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Monday, October 5, 2009

Manic Movie Monday - Zombieland

When planning the blog, I toyed with the idea of posting movie reviews.

"But you're a novelist!" Or an unpublished one at the moment.

Yes, but I've learned a lot about story structure from movies. Former and current crit partners will tell you my first drafts look like screenplays. (Yes, I'm one of those weird ass writers who has to add words, not cut them.)

So, in honor of the greatest holiday of my birth month and the heroine of my current wip, I bring you-

Zombieland
Rated 'R'
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin & Special Cameo
Directed by Rueben Fleischer

I resisted the urge to blog about this movie for 11 FREAKIN' DAYS because I don't believe in spoiling the experience for others. Which is also why I won't name the person making the special cameo appearance.

The DH got tickets to a special screening, and I dragged some writer buddies, the fabulous Colleen Thompson and the amazing Jody Payne, to the theater.

Let me start off with the 'R' is thoroughly deserved for zombie gore. Few people could eat a traditional Italian pizza through the opening scenes, but Colleen and I are special that way.

Zombieland is a road film set in a post-apocalyptic USA. Columbus (Eisenberg) is just trying to get home from college, hoping beyond hope his parents may still be alive back in Ohio. He teams up with Tallahasee (Harrelson), a fellow survivor heading east. They run into Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin), sisters running in the opposite direction on the rumor of a zombie-free zone in California.

This is one of the funniest movies I've seen since. . .

Okay, it's been a while since I've watched an adult comedy, one of the drawbacks of having a child below puberty.

But most of the audience was laughing in the same spots, so I'm pretty sure I wasn't that deprived of a grown-up sense of humor. Or is that depraved?

The first half of the movie consists of running gags regarding Columbus's Rules of Survival. Most of them sound like standard Mom advice: buckle your seatbelts, check the backseat of your car, beware of public restrooms, etc. Standard that is until combined with zombie mayhem for some truly black humor.

Luckily, the director realized the Rules can't carry an entire movie. The second half deals with the four characters overcoming their respective losses and trust issues. The best scene is when Tallahassee finally admits his allegedly zombie-eaten puppy was not his puppy. Harrelson is one of the few actors who can make me cry and laugh at the same time.

Even though the Zombie Kill of the Week tag was featured prominently in the trailers, it was only used twice to good effect.

If you love zombies and gut-busting dark humor, go watch Zombieland.

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