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* AwesomeMusic: Fiction Plane's "If Only," which takes one of the many, many plot points that made the book so memorable and turns it into a gorgeous ballad.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The movie has an early {{Foreshadowing}} scene where Stanley sees the ghosts of Sam and Mary Lou while his bus passes through the desert. Stanley never even learns who they are and this event is never mentioned again.
** Right after Stanley turns down Zero's request to teach him how to read, Armpit swaggers out of the Wreck Room and starts dancing. The music even sounds like it's going to lead into a sudden all-camp coordinated dance, but it ends abruptly soon after Armpit raises his, well, armpits.
* EarWorm:
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXcnGJy0kmA&t=7s Dig it, oh-oh-ooh, dig it!]]
** If Only by Fiction Plane
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Whether you like the book or not, ''everyone'' remembers Katherine and Sam, and they're nearly universally-beloved in the fandom. Katherine even still has fans after she becomes Kissin' Kate Barlow. (Some people loved her even ''more'' after that.)
* GeniusBonus: Mr. Sir creates a tough, cowboy persona in order to get over the embarrassment of his real name: [[spoiler:Marion]]. This is very similar to '''Marion''' Robert Morrison, better known as [[spoiler:Creator/JohnWayne]].
* HeReallyCanAct: The movie could be considered the start of this for Shia [=LaBeouf=], who was still known primarily for his role on ''Series/EvenStevens'' at the time.
** RetroactiveRecognition: Nowadays, he's better known as Sam Witwicky in the live action ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' movies.
* JerkassWoobie:
** The Warden, if only because of her harsh childhood under her ''awful'' grandfather's thumb making her a cynical and bitter woman.
** Kissing Kate went on a murder spree and robbed Stanley Yelnats I, leaving him to die in the desert, [[spoiler: but her school was destroyed and her lover was taken away from her by the jealous Trout Walker]].
** Squid. In the book, Stanley wakes up one night to find him crying due to "allergies", and warns Stanley that [[DisproportionateRetribution he will break Stanley's jaw if he says a word about it]]. This is AdaptedOut of the film, but at the end of the book, he asks Stanley to call his mother and apologise on Squid's behalf (in the film, however, it's Armpit, not Squid, who asks this favour). In the film, we expand on this a bit and discover his mother is TheAlcoholic and his father is a DisappearedDad who [[ParentalAbandonment left them]].
* MagnificentBastard: The Warden. Intimidating, [[AffablyEvil unsettlingly nice]], wears rattlesnake venom as nail polish [[spoiler:and uses it to punish her employees]], and opened Camp Green Lake [[spoiler:to find Kissing Kate Barlow's buried treasure]].
* MemeticMutation: There's a post going around {{Tumblr}} which includes a gif of Madame Zeroni, and it says if you forget to reblog her, "You and your family will be cursed for always and eternity."
* MoralEventHorizon: When Stanley and Zero come back to camp Green Lake, The Warden, Mr. Pendanski, and Mr. Sir show a complete lack of concern when [[spoiler:the boys are covered with yellow-spotted lizards]]. What makes this a tragic example for The Warden? See JerkassWoobie and UnintentionallySympathetic for how she became the uncaring jerk she is in the present day.
** Trout [[spoiler:killing Sam]]. Since that day, it never rained at Camp Green Lake [[spoiler: until the Warden and her cronies were put behind bars]].
* NamesTheSame: All the sons in the Yelnats family are called Stanley because it's Yelnats backwards. During the courtroom scene when the judge tells Stanley Yelnats to stand up, Stanley does, and so do his father and grandfather, because they're both called Stanley (Stanley's grandfather is Stanley II and his father is Stanley III).
* NarmCharm: "Dig It." In any other case, a movie based on a book like ''Holes'' with a rap number over the credits would be reek of being TotallyRadical, but the boys are musically inclined enough to make it work.
* SpecialEffectsFailure: In the film, the deadly yellow spotted lizards.
* UnintentionallySympathetic: The Warden in some ways, despite being the BigBad in the story [[spoiler:and actually allowing Stanley and Zero to (hopefully) be killed in a pit full of poisonous lizards]], her life was constantly nothing but a wild goose chase thanks to her [[AbusiveParents greed-obsessed grandfather]]. In the film adaptation, you can see the loss and anguish on her face when [[spoiler:she's denied of the treasure her family has been looking for a hundred years]] (helped out a great deal by Sigourney Weaver's acting).
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