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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Its not often one sees a movie that really seems to understand what its like to be a kid. Too often, children are portrayed as precocious twenty-somethings trapped in the bodies of fifth graders: children whose wisdom and goodness would make Socrates look like Homer Simpson. (For further study see Jerry Maguire and Contact). On the other hand, movies made for the ten and under crowd often take place in a world free from violence and pain, where the worst thing that could happen to a kid is a stolen bike or a serious grounding. Holes makes neither of these mistakes. The kids and teens are just as dumb as I was, and the world they live in, while not being seriously naturalistic, is, at least, properly serious.

    The movie gets going as Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf) is mistakenly accused of stealing a pair of valuable shoes, and is sent to a boy's correctional facility. Except, this juvenile camp feels like Boy's Town if it was run by the guards from The Shawshank Redemption. There Stanley is indoctrinated by the gruff Mr. Sir (John Voight with crazy hair and a brilliant performance).

    The only activity this camp provides for these wayward youth is digging holes. The camp's philosophy on this matter is `You take a bad boy, make him dig holes all day, and it turns him into a good boy.' Whether or not this theory works is doubtful, because Stanley soon experiences many cruelties and humiliations at the hands of his fellow reprobates. Don't let the cutesy nicknames fool you (X-Ray, Zig Zag, Armpit, Zero), these kids are just like your friends in the sixth grade, or to quote Rushmore, `With friends like you who needs friends?' Not that the other campers are as bad as all that, nor does the movie focus on the cruelties of youth. The kids come around, but never completely, and the movie (like Stanley himself) doesn't worry about them too much. Both of them have bigger things on their mind.

    The story of Holes switches back and forth between the present and the past. Like the palindromic name Stanley Yelnats it begins at opposite ends chronologically and works toward the center. Where the end of the past story and the beginning of the present story are explained. The transitions are gentle enough that the viewer does not feel jerked around too much. Even though the transitions are entirely organic, I can excuse the random transitions because, like I said earlier. The filmmakers actually have something on their mind. They really do have a story to tell. Furthermore, Louis Sachar, the writer of the book and the screenplay seems to have gotten the tone just right for a movie for kids - just enough silliness and just enough bitterness. Stanley's father job is unreal (he is seeking to find the cure for foot odor), but Stanley's emotions are very real. As someone in the movie says (see the movie to find out why), `Peaches and Onions! That's the secret.' Holes isn't the most brilliant movie of the year, but it is funny without being offensive, and sweet without being maudlin. Most of all, it goes further in capturing what it is like to be young without portraying it as too horrible or too saccharine. The bitter and the sweet together is the secret of Holes' success.
  • Holes is a fable about the past and the way it affects the present lives of at least three people. One of them I will name, the other two are mysteries and will remain so. Holes is a story about Stanley Yelnats IV. He is unlucky in life. Unlucky in fact characterizes the fates of most of the Yelnats men and has been since exploits of Stanley IV's `no good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.' Those particular exploits cursed the family's men to many an ill-fated turn. It is during just such a turn that we meet Stanley IV. He has been accused, falsely, of stealing a pair of baseball shoes, freshly donated to a homeless shelter auction, by a famous baseball player. He is given the option of jail, or he can go to a character building camp. `I've never been to camp before,' says Stanley. With that the Judge enthusiastically sends him off to Camp Green Lake.

    Camp Green Lake is an odd place, with an odd philosophy, `If you take a bad boy, make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy.' We learn this little pearl of wisdom from Mr. Sir (John Voight) one of the camp's `counselors.' We get the impression right away that he is a dangerous man. He at least wears his attitude honestly; he doesn't think he is nice. The camp's guidance councilor, Mr. Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson) is a different matter entirely. He acts the part of the caring sensitive counselor, but he quick, quicker than anyone else in authority to unleash the most cruel verbal barbs at his charges. The Warden has a decided capacity for meanness, but other than that she is a mystery. These three rule Camp Green Lake, a place that has no lake. It is just a dry dusty desert filled with holes, five feet deep and five feet wide. Its local fauna, seem only to be the vultures, and dangerous poisonous yellow-spotted lizards. Green Lake seems is, in many ways, a haunted place.

