On The Couch #10: Zombieland

I feel sorry for the producers of World War Z. Is there any point to making a movie based on Max Brooks’s zombie outbreak book now that Zombieland is here? The stories are largely similar. Sure, Zombieland doesn’t have the worldwide scope that World War Z does, but it does a great job of capturing a lot of the elements that Brooks’s book did so well: the introverted loner who initially survives because he’s walled himself off from society, cross-country zombie hunting, and rules for staying alive in World War Z, er..I mean Zombieland.

I’m catching a theme running throughout the movies I’ve been watching on the couch lately. Food Inc. showed us how easily disease can spread when you have cows packed tight, wading in their own manure. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs showed the problems of trying to play God with your food. And now Zombieland tells us that the zombie outbreat was the result of a guy eating some tainted meat at a local fast food joint and quickly developing a taste for human flesh. The lesson is obvious; eat organic or become a brain-hungry creature of the night.

Zombieland proves how important it is to be ready for a zombie outbreak. True story: I was walking through Brooklyn one day on the phone with my girlfriend when I saw a limping, smelly, bloodshot-eyed guy shambling in my direction. I told my girlfriend “Either this guy is a crackhead or a zombie.” By the looks of him, I was guessing zombie. I instinctively looked around for a baseball bat, crowbar or shotgun…no luck. I made eye contact with the crackhead-zombie and he yelled “What are you looking at? I’ll kill you!” Whew, crisis averted. Everyone knows that if he was a zombie, he would have just said “Blaaaarggghhh…”

The unlikely heroes of Zombieland.

There are less than 10 credited roles in zombieland. The majority of the zombies are extras. Woody Harrelson is great as the bad-ass zombie killer Tallahassee. Superbad’s Emma Stone is equally bad-ass as zombie movie femme fatale Wichita.

Witchita: bangs + leather jacket + dark eyeshadow + shotgun = badass.

While watching Woody Harrelson fire off multiple firearms seems natural, the biggest casting surprise was Abigail Breslin as the shotgun wielding 12-year old Little Rock. It’s very entertaining to watch an actor take a 180-turn from what she’s known for, especially if the turn involves hunting zombies.

Is there anything creepier than a child zombie?

Jesse Eisenberg seems to be setting himself up as the go-to guy for when a movie can’t cast Michael Cera. In some scenes, he is so Michael Cera-like that the only thing separating the two of them is his bigger hair. Michael and Jesse should do a movie together. Would Youth in Revolt have been better if Francois was played by Jesse Eisenberg? Maybe not, but Michael Ceara and Not-Michael Cera really need some screentime to share.

You were awesome in Juno.

My favorite parts of Zombieland were the inventive use of titling throughout the movie that displayed on the screen showing Columbus’s rules of surviving in Zombieland. These would pop up any time that a character followed or, usually at the cost of their life, didn’t follow those rules.

There’s a reason there are so many fat zombies in Zombieland.

The special features on the Blu-ray aren’t too special. The deleted scenes were deleted for good reasons and the two making of featurettes spend most of the time showing you scenes you just watched in the movie. The main highlight of the making-of featurettes is Abigail Breslin complaining about how jealous she was of all the people in zombie make-up and how she begged the director constantly for her character to become a zombie in the end.

I’m giving Zombieland five stars on Netflix. It’s great. For the easily quesy among you, be forewarned the movie is very bloody right from the start. Looking back on it, the beginning of the movie seemed much more gory than the rest of the movie. Either they did a great mix of gore and humor throughout the film, or the they did a great job at desensitizing me to gore very quickly. Either way, kudos.

Batter up!

I think Bruce Springsteen sang it best:

Kids flash shotguns just like switchblades hustling for a Twinkie or two
The hungry and the hunted explode against the bat in his hand
They face off against each other out in the street
Down in Zom…bie…land