Tag Archives: shaun of the dead

What Can Shaun of the Dead Teach Us About Leadership and Growing Up?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

It’s funny how you can watch a movie when you’re young and when you’re older and get a different experience.  When I saw this movie when I was young, I thought it was a funny spoof on zombie flicks.  Now that I’m older, it’s still that, but much more.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is 29, approaching 30 and is seen by everyone, even himself, as a big loser.  He’s a clerk at an electronics store and his teenage employees laugh at him.  His step-father has zero respect for him.  His flat mate thinks his buddy, Ed, (Nick Frost) is dragging him down.

Worse, his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) feels she’s wasting her life dating Shaun.  She yearns for a better life and is tired of going on the same date to Shaun’s favorite dive bar, the Winchester.  When Shaun fails an ultimatum to take her anywhere else by forgetting to make a reservation at a fancy restaurant, she calls it quits.

Like a zombie, Shaun is shuffling through life, allowing life to live him instead of vice versa.  Rather than create a plan and work and through, he takes what he gets and dulls the pain with booze and hanging out with Ed.

Now, here’s where it gets complicated.  I think an argument can be made that Shaun is actually the only respectable one in the entire film.

Sometimes excellence doesn’t come from within but from opportunity.  Without the Civil War, Abe Lincoln might have been a mediocre president.  Though I’m not comparing Shaun to the Great Emancipator, we see Shaun kick ass and take names in the zombie apocalypse.

Here’s the thing. As a society, we’ve become programmed to think that success=perfection.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Success comes from showing up.

Shaun takes charge of a group of survivors comprised of his friends and family.  Everyone follows Shaun but as he makes mistakes, they don’t give him any leeway.  His stepdad repeatedly dumps on him.  Liz’s friend Dave routinely craps on him.

This is a show don’t tell thing.  What I noticed is that at no time do any of the naysayers stand up and take control of the group.  They all want to complain but none of them actually vocalize anything they’d do better.  No one tells Shaun to stand down so they can take charge.  This unfortunately happens a lot in life. People are happy to dump on the decision makers but they don’t want to make decisions themselves.

Call Shaun a loser, but a he always showed up.  He showed up every day to a job he hated.  He kept caring for friend Ed even though everyone told him to cut him loose.  He kept dating Liz even though she complains Shaun is holding her back, as if Shaun is somehow keeping her from going to school, seeking a new job, going on a vacation or doing something to improve her life.

All we can do is show up.  Maybe we’ll be lucky.  Maybe we won’t.  But we only fail when we stop showing up.

We don’t get too see too far into Shaun and Liz’s future, other than at the end of the movie (spoiler alert) they’re happy and Shaun acts like a man who is a bit more sure of himself.  Does he get a better job or always remember to make dinner reservations, I don’t know.  But he shows up.

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Zombies and humor.

BQB here with a review of “Shaun of the Dead.”

It’s ironic that this film is a comedy as it has stood the test of time to become one of the must see flicks of the zompoc genre.  It’s probably lasted as long as it has due to the fact that is pairs great writing with humor and heart and overall, the characters are relatable and you really worry that they might become zombie lunch.

Simon Pegg, in the first role I remember seeing him in, plays Shaun, a 29-year-old loser who wants to turn his life around but can’t figure out how.  He’s stuck in a lousy electronics store job that’s meant for teenagers.  His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is tired of being disappointed by Shaun’s loser-ness.  His flat-mate is fed up that Shaun keeps coddling Ed (Nick Frost) his buddy who came over for a party once several years ago and then just stayed without offering to pay any rent or even lifting a finger to help around the house.  His Mom loves him unconditionally but his step-dad thinks he’s an epic loser.

Enter the zombie apocalypse.  England has become overrun with the undead.  Finally, here is Shaun’s big chance to save the day and prove to Liz that he is responsible, to prove to his parents and the world that he is worth something.  He takes charge, leading Liz, Ed and friends to safety, but, you know, because he’s an average guy of average strength and abilities, he screws up often and in hilarious ways.

That’s kind of the whole point of the film.  Throughout the movie, various people in the party shit on Shaun, telling him he’s a loser and his plans stink and he’s so dumb that he’s going to get everyone killed.  The situation is an allegory for life.  Some people at least get up and try and yes, they fail when they try.  People who never even try will happily point out when someone who tried failed.  That’s why it sucks to be Shaun.  He’s trying, really hard, and no one around him will try and yet they never pull a punch when it comes to telling him what a loser he is.

Also, awesome scene when Shaun goes up against zombies with an old Winchester rifle (and when the gang beats a particular tough zombie with pool cues to the tune of an old song.)

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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