieland is still one of the only major movies to take the comedic approach with the zombie genre.

It succeeds on all levels. The whole Odd Couple angle between the two main characters is executed brilliantly. Eisenberg’s nervous and geeky demeanor and Harrelson’s tough guy act complement one another quite well. Columbus is terrified by this new world, Tallahassee loves it. Not only is hegood at killing zombies, he enjoys the hell out of it too . Tallahassee couldn’t be happier after bashing in the skull of one of the undead, but Columbus is just as scared as he was after killing his first zombie.

Speaking of killing zombies, they have a blast with it in this movie. Guns, shovels, bats, pianos, and just about anything else you can think of is used as an instrument of destruction.  There are all kinds of wonderful and amusing ways of eliminating zombies in this movie. Some of the ways they kill zombies at the end – while in the amusement park – are absolutely hilarious. It’s funny how something that grosses you out or terrifies you in a horror movie can make you laugh your ass off in a comedy. I guess it’s all about context?

Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are solid too. Columbus has the hots for Wichita despite the fact that she does not want to get attached and does not hide the fact that she’s out for herself and her sister.  The uneasy alliance with the guys wouldn’t work so well without these two ladies performances.  

This movie also has one of the best cameos I have ever seen in a movie. It is one of the most brilliant examples of a cameo I’ve ever seen in any medium. It’s only a small part of the movie, but every scene involving this character is awesome.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on January 22, 2014.

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