Holes (film)

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Holes
Holesposter03.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndrew Davis
Produced byAndrew Davis
Lowell D. Blak
Teresa Tucker-Davies
Screenplay byLouis Sachar
Based onHoles 
by Louis Sachar
StarringShia LaBeouf
Sigourney Weaver
Jon Voight
Patricia Arquette
Tim Blake Nelson
Music byJoel McNeely
CinematographyStephen St. John
Editing byThomas J. Nordberg
Jeffrey Wolf
StudioWalt Disney Pictures
Walden Media
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • April 18, 2003 (2003-04-18)
Running time117 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$20 million
Box office$71,406,573[1]
 
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Holes
Holesposter03.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndrew Davis
Produced byAndrew Davis
Lowell D. Blak
Teresa Tucker-Davies
Screenplay byLouis Sachar
Based onHoles 
by Louis Sachar
StarringShia LaBeouf
Sigourney Weaver
Jon Voight
Patricia Arquette
Tim Blake Nelson
Music byJoel McNeely
CinematographyStephen St. John
Editing byThomas J. Nordberg
Jeffrey Wolf
StudioWalt Disney Pictures
Walden Media
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • April 18, 2003 (2003-04-18)
Running time117 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$20 million
Box office$71,406,573[1]

Holes is a 2003 American comedy-drama adventure film based on the 1998 novel of the same title by Louis Sachar (who also wrote the screenplay), with Shia LaBeouf as the lead role of Stanley Yelnats IV and also starring Khleo Thomas, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson, Eartha Kitt, Patricia Arquette, Dulé Hill, Rick Fox, and Henry Winkler. The film was produced by Walden Media and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

Holes was Scott Plank's final film; he died October 24, 2002.

Plot[edit]

Stanley Yelnats IV is a descendant of an unfortunate family that has been cursed for 100 years due to their ancestor Elya Yelnats, who didn't keep a promise to a fortuneteller, Madame Zeroni. One day, Stanley is falsely arrested by two police officers for stealing a pair of sneakers that a famous baseball player named Clyde "Sweetfeet" Livingston had donated to a children's orphanage. At the courthouse, Stanley chooses to attend Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp, for eighteen months instead of being imprisoned for his crime which the judge agrees to. He arrives to find that the "camp" is a dried-up lake run by "Warden" Louise Walker, her assistant Mr. Sir, and camp counselor Dr. Pendanski. Each day, the detainees must dig a five-foot round hole in the desert to "build character", despite the dangers of scorpions, rattlesnakes, and deadly yellow-spotted lizards. The inmates are known by their nicknames, and include Zero, Armpit, Zigzag, Squid, X-Ray, and Magnet. Stanley is slowly accepted into the group, especially after allowing X-Ray to take credit for his discovery of a gold tube (believed to be a lipstick tube), with the initials "KB" believed to mean "Kate Barlow", and is given the nickname of "Caveman" because of his ability to find old objects. He soon befriends Hector "Zero" Zeroni and teaches him to read, and in return, Hector helps Stanley in digging up his holes.

In a flashback story, it is revealed that the location of Camp Green Lake was once a thriving town, and had the largest lake in Texas, a century earlier. Miss Katherine Barlow, a local school teacher, rejects rich landowner Trout Walker in favor of local onion vendor Sam, a black man. When Sam kisses Katherine, the townspeople burn the school because he is black and she is white. Sam attempts to escape on his boat, but he is shot dead by Trout. Angry and heart-broken, Katherine shoots the local sheriff dead for allowing Sam's killing, and kisses his face, thereby beginning her career as an outlaw named "Kissin' Kate" who infamously kisses every man she kills. Sam's death also causes a curse to fall upon the town area, drying the lake and causing rains to stop, leading to the town desertification and the ruin of the Walker family.

When the Warden learns about Stanley and Hector's intentions, she forbids anyone from digging holes for anyone else, and forbids Stanley from teaching Hector to read. After Pendanski insults Hector, Hector retaliates by hitting Pendanski in the face with his shovel and runs away. Feeling that nobody knows or cares about Hector, the Warden orders his file erased from the computer. Stanley (after crashing Mr. Sir's truck in a hole) sets out to find Hector and eventually found him taking shelter under the remains of Sam's boat, the 'Mary Lou'. Out of desperation, Stanley and Hector spot a rock formation called "God's Thumb" in the distance, and walk towards it, remembering that his great-grandfather, Stanley Yelnats I, had survived the desert by seeking refuge on the mountain after Kate Barlow robbed him. Hector faints from lack of water leaving Stanley having to carry him up the mountain where they find Sam's field of onions and water, helping them regain strength for several days. Unknowingly, when Stanley carries Hector to the top of the mountain and sings to him and lets him drink from the stream that runs uphill he 'breaks' the family curse because Hector is a descendant of Madame Zeroni, fulfilling the promise made by Elya Yelnats long ago. Meanwhile, with their family's luck restored, Stanley's father who is an inventor accidentally discovers how to eliminate shoe odor.

Moments later, after Hector has woken up, he reveals he is the reason why Stanley was sent to Camp Green Lake. Since he was a lost child, he had been at a homeless shelter and walked off with the donated shoes, not knowing they were famous. After being pursued by the police, he took off the shoes and tossed them over the bridge where they fall on Stanley's head, implicating him. Hector then explains that he was arrested the next day after stealing shoes from a Payless store. Stanley then believes the fact that they met is destiny.

