Movie #190 Zombieland
(2009, US, d. Ruben Fleischer)
The highest grossing zombie film to date, Zombieland is funny, smart, and surprisingly, visually stimulating. It starts off with a bang. Narrated by Jesse Eisenberg, the opening sequence depicts certain rules his character has developed ever since the zombie apocalypse began. For example, always wear a seatbelt, never be the hero, cardio, etc The rules are numerous, but it is an effective screenwriting technique to explain the longevity of his weak and pathetic character. Woody Harrelson provides a great turn as “Tallahasee” (no one here provides their real name), a man who will let hell break lose to find some twinkies. As the two strike up a relationship, they meet “Wichita” and “Little Rock” (played by Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin, respectively). They get into some shenanigans, form a group, meet Bill Murray, and fend for their lives. It’s a rather simplistic, somewhat episodic film, but it really moves forward through the chemistry of the characters and the wit of the dialogue. Eisenberg, who would go on to star in one of the best films of the decade (I am, of course, referring to The Social Network), is his usual self here – a better version of Michael Cera. Stone, who would also later provide the star-making performance in Easy A, is quite good here. Rumor has it Zombieland 2 is in the works. They better realize they should nail it in the writing. Because that’s where everything goes right here.