Zombieland (2009)


Another request review, comin’ atcha!  Today I picked the non-horrible movie that I think my friend Loni suggested, Zombieland.  This movie has only 7 names in the acting credits, and stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Amber Heard, and a surprise appearance by the great Bill Murray.

Zombieland is the story of a guy known to us only as Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a neurotic guy trying to survive in a world overrun with zombies, a task he accomplishes by making and following a set of rules.  He’s trying to get back to his parents in Columbus, Ohio when he comes across a guy we only know as Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a man trying to survive in a world overrun with zombies, a task he accomplishes by being a total, zombie-killing badass.  Tallahassee is trying to survive, but more than that, he’s trying to find a Twinkie.  Tallahassee and Columbus team up and, on a raid of a supermarket to find said Twinkie, they meet two sisters, and the younger one has been bitten.  Tallahassee agrees to shoot her to put her out of her misery, but then her older sister says that she’ll do it.  Tallahassee gives the gun to her, just to have her turn it on Tallahassee and Columbus, robbing the two of their weapons and car.  Turns out these two, Witchita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), are two girls trying to survive, a task they accomplish by conning people and leaving them to rot.  So they drive off and leave Tallahassee and Columbus to rot.  Tallahassee and Columbus soon stumble across an abandoned, but working, replacement vehicle with a backseat full of abandoned, but working, shit-ton of weapons.  Back on the road, they find their car with “HELP” written on the side.  Fearing another con, Tallahassee goes to check out the car alone.  When he calls Columbus to bring their new wheels down, he does, bringing Little Rock with him.  They’ve been conned again!  But this time, Witchita and and Little Rock don’t leave them to rot, and take them along.  Turns out Witchita and Little Rock are going to an amusement park in California they have heard is zombie-free, and Tallahassee and Columbus go along because Tallahassee has nothing better to do, and Columbus wants him some Emma Stone.  Who could blame him?

I don’t know that I would say this movie is universally awesome, but it may be the winner of the “Movie Made for Robert” award.  You can find that out right from the get-go, while the opening scene is the credits rolling over brutal zombie killings with “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica playing.  Later, when some Van Halen is playing, and later still, when Bill Murray shows up, you may be pretty sure that someone loved me so much they wanted to give me the gift of this movie.  And what a gift it was!

There’s a lot of great to this movie.  It’s very funny and full of gruesome zombie deaths.  I’m also a big fan of the on screen messages that pop up.  As Columbus’ rules pop up on screen, they can be interacted with and movie to some comic effect.  Also, I’m totally with Tallahassee at some point in this movie when he finds a Hostess truck but, much to his chagrin, it’s full of Snowballs.  I’m with you; Snowballs suck.  I’d actually prefer a truck of Cupcakes, but I’d take Twinkie’s too.

All of the very small cast was great.  Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin pissed me off for about the first half of the movie, but that was what they were supposed to do.  I wanted one of them to get punched in the mouth the second time they went to carjack Woody and Jesse.  I just realized that their names were the cowboys in Toy Story, the guy and the girl.  Just thought you should follow my thought process there.  The two girls are very self centered, which annoyed me but, when I think about it, that’s how you have to be in the zombie apocalypse.  The more people you get attached to, the more likely you are to meet a gruesome death.  Jesse plays a similar part to every roll I’ve ever seen the man in, but he plays it well.  And Woody Harrelson is a bona fide badass throughout the entire movie, but has a really touching moment when we realize that the puppy he’s been talking about losing since early in the movie was actually his son.  Also, watching him at the amusement park in the end of the movie is the most fun killing zombies, and the most fun watching zombies die, that has been captured on film to this day.

I had to really think about any negatives I could give to this movie, and the only one I had was at the very end.  That moment is when Columbus realizes he has to be a hero – deliberately going against one of his rules – in order to save Witchita and Little Rock from a zombie clown (having mentioned earlier in the movie that he fears clowns more than zombies).  The problem with this scene is that it’s a climax that’s very anticlimactic.  It should have been a battle that Columbus barely survives, but instead he sweeps the clown’s legs with a “Test Your Might” hammer, and then smashes his head with it.  It took all of 8 seconds.  Not enough of a negative to throw off my affection for the movie by a long shot, but a bit anticlimactic.

So, this movie is awesome.  You should own it.  Go do so.  I give it “Thanks for my movie, guys” out of 14.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

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