One of the hazards with being a movie lover is that you often end up watching more films than you really should. After a while you see the same themes being played out over and over that you start to judge certain films harsher than others. I remember getting into a debate with someone over my thoughts about the movie G.I. Joe. During the discussion the person remarked that I was "being too critical" to which I responded "we are all critical, how else do you know if you like something or not?" Needless to say this took the debate to a whole other philosophical level. I knew what the person was trying to get at though. Basically he was saying that I was unable to simply sit back and enjoy a movie as pure mindless entertainment. Which I completely disagree with; I think we all, film buff or not, have a personal gauge for what films we find pleasing or not. How else would we find ourselves in discussions on the merits of G.I. Joe?
The point is there are some movies that I liked for no other reason than I had a blast watching it. It just happens that what I often consider enjoyable fluff others are not too fond and vice versa. One example this in 2009 is the movie vengeance flick, Taken. There is no deep statement being made, no scorching acting performances, etc. Taken is simply two hours of watching Liam Neeson physically going to town on a bunch of really evil dudes. I know many panned the film but I cannot deny that I had a great time watching it and will probably add it to my DVD collection at some point. Another film that falls into that same "guilty pleasure" category for me is Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland.
After a tainted hamburger sets off a series of events that turns the bulk of the world population into zombies, society is reduced to nothing more than a survival of the fittest mentality. Luckily, Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg) has come up with a series of strict rules which believes are key to ensuring longevity during the zombie epidemic. Along his travels Columbus encounters Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a man who cares more about killing zombies in creative ways than he does about following anything resembling structure. The two unlikely drifters decide to team up but soon find out that working together has its equal share of advantages and problems. One of the problems comes in the forms of siblings Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Brislen). Not only does the arrival of these sisters threaten to hinder Columbus and Tallahassee's budding friendship, but it also may cost the men their lives.
Zombieland may not be as strong a film as fellow zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead but it was funny nonetheless. This is one of the few films I have seen in recent years where I actually would not mind seeing a sequel made. Normally I am against unnecessary sequels, or prequels for that matter, but Zombieland’s brisk pacing really left me wanting more. Plus, Columbus' list of rules can easily be expanded if they were to make a future installment. The thing I really enjoyed about the various rules was how practical, and simple, they all were. Part of the fun of this movie is picturing how you would cope in that situation. At first the seat belt rule seems silly but, once you see it in practice, you quickly realize how brilliant it actually is.
Sure I found the whole amusement park finale extremely far fetch, but I was having so much fun up until that point that I was willing to let it slide. If you really think about it, Zombieland is nothing more than witty pop culture references and creative zombie deaths. Yet that was enough to keep me both engaged and laughing. I will not try and give a highbrow spin on the movie because it is not deep at all, although it tries to be at one point. The whole no man is his on island theme regarding family worked much better in the films such as About a Boy. Regardless, Zombieland was a true guilty pleasure for me and I look forward a trip back sometime soon.