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'Zombieland': Hollywood finally offers some red meat to a starving geek nation

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You know it’s a bleak time to be a movie lover when Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the highest-grossing movie in America because it actually is the best option at the multiplex and not because the studio threw the most money at it. That may have something to do with why the geekeratti are already over Zombieland — Sony’s relatively low-budget undead buddy picture starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg — as if it were a predestined oscar-sweeping LOTR-sized phenom.

That’s a lot of pressure on a slyly self-referential genre flick that doesn’t even hit theaters until this Friday. But the film’s first-time director, Ruben Fleischer, is already getting the Quentin Tarantino treatment, with long, reverential Q&As like this one in which he explains how his movie deconstructs the tropes of zombie movies and made action scenes new and exciting again. That’s all fair enough.

As someone who has had the pleasure of seeing Zombieland, it deserves plenty of props for some genuinely hilarious banter between Harrelson, a kamikazi cowboy, and Eisenberg, a young Woody Allen-type who somehow got lost in an action movie. There’s some genuinely original filmmaking flourishes, like the signs that pop up during action sequences and the inspired use  of slo-mo during zombie chase sequences. But, it’s annoying that even goofy genre movies like this one can’t avoid being over-hyped by entertainment junkies desperate for a fix. I wonder if I would have liked the movie half as much if I had already been doused in the hype that’s already swirling around Zombieland. How about you: Do you feel like you can give a movie a fair shot even if you’ve already been told it’s going to rearrange your electrons? Has there been an over-hyped movie you feel like you might have liked better if you had seen it earlier in its life-cycle? Has Zombieland reached the hype tipping point yet?

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