In another flashback, an older Kate Barlow is at the remains of Sam's boat in the middle of the now dried-up lake found by Trout Walker, now poor, and his wife, Linda, a former student of Kate's. They demand Kate at gunpoint to hand over the Yelnats treasure, but she tells them that "you, your children, and your children's children will dig for a hundred years, and you will never find it." Kate commits suicide by allowing a yellow-spotted lizard to bite her on her wrist and dies while laughing; Her last words are "Start diggin', Trout." An angered Trout and his descendants then start to dig up the lake.

Stanley and Hector finally decide to go back to Camp Green Lake to investigate the hole where Stanley had found Kate Barlow's tube of lipstick and dug up a rusty old chest. The Warden, Mr. Sir and Pendanski discover them and attempt to take the chest away from Stanley and Hector until they notice yellow-spotted lizards climbing all over the boys. However the lizards don't attack the boys due to the consumption of the onions, which repels them. This buys enough time for the Texas Attorney General and Stanley's lawyer Carla Morengo to arrive and secure Stanley's release. During the wait, Louise reveals herself to be Trout Walker's granddaughter. He made her spend her childhood digging holes before he died, and she started the camp for troubled boys to continue the search for Kissin' Kate's buried loot.

When Ms. Morengo berates the Warden for the delaying, the Warden asserts that the boys stole the chest from her office. Angered, Stanley comes out of the hole, with the lizards leaving him, and calls the Warden a liar. Hector reveals the fact that Stanley's name, "Stanley Yelnats", is written on the chest, a fact that shocks the Warden. With this evidence, Ms. Morengo allows Stanley to take the chest home with him, despite the Warden's objections. Stanley also convinces her to investigate Hector's file to secure Hector's release. However, the Warden is forced to confess that she lost it, which incites the disgusted Attorney General into starting a federal investigation of Camp Green Lake. One of the Texas Rangers recognizes Mr. Sir as an ex-criminal named Marion Sevillo, whom he busted for carrying a weapon in violation of his parole. When Louise claimed that she had no knowledge of this, Mr. Sir also quotes that she never admitted that Pendanski is not an actual doctor. The Attorney General declares Camp Green Lake under his jurisdiction and has Louise Walker, Mr. Sir, and Pendanski arrested on the charges of misprision of felony and perverting the course of justice, much to the other boys' delight. This allows Hector to leave with Stanley and Ms. Morengo. With Sam's spirit avenged, it finally rains, ending 100 years of drought.

The Yelnats family claims rightful ownership of the chest and gives half of the money to Hector, who in turn uses his share to hire private investigators to find his missing mother. Some months later, a bus carrying Hector's mother arrives. The Yelnats move to a new house and live in financial comfort and Hector's family became the Yelnats' next-door neighbors.

Following the arrest of Louise Walker, Mr. Sir, and Pedanski, Camp Green Lake is shut down and is later converted into a Girl Scouts camp. Stanley assures the girls and the counselors that they won't have to worry about the yellow-spotted lizards as long as they consume lots of good onions to repel the lizards. Stanley's father invents a new odor eliminator "Sploosh" based on peaches and onions, shown by Clyde and his wife on TV interview, with the Yelnats and the Zeroni watching them, finding success at last.

In the post-credits, Hector appears re-enacting the "You and your family will be cursed" quote from Madame Zeroni and the screen cuts to black.

Cast[edit]

Camp Green Lake
The past
Supporting characters

Soundtrack[edit]

Holes
Soundtrack album by Various
ReleasedApril 15, 2003
LabelWalt Disney Records
  1. Dig It - D-Tent Boys
  2. Keep'n It Real - Shaggy
  3. Mighty Fine Blues - Eels
  4. Honey - Moby
  5. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday - Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps
  6. Just Like You - Keb' Mo'
  7. Everybody Pass Me By - Pepe Deluxé
  8. I Will Survive - Stephanie Bentley
  9. Shake 'Em On Down - North Mississippi Allstars
  10. Don't Give Up - Eagle Eye Cherry
  11. Happy Dayz - Devin Thompson
  12. Let's Make A Better World - Dr. John
  13. If Only - Fiction Plane
  14. Eyes Down - Eels
  15. Down To The Valley - Little Axe

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

Holes grossed US$16,300,155 in its opening weekend, making #2 at the box office, behind Anger Management's second weekend.[2]

The film would move on to gross a domestic total of $67,406,173 and an additional $4 million in international revenue, totaling $71,406,573 at the box office against a $20 million budget, making the film a moderate financial success.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews; it currently holds a 77% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus: "Faithful to its literary source, this is imaginative, intelligent family entertainment."[3] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film has a 71/100 rating, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4]

Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote "Davis has always been a director with a strong visual sense, and the look of "Holes" has a noble, dusty loneliness. We feel we are actually in a limitless desert. The cinematographer, Stephen St. John, thinks big, and frames his shots for an epic feel that adds weight to the story. I walked in expecting a movie for thirteensomethings, and walked out feeling challenged and satisfied. Curious, how much more grown up and sophisticated "Holes" is than "Anger Management."[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]