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The West Wing
In a world overrun by zombies, a guy described as "the most frightened person on Earth" (Eisenberg) musters the courage to lead a band of refugees on a cross-country pilgrimage to an amusement park where they think they'll be safe.
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The theme of Zombieland is trust. If you can't trust then you can't love. And if you can't love then you might as well be a zombie.
Throw in some killing and some comedy and you have yourself a solid 90 minutes of entertainment in Zombieland. This is a solid film because it's scary, it's funny and it's about something important. These days the best way to tell a social commentary story is with comedy. But now horror seems to be an even better way.
Zombies have been a very popular staple in the recent years of storytelling. It's a take on the Western society and how many of us get so wrapped up in the things that really don't matter in the grand scheme of life. Job status, money, food, alcohol, getting laid etc...; it's all tools to keep us in the state of a zombie. We pay attention to the non-important things in life and basically get trapped inside of our own souls. How storytellers attempt to make an analogy to this is to give us man eating creatures who destroy the world. Because after all, many of us believe most people have already become zombies already.
Zombieland puts a different spin to this genre by telling us that we should just enjoy the small things in life. No matter if 6 billion people have died, if you're alive then you might as well enjoy being alive. So of course a zombie movie should be a comedy because something this crazy has to be the ultimate comedy joke in the history of mankind. What is comedy anyway? Tragedy + Time = a whole love of laughs. A zombie movie is the perfect comedy.
There have been recent zombie comedies in the last few years. The most popular being Shaun of the Dead, a film that WILDsound movie reviewer Joshua Starnes put in his TOP 10 Comedy Movies of the 2000s decade. Perhaps he needs to adjust that list after seeing Zombieland as it's a far superior film. And I think you can only have one zombie film in a top 10 list.
What makes this film so endearing is the relationships with the 4 characters. You have our narrator, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a young man who really never had love in his life. The older gruff man, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who lost a deep love of his life. And the two sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who don't trust a soul because of their hardship of a life so far. All four people who have been hit hard by love and all think that you can't be hurt as long as you don't attempt to care about someone else.
This is a common theme in the movies these days because it's something many of us understand. We've all been hurt before and we all know that pain sucks a whole lot. So we protect ourselves from that pain by distracting ourselves. We become zombies. All four characters in Zombieland must overcome their inner fears and learn to trust again in order for them to not become zombies.
There's a classic scene in the film that will be remembered for the ages when the gang drives to Los Angeles to find their distractions. They end up at a movie stars home with the initials of BM and then there are about 10 laugh out loud moments in about 5 minutes. A nice story beat going to the land of make-believe so they can attempt to ease their pain. And the movie star of BM deserves a lot of credit for making this uncredited cameo in a mock version of his own mansion in Beverly Hills.
But this film leads with comedy and there are many moments of laughter. And what makes it even more funny is because we care about all of these characters so much.
Good solid job. I was completely surprised how much I liked this film.
I can't think of a better comedy than this film from 2009.