Monday, April 17, 2023

2K Replay: HOLES

 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Best Live Action Family Film” at the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards. It lost to Freaky Friday.

• Best Scene/Moment: I’ll go with the ending when (SPOILER) the juvenile detention camp is shut down and the shady people running it (Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson) are arrested.

• Best Song: “Dig It” by D-Tent Boys. This is a rap song performed by members of the cast including Shia LeBeouf and Khelo Thomas. It’s like “The Super Bowl Shuffle” for children. It’s better than it has any right to be.
• Best Merch: A framed 11”x 14” advertisement for the Holes home video release for $34.99. The seller says it’s ready for your wall. Why anyone would put it on their wall I’m not sure.

• Director Check: Holes was directed by the underappreciated Andrew Davis. Davis’s first movie was the Chicago-set musical drama Stony Island in 1978 (heads up that you can buy your own 35mm print of the movie on eBay for $149.99). Davis, being from Chicago, has set many of his films in the city throughout his career. His next film was the 1983 slasher movie The Final Terror, followed by a run as an action director helming star vehicles for the likes of Chuck Norris (Code of Silence) and Steven Seagal (Above the Law, Under Siege). Following the success of Under Siege (which many regard as Seagal’s best and/or classiest film), Davis reunited with Tommy Lee Jones, one of his stars from his 1989 thriller The Package, to make the film adaptation of The Fugitive with Harrison Ford as the lead. This was the high-water mark of Davis’s career with the film receiving seven Academy Award nominations (including a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Tommy Lee Jones) and going on to become one of the biggest hits of 1993. Davis’s follow-ups, Steal Big Steal Little and Chain Reaction, were both expensive box office bombs. He rebounded in 1998 with the hit Michael Douglas thriller A Perfect Murder but had another disappointment with the late-stage Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Collateral Damage. Holes was a departure for Davis, who took the film on to prove he could do more than just action films. The film was a hit both critically and financially. Davis’s most recent movie was 2006’s U.S. Coast Guard drama The Guardian starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. It’s not great. According to Wikipedia, Davis is currently developing some projects, but none have yet been announced.

• Double It with This 2003 Movie: The Battle of Shaker Heights

• Year 2003 Movies to Trailer Before It: Freaky Friday, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Draft Day or Holes? Draft Day

• Mall Movie? Probably not. This is one of the classier Disney live-action films of the early 2000s. Something like The Lizzie McGuire Movie or The Country Bears would have been more likely to play at the mall.

• Only in 2003: Andrew Davis making a kids movie.

• Scene Stealer: Jon Voight, unfortunately.

• I Miss: Disney live-action movies that weren’t just remakes of their animated films.

• I Don’t Miss: Giving Shia LeBeouf the benefit of the doubt.

• 2003 Crush: Patricia Arquette.

• 2023 Crush: Sigourney Weaver.
• What I Thought in 2003: I dug Holes (sorry). I was a fan of the show Even Stevens in 2003 and eager to see Shia LeBeouf in a movie, especially one directed by Andrew Davis since I’m a huge fan of both Under Siege and The Fugitive. Holes felt like it wasn’t simply resting on the laurels of being a children’s film and striving to be something larger. I even read the book by Louis Sachar, but I can’t remember if I did that before or after I saw the movie.

• What I Think in 2023: Holes holds up really well. Overall, I’m a fan of many Disney live-action original movies from the late '80s to the early '00s and Holes is in the top tier. It’s like The Shawshank Redemption for kids. My only gripes are it’s harder to enjoy a movie starring Shia LeBeouf and Jon Voight nowadays due to their off-screen behavior (to be fair, they’re both very good in Holes) than it was in 2003. Also, the story is very literary in structure, so some of the flashbacks feel awkwardly wedged in but that’s a minor gripe. I’d rank Holes as my third favorite Andrew Davis movie. Just a solid effort all the way around.

1 comment:

  1. I watched Holes for the first time a couple of weeks ago after just randomly stumbling on it on D+. I was pretty amazed by how well the overly complicated story hangs together as a coherent movie. Took me a while to warm to it but it definitely won me over in the end.