[Screen It]

 

"HOLES"
(2003) (Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Extreme *Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Mild Mild Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: After being wrongly sentenced to a hard-labor camp where he and other boys are forced to dig a five-foot hole each day, a teenager tries to figure out what they're digging for as well as whether he and his family are still living under a generations-old curse.
PLOT:
Stanley Yelnats (SHIA LaBEOUF) is a normal teenager living in an abnormal household. Not only does his grandfather (NATE DAVIS) believe that generations of males in their family have been living under the curse of a long-dead fortune teller, Madame Zeroni (EARTHA KITT), but his inventor father (HENRY WINKLER) is also obsessed with finding a cure for sneaker odor, much to the chagrin of Stanley's mother (SIOBHAN FALLON HOGAN).

One day, Stanley is wrongly accused of stealing a pair of tennis shoes that baseball star Clyde "Sweet Feet" Livingston (RICK FOX) donated to charity. Rather than sentencing him to jail, a judge orders him to spend 18 months at Camp Greenlake, somewhere in a remote area of Texas.

Rather than there being a lake, however, Stanley finds a barren labor camp, surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of five-by-five, hand-dug holes. Run by the rarely seen Warden (SIGOURNEY WEAVER) and her two minions, Mr. Sir (JON VOIGHT) and Pedanski (TIM BLAKE NELSON), the camp's "inmates" must dig one such hole each and every day.

Among them are Armpit (BRYON COTTON) and X-Ray (BRENDEN JEFFERSON), the unofficial leaders of the boys, as well as Zig Zag (MAX KASCH), Squid (JAKE M. SMITH) and Zero (KHLEO THOMAS). Everyone, and especially Pedanski, think that something is wrong with the diminutive Zero since he never talks despite being the best hole digger among the bunch.

Stanley tries to fit in with the others, eventually befriends Zero, and contemplates whether the male Yelnats are indeed cursed. As he does so, we see flashbacks of his various ancestors as they came into contact with the likes of Madame Zeroni, "Kissing" Kate Barlow (PATRICIA ARQUETTE) and Sam (DULÉ HILL).

With Stanley trying to deal with his adult captors and figure out what they're digging for, everything slowly starts to fit together and make sense regarding that as well as everyone's motives.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who are fans of the source novel or anyone in the cast might be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For violence, mild language and some thematic elements.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SHIA LaBEOUF plays a teenager who's wrongly accused of stealing a pair of tennis shoes and sent to a forced-labor camp where he must work and try to get along with the other boys while digging holes nonstop. Faced with cruel and unusual punishment and mistreatment from the "authorities," he breaks the rules and helps change things.
  • HENRY WINKLER plays his father, an inventor who's trying to come up with a way to eliminate sneaker odor.
  • SIOBHAN FALLON HOGAN plays his wife who can't believe she married into this family.
  • NATE DAVIS plays Stanley's Grandfather who swears the male side of the family is cursed.
  • KHLEO THOMAS plays a small boy at the camp who initially doesn't talk much until he befriends and bonds with Stanley and then sets out to break free from the mistreatment.
  • BRYON COTTON and BRENDEN JEFFERSON play the unofficial leaders of the boys at the camp who initially give Stanley a hard time.
  • MAX KASCH plays another of the boys who has a bad attitude toward Stanley and Zero.
  • MIGUEL CASTRO and JAKE M. SMITH play two other boys in the forced-labor camp.
  • SIGOURNEY WEAVER plays the camp's usually little seen warden who has complete control over what goes on there until Stanley upsets the status quo.
  • JON VOIGHT plays the warden's squinty-eyed enforcer who's mean to the boys, works them hard and uses some brief profanity.
  • TIM BLAKE NELSON plays the camp counselor who's mean to Zero and other kids and gets a perverse satisfaction out of the forced-labor camp.
  • PATRICIA ARQUETTE plays the schoolteacher turned outlaw and bandit.
  • DULÉ HILL plays a black man in the Old West whose attraction to Kate, who's white, gets him into trouble.
  • EARTHA KITT plays a fortune teller who put a curse on Stanley's family generations ago.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this drama that's been rated PG. Profanity consists of a handful of mild expletives, while colorful phrases and one possible instance of innuendo and a male genital related comment are also present.

