Saturday, June 13, 2009


Shia LaBeouf stars in this movie. He has two names since he was given a nickname in the prison camp he was sent to. It is working juvenile hall. Stanley Yelnats IV / 'Caveman' are his two names. I wanted to watch this movie since I wanted to see Shia in one of his first movies. This was back in 2003, the last full year I was in the navy. I did not see this movie then because it was not appealing and I had no idea Shia would become a major star. Though knowing he would be an international sensation still would not have compelled me to either rent this movie or go out of my way to see this movie over the ones I chose to see at that time.

Shia is a regular teenage boy who happens to be in a family that has a terrible string of luck. They had a curse or hex put on them by a black female European gypsy. I do not believe in this stuff and I am not sure how bad his family's luck was or is. They have a home and seem to eat all of their meals. Bad luck? An American fallacious idea. Go to most of Mexico, the Sudan, or Venezuela, one will see bad luck beyond comprehension. Especially in Sudan and Somalia.

Jon Voight is hilarious in this movie. Pretty incredible he would take on a part of Marion Sevillo / 'Mr. Sir'. But he did. So Transformers was not the first time Shia and Jon have been included in the same movie. In Holes, Mr. Sir is just a goofball. This movie has some fictional lizards that chase humans but they do not call for anyone to act like a total nut like Sevillo does.

This movie centers around these kids digging holes. I am sure they receive one day off a week, but every other day is focused on each one digging holes. They must dig a hole every day that equals the depth of how the tall the shovel is. They dig in the hot sun, in the Texas desert. It is a dried up lake bed and this cheap labor is being exploited. I do not care much and neither should society since everyone of them accept Shia is a child criminal. Punishment is due. The punk teenagers are told that digging holes will build their character. Which carries some truth but there is another reason they are digging these holes every day in orange coveralls.

Sigourney Weaver plays Warden Walker who slaps the crap out of Mr. Sir in one scene which is hilarious. Mr. Sir is a hilarious name as well. The Warden is obsessed with these holes. This area has some history in it. I am not going to explain this. This film has alot of characters in it that is for sure. Patricia Arquette plays Miss Kathryn 'Kissin' Kate' Barlow who rejected the mayor's proposals toward her and she fell for a local black handyman. So the mayor and his sinister buddies burned down her school house. So Kissin Kate turned to murder and mayhem and kissed the fellows after she killed them. She turned herself into a monster when it would have been justified to avenge just the fellows that burned down her school house. Where were the parents on this town, their children just lost their school house? Whatever. But this town and lake no longer exist 100 years in the future. It resembles not an oasis but a dust bowl.

Every time I see Weaver I am looking around for aliens and waiting for her to pull out a powerful machine gun with a flame thrower attached. She is a peculiar warden and is nice to the children only if it involves digging holes. Shia is teaching a friend to read in the evenings while this is a tradeoff for this boy digging his hole in the day. Not a bad deal. This boy loves to dig holes and is curious to also learn how to read. The warden puts an end to this after their work mates complain. They are jealous of this arrangement. Most losers would be. And the world is full of them. They do not even care that this child is illiterate. Their priorities are so sloppy and twisted.

The doctor is not any different. Tim Blake Nelson from the outstanding movie Brother, Where Out Thou, plays Dr. Pendanski. He does call these wayward youths by their proper names but he does not care a lick that this young boy can not read. He is derogatory in nature and directs the word stupid at him relentlessly. This is horrible and his license should be pulled or he should be given additional training. When this boy knocks him out with a shovel, that is hilarious. The so called doctor deserved it.

Pendanski is not a doctor as it turns out. Somehow Walker was able to set up shop and the state provided her with cheap labor. Sevillo is arrested at the end, apparently he is in violation of his parole. All three have broken numerous laws. But in typical Hollywood fashion, the authority figures are the villians and the gangster, losers, punks, cheaters, and theives are given a free pass.

Mr. Sir is not just not bright. He should have learned after he had his sunflower seeds stolen do not keep his keys in the ignition. He should have ensured that only one to two juvenile delinquents could fill up their containers with water. Do severly reduce the chance for any shenanigans involving his truck. Well, his truck is hijacked by Caveman and eventually driven into one of the holes that was dug out. He runs after this, finding Zero hiding out in a hole in the middle the desolate landscape. Apparently Kissin Kate has left behind some food sealed in some jars that still has some flavor and value to it. She ended up being killed by one of the lizards in the area that has a lethal bite to it. She died happy and satisfied though. No lizard of this size and poisonous mortality exists in the world and in America. Running and jumping at humans, I do not think so.

Caveman and his friend Zero, climb this mountain at the end that looks like a thumb. Both almost die doing this. At the summit, they find some running water and massively large and delicious onions. They return and find the treasure the warden has been using the free labor to dig for for many years. Caveman's family has hired a lawyer who is putting pressure on the warden to release Caveman. The warden's greed cost her, she should have relinquished cavemen and she could have continued her treasure quest. She should have said Caveman ran off and cooperated right in the beginning with the outside authorities. This juvenile detention center reminded me of the work camp Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence spent time at in the magnificent movie called Life.

This movie was entertaining. A couple scenes from the past were sort of dull and uninteresting. This gave Shia a spotlight. I am surprised he did not obtain more roles after this. His small roles in iRobot and Constantine seem like poor follow ups to this work but it is what it is. Shia's curly hair in this movie was suprising. This was a full length movie with many characters. But I am tired of seeing producers portrary odious characters as OK human beings. Some of those kids would improve once they were released, too many would recidivate though. The movie was a success though and carried a solid storyline. Too many movies now are just too short.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

No comments: