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Overall Rating
4.29

Awesome60.71%
Worth A Look: 25%
Average: 3.57%
Pretty Bad: 4.46%
Total Crap: 6.25%

3 reviews, 94 user ratings


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Holes
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by EricDSnider

"We all like holes, don't we? I mean, come on."
4 stars

“Holes” was made by adults who know the best kids’ movies are the ones that don’t talk down to kids. They assume children are smart, which they are, and that they can follow fairly complicated plots, which they can. Kids’ movies, on the whole, should make fewer flatulence jokes and focus more on treating children like real people, the way “Holes” does.

The film was adapted from the Newbery Medal-winning book by its author, Louis Sachar, and directed by grown-up-film maker Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive,” “Under Siege”), whose philosophy is not to let serious themes get in the way of having a good time, and vice versa. “Holes” has a little death, some perilous situations, and some mature themes like racism, but it trusts that kids can handle it.

It is a curious little story about a juvenile detention facility in the Texas desert, 150 miles from the nearest water or civilization. Here is where perpetually unlucky Stanley Yelnats IV (Shia LaBeouf) is sent after being falsely accused of stealing a famous baseball player’s shoes, the latest in a string of unfortunate circumstances he has found himself in.

The duty of Stanley and every other boy at the ironically named Camp Green Lake is to dig holes on the dried-up lakebed, one hole every day, each hole six feet deep and six feet in diameter. This is to build character, according to Mr. Sir (Jon Voight), the redneckish tough-talker who acts as second-in-command to the mostly unseen warden. But we come to suspect an ulterior motive.

The film has a congenial way of putting Stanley in frightening situations but then reassuring us everything is OK. Mr. Sir may talk mean, but he has no interest in hurting the boys. Ditto the boys themselves, all street kids with cool-sounding nicknames who accept Stanley as one of their own after only a little bit of hazing. Even the warden (Sigourney Weaver), the great and powerful Oz behind this work-camp facade, is more misguided than malicious in her evil-doing. The greatest real threat is from the deadly yellow-spotted lizards that inhabit the desert.

The book’s multi-layered narrative translates on film into an amusing jumble of stories all intercut with each other: Stanley at the camp, Stanley in court, the Yelnats ancestor irritating the gypsy, a charming love story involving a one-room-schoolhouse teacher and an onion farmer, and a ruthless outlaw named Kissin’ Kate. All of these threads relate to each other eventually, and part of what I admire about the film is that it gives kids credit for being to keep track of it all.

Also impressive is the adult cast, who act with dignity and charisma rather than hamming it up, as might be the temptation in a kids’ movie. Jon Voight has rarely been more enjoyable to watch, deftly walking the line between character and parody and coming down firmly on the side of character with a hilariously overwrought performance. Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Arquette, Eartha Kitt, Henry Winkler and Tim Blake Nelson also shine in their diverse roles.

The children have an everyday-kid look about them, resembling not so much movie stars (which most of them aren’t) but, well, kids who might be in a juvenile detention facility. They lack the precociousness of many film children and are as dedicated to “keeping it real,” as the kids say, as their adult co-stars are.

The film’s pacing could be improved in the middle section, a fault not found in the fast-paced book, which you could read in less time than it takes to watch the movie. But slogging through a few slow moments is a small price to pay for a film as imaginative and all-out entertaining as this one.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7542&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/04/03 17:12:00
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User Comments

11/23/13 Patricia love this movie it was so unique 5 stars
9/06/12 Chris. I'm nearly 30...I guess I should have watched it when I was younger? 2 stars
10/03/10 Dr.Lao Weird, not in a good way, but rather in an obnoxious, insulting way 2 stars
10/16/09 Charlotte I think this movie is fantastic worth watching 5 stars
6/02/09 Jeff Wilder That rarity: a family movie that will actually appeal to the whole family. 4 stars
5/18/08 PAUL SHORTT IMAGINATIVE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 3 stars
5/03/08 k. holes is the best.I loved jake,shia,and khleo 5 stars
5/27/07 caddy i love holes it is soooo cool it is my fav move ever 5 stars
4/20/07 caddy i love holes it is my fav move 5 stars
11/11/06 caddy i love holes it is the coollest thank i ever seen 5 stars
7/28/06 Dave Webber The coincidences seemed forced, a confused mix between comedy and drama. 3 stars
5/17/06 Paoal Gonzalez it was pretty cool 5 stars
4/03/06 JRE it was just good 3 stars
11/24/05 Erin Your one my favorite stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/22/05 nicole martin its a realy good and exiting film and zero and stanley are so cute and sexy!!! 5 stars
10/21/05 C Hillarious 5 stars
10/21/05 R humorus 5 stars
10/21/05 Y funny 5 stars
10/21/05 S neat 5 stars
10/21/05 T cool 5 stars
10/21/05 A Awesome 5 stars
10/21/05 L Great 5 stars
10/21/05 Anonamous ugh boring 1 stars
9/20/04 Dan WTFPWNT 5 stars
7/01/04 fred wiked 5 stars
6/01/04 Elizabeth Hasse This movie was totally awsome and khleo looked totally cute! 5 stars
4/04/04 Precious Lewis It's off the hook!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/01/04 The More You Know Not to be underestimated - it's ez to get sucked down rabbit holes chasing the past! 5 stars
3/22/04 Amanda Good Family movie 4 stars
3/09/04 rachel ross its was GREAT!!! 5 stars
11/30/03 Reuben Great movie for all ages in my family 5 stars
11/28/03 greg good 5 stars
11/27/03 Two-G - horror_blood2 (aka Double G) great movie 5 stars
11/16/03 Samantha Ferry It was totally awesome and Khleo is so adorable! 5 stars
11/12/03 Chance Wonderful 5 stars
11/03/03 kate i liked ''ZERO'' & THE MOVIE 2 5 stars
10/25/03 Darin ??????????????????????????????????? 5 stars
10/20/03 Desiree Rosbeck I loved it 5 stars
10/15/03 snowconehead It wasn't boring. That's saying something. 4 stars
10/13/03 Jenni Klassen Tottally awsome I luv zero 5 stars
10/06/03 Aspen Schaefer I think the movie was so cool you made zero look so cute, too. 5 stars
10/06/03 jillian gaymon this move was so good zero was looking hot ! 5 stars
10/02/03 Morganne Bowers I loved the movie holes it was the best movie ever and ican watch it over and over. 5 stars
9/12/03 Tawny This is the best movie ever!!!!!!! I saw it 5 times in the theater! Shia is soooo cute!!! 5 stars
9/11/03 R.W. Welch Intricate, off-beat plot line with funky characters. Entertaining. 4 stars
8/18/03 Katie OMG IT WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GREAT!!!!! it was the best i have ever seen ever in my life!!!! 5 stars
8/09/03 Walt Disney [Sounds of rolling over in grave] 1 stars
7/24/03 Udoka I enjoyed the movie just as much as I enjoyed the book! Good acting as well! 5 stars
7/14/03 Christian Harding Good movie but not the best on the planet. 4 stars
7/06/03 Hanna Tottaly rocked 5 stars
7/03/03 Jodi Awesome movie I love it!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/21/03 Anne Shia LeBeouf is amazing! 5 stars
6/16/03 stefani The movie was the best i've ever seen 5 stars
6/14/03 Chantal Bellefeuille Great cast and crew for a great movie! 5 stars
6/07/03 Lissa This is the best movie EVER!!!!!! 5 stars
6/06/03 krazee4khleo the movie was great! khleo was the best! 5 stars
6/04/03 christa absolutly great film seen it 3 times read the book much more awesome 5 stars
6/02/03 courtney its a great movie 5 stars
5/30/03 Odessa Awesome,great movie on my opinion,others might think different but i love it! 5 stars
5/29/03 Jennifer It was funny!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/28/03 Kali MacKinnon I love Shia LaBeouf I think he was the best !!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/27/03 Kacey Johnson It is the BEST movie I have ever seen!I think they should have more movies with those kids! 5 stars
5/26/03 Christy HOLES IS THA BEST MOVIE AND BOOK!!!!!!!!! Khleo Thomas and Shia are HOTTER THAN THA SUN!!!! 5 stars
5/23/03 Kayla Adams I loved it. I'm going to see it for the 6th time already. 5 stars
5/22/03 Joe did not 1 stars
5/22/03 Todd NICELY MADE...especially for Disney! 4 stars
5/22/03 Christina bitch It was sweet! 5 stars
5/21/03 jill no way 1 stars
5/20/03 Troy no 1 stars
5/20/03 Pixie MSKJ Luver The Movie was GREAT...Max,Shia,Khleo,and Jake were better 5 stars
5/19/03 Stephanie Iv seen it twice it was better the 2nd time I liked the imatation of Madam zeroni atthe end 5 stars
5/19/03 Andrew Carden Voight Is Well-Cast, but Film Is Overdone and Confusing. 2 stars
5/17/03 mike nope 1 stars
5/17/03 Turtle A worthy adaptation of a great book, with some fantastic acting. 4 stars
5/17/03 NxtPlato Great movie. Well written, "Zero" is awesome. 5 stars
5/06/03 Ayla DeLaat It was the greatest film yet, and it was after my favorate book!!!!!! 5 stars
5/03/03 Jackson62 Not "The Rookie" but thankfully not "Kangaroo Jack". Fun movie! 4 stars
5/01/03 Allison Weidl Great movie I laughed and fell in love with it all at once! 5 stars
4/30/03 Nikki Awesome movie! 5 stars
4/30/03 Kayla The movie was so totally awesome! Everyone did a great job especially Khleo! Ur So Hot!!!! 5 stars
4/30/03 Amber It was amazinly great. I want Khleo sooooooo much! 5 stars
4/29/03 kat good film!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
4/29/03 Rika The Movie Was Sort Of Confusing But It`s Alright 3 stars
4/29/03 bubba so cool 5 stars
4/28/03 Blubberbot Not sure why people like this so much. I thought it was boring. 2 stars
4/28/03 Misty It`s O.k 4 stars
4/28/03 Briney It was a great movie for all ages!! 5 stars
4/27/03 maya i loved this movie somuch. the characters were so great....almost as good as the book! 5 stars
4/27/03 Nina best movie ive seen 5 stars
4/27/03 ho ho awesome 5 stars
4/27/03 Godzillafan54 sucked beyond all believe 2 stars
4/23/03 Wayside Horace Surprisingly great young adult adv. story by the great Louis Sachar. Wonderful acting, too 5 stars
4/22/03 Elizabeth It rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/20/03 George Jung What a waste of Tim Blake Nelson. This movie sucked! 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Apr-2003 (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  30-Oct-2003




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