    Violence consists of various deaths (two by non-graphic shootings and another two by allowing a poisonous reptile to bite), other threatening with guns (and the sight of dead bodies in coffins), various instances of fighting or striking others and a schoolhouse being torched.

    Some of those scenes and other moments might be unsettling, tense or suspenseful to some viewers, particularly younger ones, some bloodiness is present, and various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    A few characters smoke, some drink (with one being drunk), and a boy states he doesn't know what happened to his mother who disappeared one day. Thematic elements involve forced-labor camps, racial issues in the Old West, suicide, abandonment and curses.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see a bottle of booze in a flashback.
  • In the past, the local sheriff drinks and is drunk.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We hear a farting sound at night.
  • We briefly see some bad and bloody blisters on Stanley's hands from digging holes.
  • Mr. Sir has various bloody and infected-looking scrapes and scratches on his face.
  • We see dead bodies in coffins (but there's no other blood/gore).
  • Zero's palms have bloody cuts on them after he holds onto the blade side of a shovel to rescue Stanley.
  • We briefly see Zero vomit.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Various kids are mean to Stanley upon his arrival at the camp (including throwing their dirt into the hole he's digging). They're also mean to him and Zero once those two forge a friendship.
  • Pedanski is mean and disrespectful to Zero (referring to him as "stupid," etc.) on several occasions and he, Mr. Sir and the Warden use the boys as slave labor.
  • Kate goes on a robbing spree in the past.
  • For those who don't like the notion of fortune tellers and curses, etc. Madame Zeroni puts a curse on the Yelnats family.
  • In a flashback, a man, Mr. Walker, feigns being mentally handicapped (via his voice) and then makes unwelcome advances at Kate.
  • After Kate, who's white, is seen kissing Sam, who's black (in the past), angry townspeople burn down her schoolhouse and then set out to find and lynch Sam. The drunken sheriff then comes on to Kate when she goes there for help.
  • A boy steals Mr. Sir's sunflower seeds and then passes them around, eventually getting Stanley in trouble when Mr. Sir discovers the bag in his hole.
  • When a kid runs away into the desert where everyone assumes he'll die, the Warden orders that his records be destroyed so that there's no paper trail about him.
  • Stanley steals Mr. Sir's truck and tries to drive off with it, but ends up crashing it.
  • Zero admits to stealing a pair of shoes (we see a flashback of him doing that).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might also be disturbing, tense or suspenseful to some viewers, particularly younger ones.
  • One of the hole diggers spots a rattlesnake and then slowly approaches it as it rattles away at him and others tell the digger it's not that bad. We then see the snake strike out (but don't see the impact, although we hear the guy scream).
  • A large, menacing (with spread throat fins) and apparently deadly lizard races at Stanley and Mr. Sir shoots at it several times until he finally hits and kills it.
  • We briefly see a scorpion on Stanley's bed.
  • After Kate, who's white, is seen kissing Sam, who's black (in the past), angry townspeople burn down her schoolhouse and then set out to find and lynch Sam. We later see a boat heading out toward Sam who's rowing back home across a lake.
  • A boy steals Mr. Sir's sunflower seeds and then passes them around, eventually getting Stanley in trouble when Mr. Sir returns and discovers the bag in his hole.
  • We see a pit of the dangerous and deadly yellow lizards.
  • Kids might worry about Zero who's disappeared off in the desert where everyone predicts he'll soon be dead, and Stanley then flees out there as well (everyone turns out okay).
  • Stanley nearly falls down a steep cliff, with Zero then lowering a shovel (handle first) to save him. We then see various cuts on Zero's hands from holding onto the blade side.
  • In a flashback, a man holds a rifle on Kate who then holds her pistol on him (no shooting occurs).