    Holes works in spite of the strange setting, and the strange story, because it understands people. Specifically because it is honest in the way it deals with the inmates of Camp Green Lake. The movie captures the way boys interact with one another perfectly. It captures the way boys can bully each other, they way they can win admiration, the way they fight with one another, and the way boys ally themselves along the age line. It is this well nuanced core that makes everything else in the film believable. What is also refreshing about this film the good nature of its main character. He does not believe in a family curse, he is not bitter about the infamous exploits of his `no good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.' In fact he loves hearing the story. Stanley IV is not bitter about the past, and determined not let it affect him in the way it has affected his father and grandfather. There is at times a lot of sadness in the film, but not a lot wallowing angsty silliness. And that is refreshing.

    Holes is an intelligent, insightful and witty family movie. It entertains, and not in any cheap way. It is not a comedy, though it has its laughs. It dares to be compelling, where many family movies tend to play it safe and conventional. As such it transcends the family movie genera and simply becomes a good film that everyone can enjoy. I give it a 10.
  • I couldn't keep from commenting after reading the very short "Not bad" commentary. This movie is much better than just not bad. The acting is stellar, even from the children in the cast, who don't play cute or anything else but act just like my son's friends. The movie is smart and expects it's audience to be as well. The double back flash story lines are imaginative and contribute to the story rather than act as time filler. I watched this movie with my kids and then I watched it again by myself a few days later. If you have kids and are sick to death of movies that inspire a diabetic coma with their syrupy sweetness, then check out "Holes." My 6-year-old enjoyed it as much as my 11-year-old, and my husband and I enjoyed it as much as the two of them. How many movies can you say that about?
  • HOLES is not your average Disney stuff- it's very, very fun, even for adults who usually cringe at the cutesy, focus-group designed "family entertainment" that Uncle Walt's studio passes off as live-action. Perhaps the secret of this film's success is in its faithfulness to the original book, which is a little bit darker than your average kid stuff. The action begins when Stanley Yelnats is sent to a boys' prison camp, where all the inmates are forced to dig holes under the desert sun as a form of rehibilitation. But as the story progresses, Stanley's tale becomes interwoven with that of a legendary treasure, and this adventure becomes ten times more fun than any Disney movie about an all-boy prison camp has any right to be. Jon Voight is especially nasty and colorful, and Sigourney Weaver is beautiful, as always.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Typically, "kids" films have some annoying quality to it that makes it way too sappy and unbearable for someone over 13. But then again, that's before Holes hit the scene. Sure, it has the very same moments that often times give a kids movie its aforementioned quality, but this film does a good job of staying away from such conventions. The acting was decent, and the uneasy dynamics that Stanley had with some of the other campers was more realistic than what most movies seek to portray. What I especially liked about this movie was the fact that this film didn't try to break your heart or make you cry. The emotional power was a little more natural than most would imagine, kind of like The Shawshank Redemption in many ways (which Holes also has a similar, redemptive ending to it). The only down side? The hokey looking lizards. Overall, however, an 8/10.
  • And I'm serious! Truly one of the most fantastic films I have ever had the pleasure of watching. What's so wonderful is that very rarely does a good book turn into a movie that is not only good, but if possible better than the novel it was based on. Perhaps in the case of Lord of the Rings and Trainspotting, but it is a rare occurrence indeed. But I think that the fact that Louis Sachar was involved from the beginning helped masses, so that the film sticks close to the story but takes it even further. This film has many elements that make it what it is:

