October 12, 2009

This was supposed to be a movie review, but I ended up just capitalizing a lot of things.

In watching Zombieland, I learned something. I apparently subconsciously think that dark humor is not “genuine” or “real” humor.

I mean, that’s not true. Dark Humor can be totally and completely awesome. I enjoy dabbling in it from time to time. It also seems like a decent fit for a movie called Zombieland, as well. I mean, you’re obviously going to have some gore (And Zombieland doesn’t pull too many punches in that department) and death and whatnot. Dark Humor seems likely. Zombieland didn’t really go that way, though. What you find is a strong, character-based comedy set to the background of a Zombie Apocalypse for no reason other than Zombies are hot right now, I guess. (Also, why did I just capitalize Zombie Apocalypse?)

Seriously, the cast is very small. Just the four survivors. But they all do a really great job in being entertaining, but real people, which is just the perfect sort of combination. Tallahassee, Woody Harrelson’s character, is really the most “cartoonish” of the bunch, and is indeed the source of many of the strongest laughs in the film. At the same time, the movie makes sure to make him a real human being, and does so in a way that doesn’t seem all that forced or tacked on. It’s actually kind of nice, really.

So yeah, instead of humorous, over-the-top zombie kills, you have entertainment based on strong characters interacting. And it works well. And it involves a great cameo by a fucking awesome guy. So I totally, totally dug it.

A final note: They’re pushing a line as quotable in the ads, it seems, that of the mantra of “Nut up or Shut up.” This is not a memorable line. Seriously, one of the best lines of dialog in the entire movie is “Let me start the first part of my three-part apology by saying that you are a wonderful human being,” and I can totally see THAT being a quotable line. Conversations of Balls works alright in the movies, but man, who would actually say that?
Okay, so, people would. But nobody I know. Thankfully. Besides Spaeth. But he would probably say something completely different about balls.

I’m done now.

Honestly, I don’t consider Zombieland to be a “zombie movie”, if you will. No, seriously, hear me out.

The zombies in Zombieland are just a MacGuffin. They exist solely to drive the plot forward, and could easily be replaced by anything. They could have been giant spiders, post-apocalyptic mutants, pod people, aliens whatever. They needed to be less than human so wholesale slaughter was acceptable, but beyond that, they’re irrelevant.

Of course, I suppose that’s generally the role zombies play in movies (especially with Romero’s insufferable insistence on injecting politics into his zombie movies), but I would consider Night of the Living Dead or even Shaun of the Dead to be more “pure” zombie movies. Even zombie-alikes such as 28 Days Later are more pure seeming than Zombieland.

Zombieland’s closest counsin, to my eyes, would probably be Planet Terror from Grindhouse. Of course, Planet Terror was a send-up of zombie (and horror/splatterhouse) flicks in general. It also struck me as more of a black comedy than Zombieland did. Granted, black comedy is so horribly subjective that it’s hard to classify, but still, Zombieland seemed more like an out and out roadtrip/comedy movie that just so happened to have zombies.

I mean, that early scene at the gas station where he’s running in circles from the zombies. That’s just pure silliness.

And… um… wow. Who knew I had so much to say?

Comment by Cris — October 12, 2009 @ 1:53 am

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