Stars: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Writers: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick
Dir: Ruben Fleischer
First and foremost, thanks for coming back. There was a (too-long) hiatus for this blog, but I plan to have at least two updates a week beginning with this week. As a promise, I will at least have one update per week, plus Twitter updates.
So, how better to re-launch the blog than to review a modern classic?
For the layperson who happened to miss this gem on initial release and henceforth online, on Blu-Ray, DVD or streaming/on-demand, stop reading this right now, and go watch it. I’ll wait. And you will thank me.
For those who know others uninitiated to the zombie-genre, this is how you bring them in: Show them “Zombieland.”
It has it all: great writing, great comedy, one of the best cameos ever in a film ever, superfluous gore, a simple story, and a cast of actors perfect for the film.
Jesse “Social Network” Eisenberg stars as the perfect, reclusive nerd who one day wakes up and finds himself thrust into an entire world filled with fast-moving gut-munchers. In order to survive, he writes a set of his own rules for survival (for the likeminded dorks, I have the ones listed in the film in order below), many of which are demonstrated repeatedly throughout the film. The hapless, goofy nerd meets up with testosterone-personified in “Tallahassee,” the name given to Harrelson’s character which is derived from Tallahassee’s ultimate destination (Tallahassee, upon picking up the young nerd, firmly states “No names,” as to not get unnecessarily attached to a stranger). The nerd then claims his name as “Columbus Ohio.”
Harrelson is clearly having a blast in this role, channeling his character Mickey Knox from “Natural Born Killers,” and putting a perfect deadpan comedic spin on the tough-as-nails character and making the blood-thirsty killer into a gleeful zombie-killing Twinkie-lover. Harrelson just chews-up nearly every scene he is in.
Columbus, wary of stepping outside of his rules, seems happy to have human contact and aids Tallahassee in his on-the-road quest for the golden Hostess treats, wherein they meet a cunning set of sisters, Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin). Despite several back-stabbing moments, the girls become part of the fold, with Wichita becoming a love interest for Columbus, and Little Rock standing in for…let’s just say, a hole in Tallahassee’s life.
The sisters reveal they are heading to an amusement park, which they heard is zombie-free, Pacific Playland (a place where Little Rock can be a kid again), and the girls con the men into tagging along. As they head out of Texas and into California, a whole lot of hijinks, zombie killing, and the murder of Hollywood-royalty occurs.
And all of it is played for laughs, accompanied with extreme gore.
Romero Rules Followed: A handful, but these suckers are fast. But, for the most part, they are followed.
Gore factor: Extreme.
Zombies or Wannabees? Zombies; I can’t keep the fast-movers out of the category.
Classic, fine, or waste of time: Classic
Additional comments: Just watch and enjoy. Oh, also, here are Columbus’s rules (the ones noted in the film):
Rule #1: Cardio
Rule #2: Double-tap
Rule #3: Beware of bathrooms
Rule #4: Seatbelts
Rule #7: Travel light
Rule #17: Don’t be a hero
Rule #18: Limber up
Rule #22: When in doubt, know your way out
Rule #31: Check the back seat
Rule #32: Enjoy the little things
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