    1. A unique, original story with a good mix of fun and humour, but a mature edge. 2. Brilliant actors. Adults and kids alike, these actors know how to bring the story to life and deliver their lines with enthusiasm and style without going overboard, as sometimes happen with kids movies. 3. Breathtaking scenery. And it doesn't matter if it's real or CGI, the setting in itself is a masterpiece. I especially love the image of the holes from a birds eye view. 4. A talented director who breathes life into the book and turns it into technicolour genius. The transitions in time work well and capture the steady climax from the book, leading up to the twists throughout the film. 5. Louis Sachar! The guy who had me reading a book nonstop from start to finish so that I couldn't put it down. He makes sure that the script sticks to the book, with new bits added in to make it even better. 6. And speaking of the script! The one-liners in this are smart, funny and unpatronising. But there are also parts to make you smile, make you cry, and tug at your heartstrings to make you love this story all the more. 7. Beautiful soundtrack. There's not a song in this film that I haven't fallen for, and that's something considering I'm supposed to be a punk-rocker. The songs link to the story well and add extra jazz to the overall style of the film. If you're going to buy the film, I recommend you buy the soundtrack too, especially for "If Only", which centres around the story and contains the chorus from the book.

    I do not work for the people who made Holes, by the way, I'm just a fan, plugging my favourite film and giving it the review it deserves. If you haven't seen it, do it. Now. This very instant. Go!
  • jlay20210 September 2008
    This is one of my favorite films of all time. I read the book and liked it, but this movie expands on everything the book made famous. The acting is fantastic, especially from Jon Voight, who plays Mr. Sir, a very evil character. This film has a certain way of storytelling that keeps you hooked throughout, until the end where everything is pulled together for a great ending. I also love the way this is directed, by flashing back and forth between the modern day and Stanley's ancestors' stories. The story was written by Louis Sachar, yes, but it seems that this story is made for film, and Andrew Davis does a great job directing it. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys good movies.
  • zetes29 December 2003
    Holes, the novel, was forced on me in an education course. I didn't think I would like a children's novel; plus, the other couple of books I was forced to read for the class were really bad. But, to my surprise, I absolutely loved Holes. It really is one of the most perfectly written novels I've ever read. I think it has the rare quality that makes it appeal to pre-teens, teenagers, and adults. Everyone who reads it, I think, will walk away a better person. While I can't quite say that for the film, I am happy to say that they got it mostly right. I don't think viewers of the film will walk away as enriched, but they will certainly be entertained, without the side effect of being stupider when they sat down. It is an intelligent story, and it's very well told. I think it moves a tad too quickly. The novel takes more time in developing the characters. And the flashbacks come in and out so quickly that they don't have too much time to register. The interracial romance in the past feels more cliché and trite than it does in the novel. And the ending, which ties together all the loose threads, seems very ridiculous. It's exactly the same in the novel, but there's a sense of the absurd that doesn't quite exist in the film. It works a lot better. I also don't like the multitude of pop songs. I wish Disney didn't feel it such a necessity to sell soundtracks. The cast is across-the-board excellent, from the young kids to the old pros. Jon Voight is especially great. Not quite sure why we need Catwoman and the Fonze, though. 9/10.
  • BrotherNumpsie12 February 2007
    10/10
    wow!
    I recorded this ages ago but only got round to watching it today. I have been ill so had run out of stuff to watch! I am so glad I saw it, and which I could erase my memory and watch i again for the first time. This movie is so wonderful! It reminded me very much of Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe.

    The story goes back in time and at the end of the movie we see what the connections are. Some people have said this is a kids movie. I disagree - it may be made by Disney and many characters are children, but I am 23 and I LOVED it! There were moments when my spine tingled. The story is unlike any other film these days, full of adventure. I have just ordered the book from amazon, can't wait!
  • K-Slicer5 November 2003
    Warning: Spoilers
    In the area of movies based off of screenplays from some other area (or whatever the title for that Oscar is), "Holes" has credibility. I think it is better to have the author create the screenplay because the author is the creator of the material. If the author can't write a screenplay to save their life, then have the author and someone fluently talented in the area of screenwriting create it. Aside from that, this review is about "Holes".

