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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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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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