“Time to nut up or shut up!”
The Scoop: 2009 R, directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone
Tagline: This place is so dead
Summary Capsule: Surviving the end of the world either takes a meticulous list of 32 rules or a heapload of ammo. Take your pick.
Justin’s rating: If I told you that I left the theater with a huge smile on my face and my fist up in the air, a la Bender from Breakfast Club, that should tell you one thing – this is one of the best movies of the year.
Justin’s Review: As Zombieland’s Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) likes to make a list of rules for surviving a zombie epidemic, so I would like to make a list of what it takes to create one of the best horror-comedies of all time:
Rule #1: Don’t be afraid to give the audience an amazing hero to root for. For Zombieland, it’s Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson playing Woody Harrelson), a full-fledged redneck with a penchant for two things – killing zombies and eating Twinkies. When everyone else in the world is fleeing the raging undead, he’s gleefully running toward them with as much ammo as he can carry.
Rule #2: Have a catchy catchphrase. Evil Dead 2? “Groovy.” Zombieland? “Nut up or shut up.”
Rule #3: Don’t forget to bring the funny. Shaun of the Dead was spot-on hilarious… until the third act got a little too serious and a lot less snarky. Zombieland keeps the pressure up on your funnybone until the very last scene with nary a “bummer” scene to be seen.
Rule #4: Have the best celebrity cameo OF ALL TIME.
Rule #5: Keep the characters likable. For all his swagger, Tallahassee is a good-natured hillbilly, and for all his dorkiness, Columbus throws out quips and momentary heroics that matter. Throw in a pair of scamming sisters, and you’ve got the formation of a long-running sitcom family – or the four people you’d most want to survive the zombipocalypse. You know, aside from yourself.
Rule #6: It’s cathartic to make fun of the scary flesh-eaters. For decades now we’ve been wincing and shrieking from the grisly unstoppable zombies, so it’s like lancing a boil to see them become the butt of our heroes’ jokes (and on the receiving end of their shotgun shells).
Rule #7: Crank up some awesome tunes. Metallica? Van Halen? Velvet Underground? Blue Oyster Cult? Hank Williams? Oh yeah, this film is metal.
Rule #8: A little kissy-kissy doesn’t hurt, either. Romance after the fall of the world? That’s hope for a better future, right there.
Rule #9: If it makes the scene rock, then it’s momentarily okay to throw believability and common sense out of the window.
Rule #10: And as Tallahassee says, it’s good to enjoy the little things. Like zombie clowns, painting a “3” on the side of every stolen car, rollercoaster rampages and educating the little ones on the importance of Ghostbusters.
Rule #11: Be entertaining through and through. While some may debate this, less than a half decade after Shaun of the Dead set the standard for recent zombie comedies (Dead Alive/Braindead is the reigning king, in my opinion), Zombieland sweeps past Simon Pegg and Nick Frost with seeming ease. I’ve rarely seen a movie so gleefully enjoy what should, by all rights, be a terrifying and macabre situation, to the point where I might not mind joining this crew for a little end of the world road trip as well.
Oh, and Rule #12: If you don’t see this movie, I will bite you. Seriously. And then you’ll become a mutant and have to file a completely different set of tax forms in April. Trust me, it’s a pain, so go see Zombieland pronto and avoid the (Talla)hassle.
- The Zombie Kill of the Week. By a nun!
- All the major characters are named after American cities: Tallahassee (Florida), Wichita (Kansas), Little Rock (Arkansas), and Columbus (Ohio).
- Jesse Eisenberg’s squeamish character Columbus has a phobia about clowns. His real life mother worked as a party clown.
- Zombieland was originally pitched as a TV series. After being turned down, the writers refashioned it into a screenplay (the amusement park scene was going to be the second TV episode).
- 1. Cardio
- 2. Double tap
- 3. Beware of bathrooms
- 4. Seatbelts
- 6. Cast iron skillet
- 7. Travel light
- 12. Bounty
- 15. Bowling ball
- 17. Don’t be a hero
- 18. Limber up
- 22. When in doubt know your way out
- 29. The buddy system
- 31. Check the back seat
- 32. Enjoy the little things
- 33. Swiss Army Knife
Columbus: Now you’re going to find out who you’re should call. The Ghostbusters.
Tallahassee: I haven’t cried like that since Titanic!
Tallahassee: Time to nut up or shut up!
Wichita: Do you have any regrets?
Bill Murray: Maybe Garfield.
If You Liked This Movie, Try These:
- Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
- Shaun of the Dead
- Return of the Living Dead