    The reasons start here and a spoiler maybe found within. (1) Louis Sachar is an excellent author and it turns that he can write a screenplay. I watched the movie and then read the book and both didn't reek incoherence or stupidity. Some people just have natural talents that can transcend mediums. (2) The best performance award goes to Shia LaBeouf for his portrayal as the main character. He "dug" himself into the role. I wanted to see his character vindicated before the conclusion. (3) To ratchet up the suspense a bit, Andrew Davis was brought in. This is the man that made Harrison Ford run hard and run fast. He also can make Steven Seagal smash some heads. As for this film, he made Shia and the rest of the boys dig some holes. In other words, he can make an "action-packed" movie and make it well even if "action" isn't the main genre isn't "action". (4) My second favorite performance goes to Jon Voight as Mr. Sir. Sometimes a goofy role brings out the best in a performer. When Voight uttered the line "Once upon a time...", I must have laughed for half a minute because it was so funny. He is capable of comedy and he should investigate a few more roles that let him to exercise that talent. (5) Tim Blake Nelson is very solid whenever he is given a solid script. This is probably the second best role I have seen him in (second only to 'O Brother Where Art Thou?'). (6) I love the choice of settings for the movie. I didn't know California was that dry or that barren. I guess population and land area figures both can be misleading. (7) The overall look of the movie made me want another bottle of water. One could only imagine digging a hole in that barren area for half a day. (8) The rest of the cast should deserve a box of Kudos bars as well. Sigourney Weaver, Henry Winkler, Khleo Thomas, Jake M. Smith and the rest of the bill were tapped because of their talents and it gelled very well. Great cast even though it was anywhere near ensemble. (9) I like a movie that doesn't explain anything right away. When Stanley got clocked in the head with those baseball cleats, it made me want to see how weird the events could get and that is a key ingredient in making a good movie. (10) Disney Pictures (not Touchstone, DISNEY!!) needs to make a few more of these mature juvenile films. It was palatable for me and I am a college student. The last mature juvenile Disney film I saw was "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "Holes" possibly exceeds it (like the election in 2000, it's still to close to call). Disney can make greatness if they decide to expand on this genre and keeps artistry in mind over milking a cash cow when they see it. Ten reasons give a score of ten!

    All in all, "Holes" is one of my favorite Disney films and probably one of the best this year (granted this movie may not be Oscar material but whoever said Oscar material is the best material?). In terms of being a movie from a book I have read, this ranks behind "Fight Club" on my list (which is on top). For being a film I saw in 2003, this is in the top five (somewhere behind "Mystic River"). Compared against "Harry Potter", Stanley Yelnats easily takes a shovel to Harry's head and brings the final death blow with a smelly sneaker to Potter's nose. Everybody should see this movie because it both informs and entertains. Here ends my rant!
  • seriously i loved this film..i had started to read the book and i loved it...the way everything was set up and everything had a purpose...i think this film did so well was because Louis Sachar wrote the screenplay..and of course Andrew Davis directed it...Shia Lebouf gives a great performance for his first film...the storyline is very cool and interesting...there's humor, heart and intensity...it is very similar to the book..i find this film to be not the least bit boring...i absolutely loved it...and i encourage anyone to read the book..all in all this film is very well put together and carefully crafted...two thumbs up for me in every single way
  • Ostensibly a film for adolescents, Holes is a film with too much plot and, at two hours long, not enough time to tell it in. Despite that, it is refreshingly original and offers some satisfying performances from both younger and older members of the cast.

    Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf) is wrongly convicted of stealing a pair of trainers and sentenced to eighteen months at Camp Green Lake, a boy's detention centre deep in the desert where he and the other inmates spend each day digging 5ft deep by 5ft wide holes beneath the scorching sun. The camp's warden (Sigourney Weaver) aided by her henchmen Mr. Sir (Jon Voight) and Dr. Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson) claim such treatment is character building but, of course, have an ulterior motive.

    Saddled with a sometimes intrusive and usually inappropriate soundtrack, Holes looks like a music video at times and, because of the wealth of information it has to fit into its running time, contains a convoluted structure featuring repeated flashbacks and, sometimes, even flashbacks within flashbacks. All this suggests a requirement for the viewer to be familiar with screenwriter Louis Sachar's novel on which it is based, but this isn't necessarily the case. The film's story can be followed by anyone who hasn't read the book, but there's a depth of characterisation that is sorely missing from the film that anyone who knows the novel would presumably be able to draw on to fill in the gaps.

