HolesApril 18, 2003
A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason.
Release Year: 2003
Rating: 7.0/10 (25,648 voted)
Critic's Score: 71/100
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight
"But if you forget to come back for Madame Zeroni, you and your family will be cursed for always and eternity." Those were the exact words spoken to young Elya Yelnats the day he forgot to repay the gypsy Madame Zeroni. From then on his family was cursed with bad luck. One hundred years later Stanley Yelnats IV is accused of stealing a pair of cleats from a major league baseball player and sent to Camp Green Lake (a dry lake bed in the middle of the desert). It never rains at Camp Green Lake, it hasn't for one hundred years. The secretive and mysterious Warden has each inmate spend every day digging one hole to "build character." But when an artifact from the famous "Kissin' Kate" Barlow is found in a hole, the Warden forces the boys to work double time leading Stanley to deduce they're digging because the Warden is looking for something. But what? And how is the mystery of Camp Green Lake connected to Stanley's family curse?
Writers: Louis Sachar, Louis Sachar
Tim Blake Nelson
Stanley Yelnats IV
Jake M. Smith
(as Steve Kozlowski)
Atty. Carla Morengo
The adventure is down there…start digging April 18.
Official site |
Release Date: 18 April 2003
Filming Locations: Anderson Street Overpass, Los Angeles, California, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $16,300,155
(20 April 2003)
(10 August 2003)
Did You Know?
the author of both the novel and the screenplay for this movie appears with his wife and daughter in the scene where Sam is selling onion juice.
When Stanley is fighting his hat is alternately off/on between shots.
[Barfbag walks towards a rattlesnake]
Hey, Barfbag. What are you doing?
[Barfbag takes his shoe and sock off and steps on the snake, which bites him]
The Secret to Sucessful Kid's Movie
Its not often one sees a movie that really seems to understand what its
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
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
The movie gets going as Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf) is mistakenly
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
the guards from The Shawshank Redemption. There Stanley is indoctrinated
the gruff Mr. Sir (John Voight with crazy hair and a brilliant
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
the cutesy nicknames fool you (X-Ray, Zig Zag, Armpit, Zero), these kids
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
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
The story of Holes switches back and forth between the present and the
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
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.
Louis Sachar, the writer of the book and the screenplay seems to have
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.
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.