Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andrew Davis|
|Produced by||Andrew Davis
Lowell D. Blak
|Screenplay by||Louis Sachar|
by Louis Sachar
Tim Blake Nelson
and Eartha Kitt
|Music by||Joel McNeely|
|Cinematography||Stephen St. John|
|Editing by||Thomas J. Nordberg
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Running time||120 minutes|
Holes is a 2003 comedy-drama 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 on October 24, 2002, less than six months before the film's release.
Stanley Yelnats IV (Shia LaBeouf), is a teenage boy, born to a family that has supposedly been cursed for over 100 years. The luckiest of the Yelnats ancestors, Stanley Yelnats I, lost his fortune when the outlaw Katherine Barlow (known as "Kissin' Kate Barlow") stole his money chest. The Yelnats blame their ancestor, Elya Yelnats, who was cursed after breaking a promise to fortune teller Madame Zeroni who asked him to carry her up a mountain to a fortifying river.
One day, Stanley is falsely arrested for stealing a pair of sneakers that Clyde "Sweetfeet" Livingston (Rick Fox), a famous baseball player, had donated to a celebration. Stanley chooses to attend Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp, instead of being imprisoned for his crime. He arrives to find that the "camp" is a dried-up lake run by Warden Walker (Sigourney Weaver), her assistant Mr. Sir (Jon Voight), and camp counselor Dr. Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson). Each day, the detainees must dig a five-foot round hole in the desert to "build character", despite the dangers of scorpions, rattlesnakes, and yellow-spotted lizards, which can kill with a single bite. 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 tall, muscular build. He soon befriends Hector "Zero" Zeroni and teaches him to read.
In a flashback story, it is revealed that the location of Camp Green Lake was once a thriving town a century earlier, and the lake was once the largest lake in Texas. Miss Katherine Barlow (Patricia Arquette), a local school teacher, rejects rich landowner Trout Walker (Scott Plank) in favor of local onion seller Sam (Dulé Hill), 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. 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 person 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.
After Pendanski insults Hector, Hector retaliates by hitting Pendanski in the face with his shovel and runs away. Feeling that no one knows or cares about Zero, the Warden orders that his file be erased from the computer. Stanley sets out to find Hector (driving Mr. Sir's water truck into a hole in the process) and eventually finds him taking shelter under the remains of Sam's boat, the 'Mary Lou' (named after his donkey). Out of desperation, Stanley and Hector spot a rock formation called "God's Thumb" in the distance, and walk towards it, remembering that Stanley Yelnats I had survived the desert by seeking refuge on the mountain after Kate Barlow robbed him. Meanwhile, the Warden decides to presume Hector dead by deleting his files. 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, Stanley breaks the family curse because Hector is a descendant of Madame Zeroni. When he carries Hector to the top of the mountain, he sings to him and lets him drink from the stream that runs uphill, fulfilling the promise made by Elya Yelnats centuries earlier.
Moments later, after Hector has woken up, he reveals he is the reason why Stanley was sent to Camp Green Lake. He reveals that since he is homeless, he had been at the 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 and implicate him. Zero 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 found in the middle of the now dried-up lake at the remains of Sam's boat by Trout Walker, now poor, and his wife, Linda, a former student of Kate's. They order 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 Zero finally decide to go back to Camp Green Lake to investigate the hole where Stanley had found Kate Barlow's tube of lipstick and uncover a rusty old chest. The Warden, Mr. Sir and Pendanski discover them and attempt to take the chest away from Stanley and Zero 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 the lizards hate. This buys enough time for the Attorney General and Stanley's lawyer Carla Morengo to arrive to secure Stanley's release and during the wait, the Warden reveals herself to be Trout Walker's Granddaughter, how he made her spend her childhood digging holes and how she started the camp for troubled boys to speed up 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. Zero rebuts the lie with the fact that Stanley's name, "Stanley Yelnats", is written on the chest. With the fact confirmed, Ms. Morengo allows Stanley to take the chest home with him; he also convinces her to check out Zero's file to secure Zero's release. However, the Warden is forced to confess that she has lost Zero's file, prompting the angered Attorney General to order an investigation on Camp Green Lake. After doing so, the Attorney General then orders his deputies to arrest the Warden, Mr. Sir (who is revealed to be a paroled criminal named Marion Sevillo), and Pendanski (who is not an actual Doctor), all on the charges of misprison of felony and perverting the course of justice, much to the other boys' delight. This allows Zero to finally come along with Stanley and Ms. Morengo back to Stanley's house. Also, the fact that Stanley carried Zero up the mountain and sung the lullaby to him causes the curse put upon Stanley's family by Madame Zeroni to be lifted, and it finally rains after over 100 years of drought.