    Most of the real personalities belong to the adult characters. The triumvirate of Weaver, Voight and Nelson stray dangerously close to parody at times but manage somehow to avoid the obvious pitfalls and entertain while giving us reasonably hissable villains. Our young heroes, Stanley and Zero (Khleo Thomas), work well together and writer Sachar builds a largely adversarial relationship between the inmates that would be as recognisable on the school playground as it is in a detention camp.

    Perhaps the story's main failing is the impression it gives of just being too clever. Every story has to tie up its loose ends, but the more strands the story has – and this one has many – the more contrived the ending appears when they are finally all neatly pulled together. But at least it's different from much of the media offered to teenagers today in that it offers a thoughtful and intelligent story, and it is obvious that both Sachar and director Andrew Davis have put a lot of care and attention to detail into the telling of this tale.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Above average flick I really didn't think this would be my type of movie but it was a LOT better then i expected it to be it was well written and well made and i liked all of the characters as well. the reason why i didn't expect to like this film was these are not really my kind of movies but i was pleasantly surprised i actually liked this flick quite a bit and got into it quite a bit mainly due to the likable characters and the interesting story plus having Jon Voight and Sigourney Weaver in this really helped a lot too. The Acting is GREAT Sigourney Weaver is fine here and adds a lot of class to this flick she did great. Jon Voight does great here and as always adds class to any movie he is in. Shia Labeouf does very well here and is pretty likable i liked him lots. Khleo Thomas is very cool and also does well. Overall an above average flick that is well worth seeing *** out of 5
  • A very unexpected Disney gem about friendship. This is basically about a group of kids digging holes. Sounds boring right? well luckily we get a western side story to keep the movie rolling. It may start off slow but in the end you can't help but feel like you have spent your time very nicely.

    This is the first movie i saw with Shia Labeouf in it and i must say that he is turning into a excellent actor. He was great in this movie along with Khleo Thomas. Rounding off the great performances was Sigourney Weaver and Patricia Arquette.

    I recommend it. It was a pleasure to watch but it did get boring at times but comes out good in the end.

    7/10
  • After hearing rave reviews of this movie off my sister (avid Disney fan) I was skeptical about watching it until a friend studied it for school. Unlike anything seen recently, I noticed that it stands away from traditional feel good movies, which in a way always become quite predictable towards the end. I cried - I'm a sook when it comes to overwhelmingly happy moments, (as Stanley carried Zero up the mountain) and also at the sad moments, as Sam is shot unfairly. Recommended for anyone who has an open mind about fate, and it can be spoiled by any 'non-believers' of Disney movies - best to watch it with children. Poor Stanly Yelnats - what a name.
  • movieguy102120 June 2003
    Holes is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It appears to be a simple Disney kids film, but turns into so much more. Of course, that's where it's dragged down: when it tries to be a Disney film. At times it has quality of older films that are PG because there's not much offensive material in it, but at times it seems like a film fit for a Disney audience. When I went into Holes, I expected the script to be mutilated from the book, even though it's written by the author Louis Sachar. However, it's similar to the book, except with both a few welcome differences and a few unwelcome ones.

    At times, Holes has some very believable, palpable drama. You could feel along with the characters, no matter how undeveloped they were. However, Disney couldn't make a movie that was very good for the ENTIRE movie. Nope, they had to through in some scatological humor, much revolving around a character with the nickname of `Armpit'. Also, the film relied too much on flashback for most of the movie. It had uneven cuts, with much of the time in the middle of the movie revolving around the flashback, with not enough time at the present time. Although Holes wouldn't have worked without flashback, there was just too much of it (and it did a Fight Club: a flashback in a flashback).