  • Many dangerous and poisonous lizards suddenly surround and scamper across Stanley and Zero as they stand in a recently dug hole (even crawling around their necks and faces).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Shotgun/Rifle/Pistol: Carried/worn and/or used to threaten or kill people and lizards. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Don't freak out," "Shut up," "Schmuck," "You're going to Hell for sure," "Punk," "Screwing up," "Screwed" (nonsexual), "Jackasses," "I'm surrounded by cow turds," "Neanderthal" and "That's too damn bad."
  • After Pedanski is mean and demeaning to him another time, Zero hits him on the head with a shovel (knocking him out) and then flees.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 damns, 3 craps, 7 uses of "Oh my God" and 3 of "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see Stanley in his underwear as he changes clothes.
  • Referring to Kate's canned fruit, a man fondly looks at Kate and says that her "peaches" (possible double entendre for breasts based on the way he looks at her) are the work of Heaven.
  • Kate and Sam briefly kiss.
  • A comment is made that there are cameras in the showers, prompting one boy to worry about the female warden watching him. Another boy then jokes that they're cameras, not microscopes.
  • SMOKING
  • We hear that Mr. Sir has given up smoking and the Warden later says she liked him better when he smoked. Later, we see him with a cigarette.
  • Madame Zeroni holds and then smokes a pipe.
  • Stanley's grandfather smokes a cigar, while a person has a cigar in a flashback.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Zero mentions that he doesn't know what happened to his mom who disappeared one day and never returned (they're later reunited).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Spending one's life pursuing something.
  • Forced-labor camps.
  • Fortune tellers and curses.
  • Being illiterate (Zero can't read).
  • The sheriff telling Kate, who's white, that it's okay for her to kiss Sam, who's black, but not vice-versa.
  • People purposefully allowing creatures to bite and kill them (as a means of suicide).
  • VIOLENCE
  • A rattlesnake bites one of the hole diggers (we don't see the impact).
  • Armpit grabs Stanley by the neck and then pushes him to the ground (for calling him by his given name).
  • We see several men on the ground who are unconscious or dead following Kate robbing one of Stanley's ancestors.
  • A large, menacing (with spread throat fins) and apparently deadly lizard races at Stanley and Mr. Sir shoots at it several times until he finally hits and kills it.
  • Some guys push others.
  • Some pushing occurs, a guy kicks Stanley and pushes him down, and the two then struggle until they're separated.
  • After Kate, who's white, is seen kissing Sam, who's black (in the past), angry townspeople burn down her schoolhouse and then set out to find and lynch Sam.
  • From a distance and in the past, we see a man fire a shot that hits and apparently kills a man in another boat.
  • Upset at what's occurred, Kate walks in and shoots the sheriff dead (we don't see the impact).
  • The Warden scrapes Mr. Sir on the face with wet nails covered in rattlesnake venom nail polish (that leaves nasty cuts on his face).
  • Mr. Sir grabs one of the kids in anger and then pushes him to the floor.
  • We see a flashback of a stagecoach turning over and then of three dead guys in open coffins (from Kate's actions). We then see some footage of gun shooting, but don't see any impact.
  • Zig Zag pushes Stanley and the two then struggle with more pushing and some punching. Zero then jumps on the guy's back and puts a chokehold on him until Pedanski fires a shot into the air to make them stop.
  • After Pedanski is mean and demeaning to him another time, Zero hits him on the head with a shovel (knocking him out) and then flees.
  • Stanley steals Mr. Sir's truck and tries to drive off with it (with Mr. Sir hanging on the side before tumbling into a hole), but ends up crashing it into a hole.
  • In a flashback, a man holds a rifle on Kate who then holds her pistol on him (no shooting occurs).
  • A person allows one of the poisonous lizards to bite them on the arm so that they die from the poison.
  • A sheriff pushes a man up against the wall while arresting him.



  • Reviewed March 31, 2003 / Posted April 18, 2003

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [American Made] [Battle of the Sexes] [Flatliners] [A Question of Faith] [Stronger]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2017 Screen It, Inc.