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The 365 Best Films of the 2000s

Heroes of the Zeroes: Zombieland

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.


“Zombieland”
Rated R
2009

Equal parts John Hughes and John Carpenter, 2009’s “Zombieland” perfected the romantic zombie comedy elements of the good, but insanely overpraised, “Shaun of the Dead.”

That its climactic sequence takes place in an amusement park — coincidentally the first time a film has successfully pulled that off — is fitting. Much like a rollercoaster, this is a loosey-goosey exercise in controlled fear and nervous laughter — with Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin battling the undead in a world overrun by zombies.

As rambunctiously funny as “Zombieland” is, it’s not without weight. Opening with a slow-motion tableau of terribly messy blood, vomit and bullets set to Metallica, it’s post-apocalyptic and postmodern all at once.

Eisenberg has settled into playing earthy, earnest men of words and convincingly grapples with an amusing central question: Can one learn to live when surrounded by the undead? Comparatively, Harrelson has a double-barrel hoot with his Snake Plissken vibe, but his rambunctious sass conceals a burden on his soul.

Stone’s husky-throated sweetness and gravitational sexual pull lures Eisenberg. If anyone gets short shrift, it’s Breslin, although her lament in a zombie-riddled world — being deprived of an enjoyable childhood — is more abstract.

In his directorial debut, Ruben Fleischer told this story with an equal knack for visual flair and effective performances (plus the Greatest. Cameo. Ever.).

Even at their most worrywart moments, these characters are proactive, and “Zombieland” legitimately sells facing fears, taking stances and being brave when a life’s on the line that’s not your own.

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14 Responses to “Heroes of the Zeroes: Zombieland”

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE This movie ! Lesson 1 watch it every time it is on ! But the sad part is that there might be a time where there are NO MORE TWINKIES !!!! Loved Bill Murry too !

  2. [...] Jump Street division is just “recycling shit from the past.” And there’s a cameo that reaches “Zombieland”-ian proportions of [...]

  3. [...] second outing from director Ruben Fleischer — every bit as terrible as his 2009 debut, “Zombieland,” was terrific. It isn’t exciting. It isn’t clever. It isn’t funny. It just isn’t. Nowhere to [...]

  4. [...] is the same in the fact that it looks like, acts like and has a lot of the same punch lines as “Zombieland,” but it is by no means “Zombieland” and that is its [...]

  5. james jones says:

    ZombieLand was awesome,ive never looked at Twinkies the same since

  6. Christian Piatek says:

    Haha loved Zombieland so much!!

  7. Melissa says:

    This movie is right up there with Shaun of the Dead as far as Zombie Comedies go. I laughed my butt off. And yes, the Bill Murray bit was fabulous, as was the Great Twinkie Hunt. And I *LOVED* Jesse’s "Rules"! Very smart.

  8. Jared Lee says:

    GREAT MOVIE!!! Laughed my a** off! Loved that Bill Murry played along!

  9. michelle Hahn says:

    I love this movie! Its one of my favorites that I will actually watch over again. Gotten love woody and his hunt for Twinkies! Lol

  10. Jason says:

    I never liked zombie movies until I saw this film. I have been watching every zombie movie I can get my hands on from classic to new. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this whole genre. It just doesn’t get better than the cameo from Bill Murray. Thank you Woody from Cheers.

  11. I am so pleased that romzomcom is now a genre.

  12. Nick Rogers says:

    Stephanie: Actually, "Heroes of the Zeroes" is the name we gave to the 365 *best* films of 2000-2009 (Zeroes being our nickname for the decade). Thanks for reading and commenting!

  13. Stephanie Winslow says:

    I have to admit, although it wasn’t the greatest movie of 2010, it was entertaining I thought. I was suprised to see it was in the zero category.

  14. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Rogers, The Film Yap. The Film Yap said: Someone's ear is in danger of having hair brushed over it. http://bit.ly/gTf5BJ #bestfilmsofthedecade #heroesofthezeroes [...]