    The plot revolves around Stanley Yelnats IV (Shia LaBeouf). Every man in his family is named Stanley because it is Yelnats backwards. For some reason, this didn't work in the movie. He's accused for stealing shoes donated to an orphanage by baseball star Clyde Livingston (Rick Fox), while they just hit him on the head. Stanley thinks they fell from the sky. When he goes to court, Stanley chooses between prison or Camp Green Lake. Because his family is poor (his father is working on an invention to cure the smell of shoes), and he's never been to camp before, he chooses Camp Green Lake. Instead of an actual camp, however, they have to dig a five by five hole every day to `build character'. But is there some ulterior motive?

    Holes is a very enjoyable movie, with part drama, part comedy (however crude and PG it may be), part thriller, part action. I liked to go along with Stanley, and the other denizens at the camp. However, there are a few fatal mistakes. First off, Sachar took out the most important part of Stanley's character development. In the book, Stanley was an overweight and teased kid, which helps with his change throughout the book. However, here he's a scrawny kid, and it doesn't help out his character. Also, at the end, Sachar tries to wrap everything up in a nice little package and express ship it to our hearts, while in the book `you have to fill in the holes yourself.' It wasn't that hard to do in the book, so why would movie audiences have a tough time?

    The acting was good from the adult players, who include Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson, Henry Winkler, Siobhan Fallon, Patricia Arquette, and Eartha Kitt, who plays wacky fortuneteller Madame Zeroni. I really like Nelson, and he reminded me of his role in O Brother, Where Art Thou, although I haven't seen that movie for a long time. Weaver seemed obligated to do this film, while Winkler needed the role. All of them were good. I recognized Fallon as Beatrice from Men in Black, she has a distinctive voice. Overall, I would say Holes is a good movie, but you will like it more if you haven't read the book.

    My rating: 6/10

    Rated PG for violence, mild language and some thematic elements.
  • A Disney movie that dares to do something different should at least be awarded for effort. "Holes" doesn't make the same mistakes as one would expect from a Disney movie about troubled teenagers put in a camp. For the first time events are not explained in details. The flashback scenes really do serve a purpose and present several mature topics that may surprise the viewer. I must admit that at first I was a bit put off by the seriousness of the movie. But soon I realized that we had to endure those moments to see the beauty of the story. Besides the story this movie also does a good job of questioning some methods that are used in correctional facilities. (One example where Caveman is forbidden to teach Zero to read because they have to dig holes in order to build character,like learning to read won't contribute to that). "Holes" is a movie that is smart and beautiful. A must watch!
  • Holes (2003, Dir Andrew Davis)

    When Stanley Yelnats IV is wrongfully convicted of stealing, he is sent to 'Camp Green Lake'. At this camp, the Warden, and her two henchman, Mr. Sir and Dr. Pendanski command the campmates to dig holes after hole after hole. But for what reason? Stanley plans to find out.

    I never really had any intention in watching 'Holes', and i must admit, i only really watched the film, because i'm such a fan of Shia LaBeouf, but even if you are not a fan of him, then it doesn't matter. 'Holes' is one of those Disney film that the whole family can enjoy. The story is lovely written and incorporates a wonderful idea of including flashbacks to the past. These are not distracting and really gives a great back story. All the cast are great. The young stars act well and the addition of Jon Voight and Sigourney Weaver are a joy. Shia LaBeouf shows that even at 17, he can act without any flaws. This is one Disney film, you definitely would enjoy as a family.

