I remember reading Holes in middle school. I can’t remember if I needed to read it for class or if it was just that popular that I read it on my own. I still have that book on my bookshelf in my house. Think I’ll give it a reread one day but let’s talk about the movie.
At the time, we all knew Shia LaBeouf from Even Stevens, one of my favorite childhood Disney channel shows. This, I think, is the first time I saw him outside of that show and he nailed it. Now, in the book, Stanley Yelnats was a chubby kid and I do remember us having an issue with that, but what he lacked in chub, he made up for in awkwardness.
Holes is a complicated story, in all honesty. On the surface, Holes is a story about a boy who is from a down-on-their-luck family who gets framed for stealing the shoes of a famous baseball player. His punishment? A detention camp where they dig a hole a day that is six feet wide and six feet deep. If I was in an elevator with someone and they asked me to tell them about Holes, this is the description I would give them; however, the true hero of this film and the concept encompassing the movie was fate.
Elya Yelnats was the catalyst for this mess. All he had to do was remember to take Madam Zeroni, brilliantly played by Eartha Kitt, up the mountain so she could drink. I get he was upset that she picked the big dummy over him, but wasn’t too bright or cute, to be honest! So his family is cursed at this point, however, if he didn’t make the trip to America, his family might not have gotten as far as they had. Later, Stanley Yelnats Sr. had some luck in the banking industry, only to have it stolen by Kissin’ Kate Barlow better known as my favorite character in the movie. Because of her and Trout’s relationship, we get this iconic scene.
It gets no better than this. Because Kate chose Sam over Trout, he became vengeful and paid the price in the end. The lake drying up, Trout going bankrupt and him feeling somehow entitled to the money she stole, caused the Warden to have to grow up digging holes in order to find this treasure, that didn’t belong to him nor Kate. This was a childhood memory that haunted her and caused her to go on her own tirade, which was smarter than that of her grandpa, of having boys dig holes in order to find a treasure, that again, did not belong to who thought it was entitled them. Louise, the Warden’s real name, creating Camp Green Lake allowed Hector and Stanley to meet in person, although their paths had already crossed. Their treatment of the boys caused Hector to run away and Stanley to go find him. Hector almost dying and Stanley’s determination to save him made him carry a Zeroni up the mountain to “God’s Thumb” so he could take a drink. Fate…the driving force of Holes, brought to you by Amber. You’re welcome.
Let’s go back to my favorite character, Kissin’ Kate Barlow. I LOVED this storyline and it is by far the best part of this entire movie, besides the scene above. Kate is a woman after my own heart because I, too, have destroyed everyone’s day because of disrespect and to see that one screen in the way it was done in Holes was strangely refreshing. This was also a strong lesson to teach in a kids’ movie but someone had to do it. They had been playing with Kate since she was a schoolteacher. She was nothing but nice to everyone and here comes Trout just messing things up. However, in a strange way, the death of Sam unleashed a freer version of Kate that she, probably, always wanted to live. When we see her with Sam, you can see in her face and speech the freedom she has in just being with him. The flame that was ignited when she kissed the love of her life. That was the same fire and passion she took down to the Sheriff’s office, along with a load revolver, and continued until the day she decided she had done all she needed to to prove her point.
Holes has a lot going on with the storyline, or storylines, but they weave them into each other seamlessly. Remember, this is a movie made for children and this could have easily been a mess. It was complicated but I could follow it and I’m sure my ten-year-old goddaughter could also follow it. It’s a win for us all! Also…skip to around 2:40.
If you have Disney+ or Amazon Prime, take the time and go watch it again. See all the things you missed. Catching that you missed as you watch this movie over and over again is what gets me every time.