It’s late and the head is throbbing. Gonna keep this fairly direct.
Fun fact: this was, at one point, my favorite film of all time. No hyperbole in that statement, it’s legit. After finishing this film during a middle school class (for some reason?), I said to myself, “That was so much fun. This is the best movie ever.” And for years, that was the case. I don’t recall a time after that when it wasn’t my favorite film, until Cinderella Man dethroned it in high school. So to say I have some history with this would be like saying the characters in this dig holes. Uh, duh.
Seen multiple times, the events that take place in this were not unfamiliar to me. I remember basically everything, despite the large gap in time since I last saw this (again, high school). And last time, I still loved this, as 17-ish-year-old me awarded this a phenomenal 9/10 rating, adding this short snippet as a review:
“In one of Shia LaBeouf’s best performances, Holes awakens the creativity of youth in everyone and triumphs in this classic story within a story within a movie.”
I have no idea what “creativity of youth” I was referring to here.
But I’m not in high school anymore. I’m not 17-ish anymore. Many, many films have come and gone and my tastes in le cinéma have since solidified into a concoction completely my own… volatile as it may occasionally be. Is Holes still a great film? A 9/10? A “classic story within a story within a movie”? No. But! Still fairly enjoyable.
Some choices in the editing department, as well as casting, are head-scratchers. The story, while neatly-wrapped and loops back nicely, is pretty dumb and focuses more on grand, sweeping gestures rather than frivolous detail. One moment, two boys are on a mountain, which took dozens of scenes to climb, and it felt earned. The next, they’re back where they started and further, without an ounce of effort taken to explain the extraordinary feat. Grand, sweeping gestures. Things just happen—better accept it.
This is a bit harder to explain, but it also just has a cheesiness factor that’s a little difficult to shed. Its first thirty or so minutes actually have a pretty grounded look at a relatively uncivilized camp life (despite some more grand sweeping to explain how he got there). Further as it carries on, the more the story is given a fairy tale aura, which perhaps has some appeal, even if it feels kind of mismatched here. Almost exacerbates the multiple cases of sweeping into an irrefutable pile of conveniences and loose ends.
Nevertheless, the power of nostalgia made this a very easy watch, perhaps the easiest of every film viewed this month. Even without nostalgia, this is a pretty pleasant viewing on account of the fluff and feel-good cheese that’s provided. For some, that may be enough. Even if I don’t think it’s a “classic” as I once did, I probably wouldn’t mind watching this again, should the mood strike me.
Final Score: 6/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.