zombieland: cool vocabulary from columbus’ 4 rules in the opening scene

zombieland: double tap is currently in theaters worldwide. the name comes from the opening scene of the first zombieland movie, which is a list of rules ( like the toluca lyric pilot) for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

columbus, a character played by jessie eisenberg starts the movie telling the audience

i wish i could tell u that this was still america. but i’ve come to realize that u can’t have a country without people. and there are no people here. no, my friends, this is now the united states of zombieland

realize means understand, recognize–it’s very different from realizar in spanish. possibly the best example in the english language is this song by the flaming lips.

wish + past tense indicates a wish about the present or the future, similar to second conditional. it is used in the chorus of echosmith‘s hit cool kids

i wish i could be like the cool kids

at :10, columbus’ observation is that

it’s amazing how quickly things can go from bad to total shitstorm

shitstorm (and also shitshow) are common expressions for really bad situations. bad to total shitstorm is a funny way to say it, but bad to worse is a more typical expression. it is the title of this song by ra ra riot.

in his explanation for rule 1, columbus uses this phrase at :26

when the virus struck

check the pronunciation of virus. it is exactly the same word in spanish and english, the pronunciation is definitely distinct. struck is the irregular past tense of , which means attack.

mom meme. the text reads: gets a virus on her computer. blames u for installing games.

mom meme [blame?]

at :40, the introduction of the second rule includes this phrase

as the infection spread and the chaos grew

as means while. spread is an irregular verb. spread is the past tense and past participle as well as the simple form. check the pronunciation of chaos. it is basically the same word in spanish and english, but in english the accent is on the first syllable, and the first syllable is pronounced like pay or say–different from spanish.

fun esl practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

grew is the irregular past tense of grow. it sounds like the words blue or new when pronounced correctly. u should NOT use grew up in this situation. refers to maturing or becoming an adult. chaos grows, it doesn’t grow up.

columbus: get a gun and learn how to use it

columbus talks about the necessity of knowing how to use a gun, and then at :50 reveals rule 2 like this…

which leads me to my second rule, the double tap

lead to in this context indicates a logical progression. double tap (remember: that’s the title of the new zombieland movie) is a shooting technique that involves firing twice in rapid succession. it is recommended to make sure that the zombies are dead and it leads to this advice/cautionary tale (story that is a warning)…

don’t get all stingy with your bullets….one more clean shot to the head and this woman could have avoided becoming a human happy meal. woulda coulda shoulda.

could have avoided is. hypothetically the woman had the chance to not be a victim, but she was. avoid means stay away from or prevent. woulda, coulda, shoulda is third conditional too. the expression is used to dismiss or forget about bad decisions in the past because they can’t be changed now. happy meals are promotions for kids at mcdonalds. get stingy means become conservative. stingy is the opposite of generous.

stingy from lazy town

the character stingy survived in lazy town by not sharing anything with the other kids. but how would he do in zombieland?

during the presentation of rule 3 columbus says the zombies started to get clever (become intelligent). the scene shows a guy sitting on the toilet who asks at 1:20…

can’t a guy take a dumper in peace?

take a dumper is a variation of the much more common take a dump–>poop, defecate. columbus’ tip (advice) related to rule 3 is

don’t let them catch u with your pants down

catch u with your pants down means when u are vulnerable or in an embarrassing situation.

meme that shows taking a dump in the 90s took 5 minutes and taking a dump today takes 30 minutes. the difference is cel phones :D

how taking a dump has evolved in the 21st century

in the intro to rule 4, columbus gives this sarcastic description

as zombies began to outnumber humans, well that’s when u had to cut all emotional ties. if the girls in your neighborhood are now fucked up little monsters, well maybe it’s time to stop driving carpool.

outnumber means there were more zombies than humans. cut ties means end relations. means with serious problems. carpool is an arrangement where people take turns driving.

a carpool

they are not a family. they might not even be friends. they’re a carpool (charlottenc.gov)

and columbus’ final comment of the scene is:

u had to focus on your own survival, which leads to rule number four, pretty basic, fasten your seatbelts. it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

pretty means more than normal, quite. fasten your seatbelts means put them on. check the pronunciation of fasten. the t is silent, like in the word listen. bumpy ride literally means a ride on a road that is poorly constructed or has poor maintenance but figuratively means it will be difficult.

fasten your seat belts sign
rule 4 in the united states of zombieland (amazon.com)

did u realize that zombieland: double tap is in theaters? have u seen it? what did u think? do u carpool to school or work? share your observations under leave a reply


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