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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sneak of the Dead

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Page 4 of 4

I could go on about the zombie-thwarting properties of movie theaters all day. Tragically, this obvious stronghold was overlooked in the delightfully gross horror comedy Zombieland in favor of two different set pieces: a Beverly Hills mansion and an amusement park that looks suspiciously like the one from Adventureland. I'm beginning to think that Jesse Eisenberg actually lives there, and any director who wants to shoot at the park is contractually obligated to cast him as a nebbishy virgin.

Zombieland is the zombie movie I would have written in a week of study halls when I was seventeen and been justifiably proud of penning. It is in no way subtle and includes a lot of overly-explanatory and arch narration, complete with graphics. Absolutely no loose ends are left at the end; if something got mentioned at any point, it's going to be resolved before the credits roll. The comic timing is good, but not quite grown up. Jokes are either taken a step further than they actually merit or not taken far enough to explore additional comic meanings. As a movie, it's a cartoon. But it's a damn fun cartoon.

The Doctor, my mysterious long-time gentleman caller and the man I'd always choose to have riding shotgun if I needed someone to fire an actual shotgun, pointed out how similar it was to Inglourious Basterds, which we saw together some time ago. In a way, he's definitely right. The two movies have the same DNA, but Zombieland is the kid brother digging through the box of E.C. Comics that Inglourious Basterds left behind when it moved for grad school. Both feature the violent, occasionally hilarious dispatch of culturally acceptable disposable people (zombies, Nazis), but while Basterds is holding up a mirror to the audience and daring them to examine why they're having so much fun, Zombieland is mugging in the glass to get its ironic eyebrow twitch just right.

Dara Strickland is a leading expert on sneaking food and drink into the movies. She reports on her exploits (from an undisclosed location) every Monday. Sometimes Tuesdays. Sneaks are sneaky that way.

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