The Yelnats family claims rightful ownership of the chest and gives half of the money to Hector. The Yelnats move to a new house and live in financial comfort while Hector uses his share to hire private investigators to find his missing mother and they become Stanley's next-door neighbors. Camp Green Lake is then converted into a girls scout camp, with Stanley assuring that the girls and the counselors won't have to worry about the yellow-spotted lizards as long as they consume lots of good onions that can repel the lizards. The film ends with Stanley, Zero, their family and friends, along with Clyde Livingston and his wife, watching a commercial promoting a new odor eliminator made by Stanley's father with the usage of peaches and onions.
After the credits, Zero appears re-enacting the "You and your family will be cursed" quote from his great-great-great-grandmother, and the screen cuts to black.
- Camp Green Lake
- Shia LaBeouf as Stanley "Caveman" Yelnats IV
- Khleo Thomas as Hector "Zero" Zeroni
- Sigourney Weaver as The Warden/Louise Walker
- Jon Voight as Mr. Sir/Marion Sevillo
- Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Pendanski (or "Mom" as Tent D calls him)
- Max Kasch as Ricky "Zigzag", a camper of Tent D.
- Brenden Jefferson as Rex "X-Ray", a camper of Tent D.
- Byron Cotton as Theodore "Armpit", a camper of Tent D.
- Jake M. Smith as Alan "Squid", a camper of Tent D.
- Miguel Castro as Jose "Magnet", a camper of Tent D.
- Noah Poletiek as Brian "Twitch", a camper of Tent D.
- Zane Holtz as Louis "Barf Bag", a camper of Tent D.
- The past
- Patricia Arquette as Katherine "Kissin' Kate" Barlow
- Dulé Hill as Sam the Onion Man
- Eartha Kitt as Madame Zeroni
- Allan Kolman as Stanley Yelnats I
- Damien Luvara as Elya Yelnats
- Scott Plank as Trout Walker
- Sanya Mateyas as Myra Menke
- Ravil Isyanov as Morris Menke
- Ken Davitian as Igor Barkov
- Supporting characters
- Henry Winkler as Stanley Yelnats III
- Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Tiffany Yelnats
- Nathan Davis as Stanley Yelnats II
- Rick Fox as Clyde "Sweet Feet" Livingston
- Nicole Pulliam as Mrs. Livingston
- Roma Maffia as Atty. Carla Morengo
- Shirley Butler as Mrs. Zeroni
- Louis Sachar as Mr. Collingwood
- Denis Johnson as Rebound
- Shelley Malil as Nosy Landlord
- Ray Baker as Attorney General
- Alex Daniels as Texas Ranger #1
- Tom Brainard as Texas Ranger #2
|Soundtrack album by Various|
|Released||April 15, 2003|
|Label||Walt Disney Records|
- Dig It - D-Tent Boys
- Keep'n It Real - Shaggy
- Mighty Fine Blues - Eels
- Honey - Moby
- I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday - Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps
- Just Like You - Keb' Mo'
- Everybody Pass Me By - Pepe Deluxé
- I Will Survive - Stephanie Bentley
- Shake 'Em On Down - North Mississippi Allstars
- Don't Give Up - Eagle Eye Cherry
- Happy Dayz - Devin Thompson
- Let's Make A Better World - Dr. John
- If Only - Fiction Plane
- Eyes Down - Eels
- Down To The Valley - Little Axe
Box office 
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.
Critical reception 
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." On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film has a 71/100 rating, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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."