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Film / Zig Zag (2002)

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Zig Zag is a 2002 American drama film written and directed by David S. Goyer, based on a 1999 novel by Landon J. Napoleon.

Louis "ZigZag" Fletcher (Sam Jones III) is a fifteen-year-old autistic boy who works as a dishwasher at a restaurant. His father David (Wesley Snipes) threatens to kick him out of the house if he can't pay rent, so ZigZag steals $9,000 from his boss, Mr. Walters (Oliver Platt), using his talent for remembering numbers to break into the safe. Dean Singer (John Leguizamo), ZigZag's mentor from the Big Brother program, is dying of cancer, and before he goes, he is determined to return the money, even though ZigZag's father has already used it to pay off the loan shark Cadillac Tom (Luke Goss).

Zig Zag contains examples of:

  • 555: Every single stripper who works at the Monkey Cage has this number.
  • Abusive Parents: ZigZag's father violently punches and kicks him and charges him rent even though he's only fifteen.
  • And Starring: Sam Jones III as ZigZag and Wesley Snipes.
  • Angry Collar Grab: Singer does this to an employee at the Monkey Cage for calling ZigZag a retard. Towards the end of the movie, Detective Hawke (Sherman Augustus) does it to Walters because he's sick of his rude behavior.
  • Baffled by Own Biology: ZigZag thinks he's wet the bed, but it's actually his first Nocturnal Emission.
  • Batter Up!: ZigZag's father used to beat him with a baseball bat he called Black Beauty until ZigZag and Singer stole it and tossed it into the river. In the present day, he threatens Singer with a different baseball bat.
  • Because I Said So: This is Singer's explanation for why ZigZag can't have sex until he's eighteen.
  • Beneath Suspicion: Both Walters and Hawke almost immediately write off the autistic dishwasher as a suspect.
  • Blinded by the Light: ZigZag's favorite part of his shift is when the light from outside is so bright that he has to navigate by touch, because that makes it easier for him to go on autopilot and retreat inside his head.
  • Broken-Window Warning: ZigZag moves in with Singer after his dad is jailed for beating up a crack dealer who turned out to be a cop. When his dad gets out on parole, he breaks a window in Singer's apartment before he appears and tries to beat them both up.
  • CamelCase: How ZigZag apparently spells his nickname.
  • Camera Fiend: Singer takes lots of pictures, often of ZigZag.
  • Character Narrator: ZigZag narrates many scenes.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Walters says, "I find the prick who did this, I'm gonna scoop out his eyeballs and stick 'em right up his ass."
  • Dead Foot Leadfoot: Singer and ZigZag are driving a forklift together at Singer's workplace when Singer passes out with his foot on a pedal, causing the forklift to veer out of control.
  • Death by Childbirth: One possible explanation of what happened to ZigZag's mother, although ZigZag doesn't know for sure.
  • Desk Sweep of Rage: Cadillac Tom does this after ZigZag and Singer mess up a stripper's audition.
  • Erotic Dream: ZigZag has his first on Singer's couch after he visits a strip club. At first he thinks he's had a Potty Failure and apologizes to Singer.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: ZigZag's father is baffled when Singer tells him he cares about ZigZag, as he doesn't understand how anyone could love someone like that.
  • Eyes Always Averted: ZigZag doesn't usually look at people when he talks to them, which enrages both his father and Mr. Walters.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: A stripper covers her breasts when ZigZag and Singer walk in on her audition, prompting Cadillac Tom to wonder how she's going to deal with dancing nude in front of 200 men.
  • Handshake Refusal: Hawke extends his hand to ZigZag, who ignores it.
  • Last-Name Basis: ZigZag always addresses Dean Singer as Singer.
  • Mean Boss: Walters is always yelling at and insulting his employees and is fond of using racial slurs.
  • Necktie Leash: The prostitute Jenna (Natasha Lyonne) does this while trying to seduce Walters because she desperately needs $100.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When ZigZag tells Singer that he took Walters' money, Singer originally thinks he's talking about something that happened in his head and doesn't believe him until he sees one of the paychecks ZigZag stole. By that point, Singer has accidentally confused ZigZag so much that it's hard to get any useful information out of him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Mr. Walters suspects ZigZag's "dum-dum" act is 95% fake.
  • Off the Record: Hawke interviews ZigZag off the record because he doesn't have either permission from a parent or verification that he's eighteen. Towards the end, Hawke tells him "strictly off the record" that if he puts his face next to the one-way mirror that Walters uses to spy on his employees, he can look into Walters' office.
  • Only Friend: Singer doesn't have any friends besides ZigZag, as he thinks they're more trouble than they're worth.
  • Pick a Card: ZigZag entertains Singer with card tricks in the hospital.
  • Really 17 Years Old: Walters tells Hawke that ZigZag is eighteen so Hawke can interview him on the record without the permission of a parent, but Hawke says he needs a driver's license.
  • Saturday-Morning Cartoon: While he's staying at Singer's home, ZigZag gets up early so he can watch these.
  • Stargazing Scene: Singer and ZigZag have one where they discuss Singer's impending death from cancer.
  • Sticky Fingers: ZigZag has a problem with shoplifting even before he steals from Walters.
  • The Talk: After Singer realizes that ZigZag is so sexually ignorant he thinks his penis is called his "thing" and is surprised women don't have one, he gives him an awkward, rambling explanation in which he demonstrates the act using a spoon and a bagel.
  • Tap on the Head: ZigZag knocks out Walters with a dictionary. The police think he passed out drunk.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: ZigZag thinks the two kinds are good eggs and fear heads.
  • Thief Bag: ZigZag steals Walters' money using a white sack.
  • Vapor Wear: A woman who's auditioning to work as a stripper at the Monkey Cage puts her shirt on over her bare chest.