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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Zombieland

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

"Zombieland" (Columbia/Relativity) is a wryly amusing but at times wildly gruesome genre satire that combines elements of a road movie, a buddy flick and a romantic comedy.

Set in a ruined world where hordes of cannibal zombies prey on the few remaining humans, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick's post-apocalyptic tale tracks the odd-couple adventures of a phobia-plagued slacker known as Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and a fearless gunslinger called Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson).

As these unlikely monikers suggest, one of the script's conceits is that, in an environment where everyone is on the move in search of safety and where too much trust is dangerous, people identify themselves by place names rather than personal ones.

Despite their conflicting personalities and divergent survival techniques—Columbus has an elaborate set of rules for evading the predators, while Tallahassee actively seeks them out and mows them down with abandon—the pair forms an uneasy alliance. But their partnership is repeatedly strained after they cross paths with sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), whose own success at withstanding zombie attacks is not based on being the innocents they initially seem.

Though this is anything but family-friendly cinema, adults with a high tolerance for graphic nastiness and casually dispensed foul language may discern some honorable values behind the uproarious, corpse-ridden proceedings of director Ruben Fleischer's feature debut.

Thus, inspired by a touching nostalgia for more innocent times, Columbus longs to return to his parents, though he also regrets the shallowness of his past relationship with them. Moved by a similar impulse, Wichita and Little Rock dream of revisiting a California amusement park where they often enjoyed themselves in happier days.

The characters also display a beleaguered yearning for solidarity, whether expressed through the friendship that eventually bonds all four or through the gently caring romance that develops between Columbus and Wichita.

The film contains much gory violence, including cannibalism, partial upper female nudity, drug use, a few profanities, frequent crude and crass language, and an obscene gesture. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted; Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

***
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Heavenly Father, I am sure there are frequently tiny miracles where you protect us and are present to us although you always remain anonymous. Help me appreciate how carefully you watch over me and my loved ones all day long, and be sensitive enough to stay close to you. I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.

 
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