Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding. This is the plot to 2009’s ‘The Hangover delivered by Warner Bros. This movie and its two sequels grossed over a billion dollars.
Tuesday night, October 27th, a woman named “Zola” on black Twitter wrote a dizzying and mind-bending short story in 150 tweets that will take you on the wildest ride you’ve ever been on. It’s ‘The Hangover’ on steroids. It’s Twitter at its finest. Dare I say, if it were not for the tweet box’s rigid demands, Zola’s underworld would’ve never come to life. There’s a challenge in squeezing a message in that tweet box. If it were confined to family Facebook, it would be rated PG. If it were spelled out in Instagram, would a picture really be worth a thousand words?
One of the key elements of a great movie you can usually find in the title: ‘The Hangover’, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, ‘Cecil B. Demented’, ‘The Lost Weekend’, ‘He Who Gets Slapped’, ‘Wings of Desire’, ‘Irreversible’, ‘Double Indemnity’, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’… These movie titles are not only appropriate for Zola’s wild weekend in Florida, but they also tickle the imagination. Most importantly, great movie titles typically have one overriding problem or goal for the hero, giving the story drive, momentum, and a sense of priorities.
Getting the right title for Zola’s wild weekend in the sunshine state is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. We must take into consideration that the only way to do justice to Zola’s story is to make it Rated-R. Also, we can’t look any further than the ‘The Hangover’s success in a title that captures a wild weekend in a specific location. Two things: Zola wasn’t drunk and ‘Zola’s Wild Weekend’ lacks originality. Let’s try and name this descent into the Florida underworld… ‘Fucking Florida’… ‘Girls Interrupted’… ‘The Turnpike’… ‘Tricked’… ‘From Hooters To Hell’… ‘The Trick’… ‘My Wet, Hot, American Weekend’… ‘Girl B. Gaga’… ‘Deuces Up’… ‘The Proposal’… To really capture how much of this story takes place at night, let’s run with ‘Savage Weekend’.
Another key element in a great movie is the hero with a moral problem. GONE BABY GONE: a child goes missing. It turns out that the chief of police (Morgan Freeman) kidnapped the girl, Amanda, to try and give her a “better life”, living with him and his wife. The hero, Kenzie (Casey Affleck) has to decide whether to rat the Chief out and return Amanda to her incompetent mother (Amy Ryan), or let her live with the Chief and his wife.
What is Zola’s dilemma? She has had enough of the danger involving Jessica and is ready to go back home. Jessica breaks down and cries. She confides in her fast friend that she does not want to be left alone. Knowing the dangers of their industry, Zola simply cannot abandon her. Later, when Zola discovers how Jessica is underselling her body, it pains her that a fellow female would have such a lack of self-worth. She empowers her and sets up a small business, charging Johns quadruple the old rate. Most importantly, it is clear that Zola has taken Jess under her wing and has assumed the big sister role.
One of the most important elements of a great film is that the audience believes what each character is fighting for. Jessica is clearly fighting for her life while battling the inner demons of growing up in a house with no strong father figure. Pimps have taken on the identity of the lost father. She also has no sense of self-worth, selling her body for a c-note. She is attracted to terrible, broken men. Her boyfriend is mentally unstable, suicidal, and co-dependent. Her pimp/father figure is a sex trafficker and tosses her around like a Frisbee.
Twitter has already cast Ving Rhames as the hulking “Z”, Jake Gyllenhall as the bi-polar boyfriend “Jarrett”, Margot Robbie as “this here bitch” “Jessica”, and Kerry Washington as the all-seeing “Zola”. If there was a studio that does counterculture stories ripped from the headlines, look no further than the shield — Warner Brothers. If there was the perfect director, look no further than the twisted minds that brought you ‘No Country For Old Men’, ‘Burn After Reading’, and ‘Fargo’ – the Coen Brothers.
‘Savage Weekend’ is not so much a road trip, but if there’s a blueprint in terms of style and substance look no further than ‘Thelma and Louise’. Florida has produced some fun movies over the years, but one film in particular really mirrors the mad eroticism and that’s ‘Wild Things’. And finally to serve Zola’s odyssey right, the genre has to be dark comedy. Who didn’t laugh when Jarrett got slapped by Z or Zola decides to walk over to the motel pool? This is why ‘The Hangover’ serves as the master blueprint for a story about two tricks, a pimp, and a castrated boyfriend in a car headed for a Florida weekend.