BBC’s “Survivors” – Psyched so far!

So, after all of @Ebouc‘s constant urgings on twitter, I decided that I had to give Survivors a shot.  I was wary because it seems like post-apocalyptic television (Hell, post-apocalyptic anything, for that matter) is often done pretty poorly.  I’ve just gotten used to lowering my expectations so I can at least enjoy the movie or show a little bit.  I was also a little wary because Survivors sounded slightly reminiscent of The Stand (the TV mini-series, not the book), and while I was drunk enough to forget much of The Stand, I do remember completely despising what I remembered.

Well, the kid’s were in bed and we didn’t have any episodes of Big Love or Lost to watch, so I managed to convince my wife to check out the first episode of Survivors.  We were both really impressed.  My wife likes it so much that last night I asked if she wanted to watch the most recent episode of Big Love or Survivors and she picked the latter.  She freaking loves Big Love, so I think that says a lot right there.

Anyway, the concept of the series is effectively Apocalypse by Plague (my favorite kind) and it follows the lives of the six (or so) main characters as they try to stay alive in an apocalypse-ravaged land and also try to connect with family members who might still be alive.  However, the plague has less than a 1% survival rate so finding any living family members seems pretty unlikely.

I think we are through episode four of the first series so far and my complaints are pretty minor (and they are vastly outweighed by my kudos).  My biggest two complaints are:

1) Music – the music is a little sappy.  It sounds like a full orchestra and sometimes that can be a little much.  I think it would have been better if they’d stripped it down a little bit and left a little more space.  But, that’s minor.

2) Peter – I don’t want to give anything away, but I can tell that the quest for the elusive Peter is going to get on my nerves.  He’s going to be the equivalent of “getting off the island” in Gilligan’s Island.  You know what I mean, right?  It’s always “this close!”.  Ugh.

But, don’t let my bitching discourage you.   I’m just a grouchy old drunk guy.  You should definitely watch it now before they make an American version that completely sucks.

Zombieland Review

Well, I finally got off my ass and decided to write another new review. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my old review style (I started this site in 1996 or so), what I used to do was get fairly drunk, watch the movie, get a little more drunk and then write a nearly incomprehensible review. I’ve been adding the old reviews back to the site but I’m trying to trickle some new reviews in as well. Hopefully, this will paint me in a better light. At least, I’d like to think I’m not the same goofball that I was 13 years ago. Heh.

Anyway… Zombieland!  I think we have such classics as Shaun of the Dead and Dead Alive (aka Braindead) to thank for the creation of this little gem.  I mean, I’m trying to think of other movies besides those two in which zombies (and especially such over-the-top gore) has been so hilarious.  I mean, I’ve watched plenty of terrible zombie movies that I considered to be funny, but they certainly weren’t intentionally funny.

So, it’s nice to be able to satisfy all of your movie-going needs at once, right?  Also, if you’ve ever read any of my reviews before, then you know that my favorite cause of the apocalypse is Plague!  It’s just not used enough.  Although, I guess that’s been shifting more and more these days.  Back in the 80s and early 90s it seemed like post-apocalyptic and nuclear war went hand in hand.  I guess, I just like a little variety.

Ok.  On to specifics.  Zombieland stars Jesse Eisenberg as our anti-hero.  If you are drunk, then you might have thought he was Michael Cera, because he does a pretty good Michael Cera impersonation throughout the whole movie.  But, that’s fine with me.  It’s still pretty damn hilarious.  Woody Harrelson stars alongside as a more typical example of what we’ve come to expect in our post-apocalyptic heroes.  He’s like a redneck, wise-cracking Mad Max…. umm… only he kills zombies.

There are quite a few things about Zombieland that really stood out to me.  Here’s a quick summary.

  1. Slow-Mo Title Sequence – Make sure and pay attention during the opening credits because all of the slow-mo zombie kill gags are awesome!
  2. Zombie Kill of the Week – Kind of a running gag and possible commentary on the use of gore in zombie movies.
  3. The List – Columbus apparently suffers from some fairly severe OCD.  As a result he’s compiled a list of things that keep you alive in Zombieland.  The list should be standard reading for anyone facing a Zombie Apocalypse… or anyone who’s found themselves in a horror movie, for that matter.  I expect that such rules as the “Double Tap” and “Always Check the Backseat” will be shouted at witless horror movie characters for many years to come.
  4. Bill Murray – I’m not sure how, but I wasn’t even aware that Bill Murray was in this movie.  How freaking great is that!  Bill Murray, everybody…. Bill Murray.  I’d like to go on record and say that we could all use with more Bill in our post-apocalyptic/zombie/horror movies.  More horror… less Garfield!
  5. Van Halen – I’m sure I’m missing other uses of “Everybody Wants Some” in Cinema.  But, honestly, the last time I remembered enjoying this song during a movie was Better Off Dead.  Ahh.. Van  Halen.. back when they were still arguably cool.

Well, I don’t want to give away too much of the movie.  But, to be honest, you know exactly what’s going to happen.  A handful of people loot and blast their way through the Zombie Apocalypse and it’s a wicked good time.  Just enjoy it for what it is…. pretty damned fun.


Oh yeah!  Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the trailer for Zombieland: