See Zombieland as hard as you can. See Zombieland with a mouse. See Zombieland in a house. See Zombieland here or there. See Zombieland anywhere. But preferably, see Zombieland in a box. A big, multi-story box filled to the brim with a couple hundred people. See Zombieland in a theater. But please, please: Just see Zombieland.
I haven’t applauded at the movies in a long time. I mean consistent clapping, out loud “no-way!”-ing, knee-slapping, all these things people do when they really, really like something. Chances are you and your friens will do that at Zombieland.
“Ewww,” says girl at buzzine.com looking for the fashion pages but accidentally stumbling onto my article somehow. “Zombies? Gross!” To which I say, sure. I mean, that’s kind of the point. But this movie isn’t just for people who love zombie movies (I don’t particularly), and, in fact, it might be even less for them. “Zombies don’t run!” they say. “This isn’t scary enough!” Maybe they say that too. But this movie is for people that love having a good time.
Maybe its tag-line, besides “Nut up or shut up” - which is pretty good, by the way - should have been “Do you like to party?” This movie sneaks up on you like that. You’re looking at the theater listings and what’s really out there at the beginning of October, then Zombieland comes up and offers to take you out. Go. I know, it’s hard to trust a zombie movie, but go: It’ll be the start of a beautiful relationship.
Zombieland is definitely one of my favorite movies of the year. That’s because it’s a gory mess, it’s ironic, tongue-in-cheek violence, it’s stylistic up the wazoo, it’s cathartic, it might just be the funniest movie I’ve seen this year, and then it kind of first made me want to cry, then it kind of scared the crap out of me. It’s the sampler platter of movies.
One of the reasons Zombieland works out so well is something it has in common with one of my other favorites of the year, Adventureland, its hero, Jesse Eisenberg or in the guise of the movie, Columbus. What Eisenberg does is play innocent, sincere, geeky neuroses perfectly. I think Zombieland is a thoroughbred of an entertainer, but that will be no more true than for those who relate to the Columbus character - guys who fantasize as much about brushing a girl’s hair as the other things Columbus does. Cute, right? Wait - is that girl that accidentally started reading this still here?
Pairing such a deadpan sap with someone like Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee is another stroke of genius. The Tallahassee character reminds me of “Welcome to the Jungle.” Yes. The song. Tallahassee is rock ‘n’ roll, and Woody Harrelson plays him as such without missing a single note. It’s a great odd couple - the kind strangely best-suited for a zombie apocalypse. They’ve both learned how to fire a gun, but you know whose hands those guns truly belong in. Columbus has survived by virtue of a rules list he’s created to prevent zombification, Tallahassee survives off of recklessness.
Along the way, they’re conned by Abigail Breslin’s Little Rock and Emma Stone’s Wichita. Both actresses are exceptional too. Little Miss Sunshine this is not, but Breslin plays a great girl who thinks she’s older than she is, whilw Stone plays a great femme fatale who’s looking for ways to stay young. It’s the humanity of what becomes their joint quest that really keeps Zombieland from becoming a mindless, dead thing.
It should have been. I know I haven’t talked much plot here, but 1) I don’t want to spoil some of the best bits; and 2) it’s a zombie movie. You know, at minimum, what you’re getting. Bloodthirsty undead. Blood. Scares. For this type of thing, it’s all in the delivery.
The comedic bits are tremendous. The style and direction are impressive - there’s a lot of range here, from action to comedy, and it’s seamless - props deliverable to Ruben Fleischer, a rookie. Let’s just call him rookie of the year. It’s kind of nuts how a guy that previously directed episodes of Jimmy Kimmel Live! did this. But he had assists in the tight script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick for sure. I’m looking forward to what they serve us in the future.
Perhaps more adventures in Zombieland, which plays like the theme park it ends in. A funhouse of characters, a rollercoaster ride of relationships, a snackbar of bloody messes to get themselves into, and even a classic Bill Murray sideshow. Zombieland breaks out of its self-referential genre and does, in fact, deliver as a fully-rounded film. And also as a zombie movie. You knew what you were getting when you bought your ticket to ride... and in Zombieland, you will get all that you expect, but also, so very much more...
Columbia Pictures' 'Zombieland' is in theaters now.