    "I learn from failure." - Stanley Yelnats III (Henry Winkler)
  • edge11320 October 2007
    This film is an entertaining, fun and quality film. The film very cleverly follows the guidelines if the book, and tries to stick to the exact lines. The actors are all suitable, and you would expect them to be the part. They use some famous actors which give a great effect on the film. The graphics is a bit dodgy in some parts, and there are quite a few mistakes throughout the film. There is no such thing as a Yellow Spotted Lizard, for example. The camp is not as gruesome as explained in the book, and they tend not to show the goings on in the camp as much as the book. All of his group are mentioned a lot in the book, but are not in the film. Overall, a great film for a rainy afternoon
  • More than just a "kids' movie", "Holes" looks at how past incidents still affect us today, whether we know about them or not. When teenager Stanley Yelnats III (Shia LeBoeuf) gets sent to a prison camp where he is forced to dig all day long, he discovers a number of things about the camp, and his personal connection to it. Through flashbacks, we learn that a number of things are closer than we realize (you'll understand this better when you see the movie). LeBoeuf does a pretty good job, as do the other cast members: Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson, Henry Winkler, Patricia Arquette, and Eartha Kitt. A very interesting movie.
  • Once again, I immediately went to the 9 users in the "Hated It" category, just to read their fascinating insights as to why this great movie actually sucked and why the other 6 million of us are just too stupid to attain their august heights. I noticed that one loser, jpd 9 admits that he had a premature ejaculation at 20 minutes into the movie (of the cassette, that is) but that's okay, because he magically surmised the entirety of the film in those first 20 minutes. LONG before the warden made her appearance, LONG before Jon Voights absolutely hilarious almost over-the-top performance and especially his great "story" that he tells the boys about the magical kingdom where it never rained. He goes on to say that he can't tell us much about the movie cause he didn't watch it. Well. Thanks for the heads up on that one, chatty cathy. Maybe next time you could just keep your stupid mouth shut. And FYI, those "aging stars"? What, you think they're STUPID? They've survived IN STYLE in one of the most cutthroat industries in the world. So I'm guessing they know what they're doing when they choose a story line. JPD9 should have called himself ADD10, (for Attention Deficit Disorder, for the whose-at-home) but hey, it's a free country. He can call himself whatever he likes.
  • queenpixiex21 April 2006
    I love Holes it's like the best movie I have ever seen and there are some hot guys on there ;) (go KHLEO!). I think its really great how the scene is set up. It's just the best! Khleo and Shia are great actors and have a great personality in and out of the movie (I watched the out of scene stuff on DVD). I love magnet/Miguel's voice! I fell in love with this movie the first time I watched and have watched it heaps more ever since the first time. You guys rock! I think that twitch did a really good job at acting it must have been kind of hard playing that character. I've always wanted to be an actor but never known how to start. The mountain looked so real. Was it a real mountain? It must have been scary in that environment and really hot.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This Disney movie is much better than the title would indicate. I would have never watched a movie called "Holes" if I hadn't read some fairly glowing reviews. Weaver and Voight are fine as the almost over-the-top staff at the boot camp with no fences. Out in the desert, with the nearest water 100 miles away, there was little incentive for any of the boys to run away. So daily, they picked a shovel, dug, and went about their daily chore of digging a 5-foot diameter hole, 5 feet deep. The movie alternates between modern day and former times, to show ancestors of them main characters. As we watch we see there are connections which influence the outcome of the story. DVD from my public library.

    SPOILERS follow, for my recollection, please read no further.

    We follow Stanley Yelnats IV into the detention camp, accused of stealing expensive sports shoes, which he actually found on the street, but was sent anyway. He took his punishment in stride, tried to get along with the others, befriended a small boy who only spoke to him. We learn much later it was this boy who had actually stolen the shoes, threw them over a bridge when chased. We also find out via the flashbacks why the warden (Weaver) was having the holes dug. The dry bed had been a lake and an ancestor had reportedly buried treasure there, she was hoping to find it. A "spell" had been placed on the Yelnats family when great grandfather neglected to go back for the old lady and carry her up to the oasis mountain, and it never rained again. When the two boys were out in the dry lakebed, the younger was injured, and being the old woman was his ancestor, when he was carried to the oasis the spell was broken and it began to rain. They eventually went back to the correct hole, dug and found a chest with his name, 'Stanley Yelnats', carved into it. He was the 4th Stanley, his great grandfather had buried the treasure.
  • "Holes" is a wicked family film that is a bit strange in a "Willy Wonka" sense. But it isn't nearly as funny nor engaging. The cast is talented - young Shia LeBeouf continues to show talent - but it is lacking humor, a vital ingrediant in a movie like this.

