As a fan of the fictional undead, I’m surprised and disappointed that I missed out on the 2009 zombie hit ZOMBIELAND. I can be a little tardy to the party at times. So last night I rectified the situation, and boy am I ever glad that I did.
The cast is small, but full-bodied. ZL goes back to a time before Emma Stone was a mega-star, Jesse Eisenberg hadn’t yet transformed into Facebook creator Mark I’m CEO, Bitch Zuckerberg, Abigail Breslin was shaking off her cutesy rom-com typecast, and Woody Harrelson wasn’t eating pickles in the woods just yet.
Together, the four of them make Wichita (Stone), Columbus (Eisenberg), Little Rock (Breslin), and Tallahassee (Harrelson). Each living in a world that exists only because they’re in it. Zombieland is what’s left after the undead pandemic wipes the earth nearly clean of real live people.
I say I love the fictional undead because let me tell you; 10 years ago I would’ve survived ZOMBIELAND just fine. Based purely on Columbus’s list for survival, I would’ve been a winner in the survival of the fittest game.
Back then, I was in shape. I was fit! But as most of us know, time is the great leveler of man. Cardio would be a major issue. I can hardly climb the stairs to my apartment before my lungs feel like they’re going to blow out like old tires.
I have no trouble making very sure that dead things are super dead. Centipedes in my home aren’t just squished, they are obliterated.
I’m already wary of bathrooms. That’s a given whether it’s the zombie apocalypse or not. As a person who is hyperaware at all times and the poster child for hypochondria, bathrooms are pretty much my worst nightmare. Except for my bathroom at home. That’s my sanctuary.
But this isn’t about me and all of my little idiosyncrasies. ZOMBIELAND is the story of Columbus. He’s called Columbus because that’s where he’s trying to go. Evidently that’s a thing in the zombie apocalypse. At least this version of it. What one is called has something to do with where they came from or where they’re going.
Columbus follows his own rules all of the time. No exceptions. The movie turns into a depraved version of one of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope’s Road To films when Tallahassee picks Columbus up in his zombie-proof Cadillac. No Road To movie is complete without Dorothy Lamour. Wichita shows up later to fill that role nicely with her kid sister Little Rock to one-up the boys over and over only to need saving later. Which is a little disappointing. A lady with such cunning shouldn’t make such a stupid mistake, but I guess the writers had no better way to have Columbus rise above and win.
Sorry if that’s a spoiler to anyone. I figure everybody else in the free world has seen this one by now. Be happy that — if like me — you’ve been living under a rock all these years and haven’t seen the film I’m not spoiling one of the best cameos ever.
Aside from some obvious tropes, this is a pretty clever zom-com. Or is it a romantic zomedy? Whatever the case may be, It’s fun to watch. A bit gruesome, but a good time. Woody Harrelson has a real knack for comedic timing and nails what would normally be just kinda funny lines like, “You wanna see how hard I can punch?”
I hear tell of a ZOMBIELAND sequel. I promise you that I will — to quote Tallahassee’s personal motto — nut up or shut up and see it when it comes out instead of 5 years later.