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Holes /

Rated: PG

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Arquette, Rick Fox, Khleo Thomas 

Directed by: Andrew Davis 

Produced by: Andrew Z. Davis, Lowell D. Blank, Andrew Davis, Cary Granat, Mike Medavoy, Teresa Tucker-Davies 

Written by: Brent Hanley, Louis Sachar 

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures


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     A movie like Holes is a rare gem; a family movie that will actually be enjoyed by the entire family. For decades, now, Walt Disney Pictures and a few other studios have been bringing us films that will be enjoyed by children, but are agonizing for adults to sit through. Holes is proof that they are able of doing differently. With such amusing and appealing material, I can confidently recommend this film to everyone, including adults that don’t have children of their own. With so many overblown sequels, as well as ugly and atrocious originals, looming the screens of multiplexes right now, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t give Holes a shot. It is one of the most adventurous, charming, and sweetly funny films I have seen in a very long time.

      The men in Stanley Yelnats the fourth’s (Shia LaBeouf’s) family have always had bad luck. His father, Stanley Yelnats the third (Henry Winkler), is an inventor struggling to create an error-proof invention. He’s currently working on finding a cure for feet odor, but all it’s gotten him so far is a dozen angry neighbors, who are fuming at him for the many smells of stinky shoe funguses that are a part of his “experiment,” brewing into the air of the apartment complex. Stanley the fourth’s grandfather, Stanley Yelnats Jr. (Nathan Davis), hit it rich in the stock market, but then was robbed by Kissin’ Kate Barlow when traveling with his money, through the desert. He was left amidst endless sands, stranded, and broke—even though he still somehow survived it all. Why are all of these men cursed with bad luck? Because of Stanley Yelnats the first, the youngest Stanley’s no-good, dirty rotten, pig-stealing Great Grandfather. He determined the fate of the family, after seeing a powerful fortune teller named Madame Zeroni (Eartha Kitt).

     The bad luck curse cast its spell on Stanley the fourth when a pair of sneakers came upon his shoulders (literally), after falling off of a freeway overpass, when walking home. The police had obviously been looking for these sneakers, and when they found him carrying them, he was arrested. They were Clyde 'Sweet Feet' Livingston’s (Rick Fox’s). He was one of the best baseball players around, and had donated his shoes to an auction, that’s proceeds would go to a homeless shelter. Stanley plead not guilty to the accusation, but was wrongly found guilty by a judge, and sentenced to a year at “Camp Green Lake,” a correctional facility for teenage boys. Here, Stanley would begin one of the biggest adventures of his life.

     Camp Green Lake is in the middle of the desert; with no water sources around it for miles (one of the reasons why none of the campers run away). Each day at the camp, the boys that have been sentenced there for correctional purposes, must dig holes in the hot sun; into the sands of the desert. These holes must be five feet deep and five feet wide. The rest of the day is dedicated to free-relaxation time, although digging these holes takes at least a few hours, even for most gifted of diggers. But, if the boys find something buried in the sand, they are to report it to Mr. Sir (Jon Voight) or Mr. Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson). They will, then, show their finds to the Warden of the camp, Louise Walker (Sigourney Weaver). If the Warden likes what they’ve found, they get the day off. Before long, and after the Warden of the camp accepts a worn-down tube of lipstick that Stanley found buried in the sand, and not a fossil that he uncovered, he figures that the Warden is looking for something, in specific. After he befriends one of the other kids staying at the camp, named “Zero” (Khleo Thomas), the mystery begins to unravel.

     Not only does Holes showcase some excellent performances by newcomers (particularly LaBeouf and Thomas), but its cast is also consumed by a slur of veterans to the industry. Voight is hysterical in his role, and brings a great comedic-relief to the film. Every scene his character, Mr. Sir, was in, I laughed at least once. Nelson is also very funny as the “doctor” of the camp, and he’s as strong here as he was in O Brother Where Art Thou? and The Good Girl. Weaver is great as the Warden, and when sharing the spotlight with Nelson or Voight, is very charismatic. Patricia Arquette, whose character is a trip and a half to explain, delivers probably the best dramatic performance of the entire film. She sets an excellent counter median to Voight’s comedy, through the flashbacks, in which her character appears in.

     I won’t be surprised, at all, if Holes is nominated for a couple Academy Awards. The direction is perfect; Andrew Davis’s interpretation of the book is a winner. The screenplay, which Louis Sachar adapted from his own novel, is error free. Holes is fun in the purest of forms, and every member of the family will enjoy it, equally. When I think about the best movies of the year so far, Holes is definitely close to the front of the pack. It will not disappoint.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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