    The film chronicles the story of Stanley Yelnats IV, who is wrongly convicted of stealing a superstar's running shoes and sent away to grizzly Camp Green Lake, a camp devoid of any bodies of water, or even rain for that matter. Years ago the lake dried up and since then a juvenile delinquent society has been set up by a nasty old woman (Sigourney Weaver), who runs her camp with an iron fist. Her employer, Mr. Sir (Jon Voight), has just quit smoking and is constantly edgy. "I liked you when you used to smoke," she says.

    Their racket is to get their delinquets to dig holes all day out in the area where the lake used to exist. We know they're looking for something, and we guess what it is long before the movie wants us to. It supplies corny flashbacks about a schoolteacher (Patricia Arquette) who fell in love with a black man, and we expect the story to pay more relevancy to the plot than it does.

    Stanley digs each day in the grueling heat, along with a clan of other rough kids (who all have catchy nicknames, such as "Armpit"). Stanley is, of course, a nice guy, and so he doesn't quite fit in at first. One day Stanley even gets blamed for stealing sunflower seeds. He just has constant bad luck.

    Stanley's father (Henry "The Fonz" Winkler) blames this all on an ancient curse put upon Stanley's great-great grandfather. He made a deal with a gypsy (Eartha Kitt) and went back on his word, causing generations of bad-luck losers. Stanley's father, an inventor who works with shoes, can never get his formulas to work correctly. Stanley says he doesn't believe in the curse, but it always helps to be able to blame his misfortune on something.

    The movie is based on the young adults' tale by Louis Sachar, who adapted his 1998 award-winning novel for the screen. The question is whether it should have been adapted at all. Given the story, I think it could have been done quite well, but there's something lacking in this Disney version. It goes for darkness at times but then lightens up and becomes overbearingly sweet. Other times it is nasty (mainly when it features the villains on-screen). Then it is nice. Which is it: Naughty or nice?

    The director is Andrew Davis, who brought us the phenomenal hit "The Fugitive" back in the early nineties, and Arnold's comeback film "Collateral Damage" in 2002, which did quite well at the box office (though not with the crowds). Davis is talented but this film is sorely lacking something that may or may not be his fault.

    Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Patricia Arquette get top billing, but this should really go to Shia LeBeouf, who I spotted on the Disney Channel's television show "Even Stevens" some three years ago and instantly noticed comedic talent. I even told a few people about how good he was on that TV show, and what do you know, now his big break has finally come. When he is given the right material he can be really funny. In ten years he may be the next Jim Carrey. I certainly hope so. He's a funny guy, he can embody his characters much more so than a lot of other teen actors out there. He's going to give a lot of modern comedians a run for their money.

    But great performances cannot always save a movie. "Holes" dragged on for what seemed hours; quite simply, it bored me. I came close to recommending it, but reflecting on the film just now, I have realized I really don't remember any significant scenes, and if a movie can't last in your memory more than an hour, that's not a good thing.

    Many people will like "Holes," I think, especially those who like wacky fantasies. But for me, there was something missing. Maybe I was expecting too much. I heard it had a splendid dark comedy side but I did not laugh a single time during the entire film, and let me tell you, I tried. The most I could do was crack a grin at one scene. But maybe this film isn't trying to be a comedy. What can I say, I expected something smart and witty such as "The Princess Bride" that works with both kids and adults. I expected wrong.

    2.5/5 stars - mediocre -

    John Ulmer
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Loved the movie. Loved the two families crossing paths in history. Only question is if Sam gets killed then how does his family's line continue? He is Madame Zeroni's son and Zero is supposed to be related but no mention of any other children? Hmmmmmmmmm. Never mentioned any other children or wife prior to his speaking with and falling in love with the teacher? Maybe she had a child prior to becoming the kissing Kate Bandit? Even with the mistakes in the movie. Just loved it. The acting was great. Not sure where the story was with Mr. Sir being Marion a women at the end but makes his character even funnier. The other "counseler" did seem concerned for the kids but of course maybe not so much. Poor Warden must have had a really stinky childhood to be so mean when she grew up.
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