Dig Baton Rouge

Film in Review

By Bill Arceneaux


Cameron Crowe’s Aloha might be the most peculiar bad movie of 2015—peculiar as a bad movie AND peculiar for being a bad movie. A critic took to twitter to reference Ridley Scott’s The Counselor when asked about the latest from Crowe. I would argue that Aloha is more of an oddity than Counselor.

Look at the trailers for both films. The Counselor had some kind of enigmatic crime tale going on, wrapped in morality and ambiguity, without giving away any inkling of what the heck is going on. Of course, the movie itself would continue that trend. Aloha’s preview was, for me anyways, much more promising. A sentimental song by the Cold War Kids played throughout well sequenced footage of a man in a romantic/existential conundrum with Bill Murray as a guide. Solid, I thought. Did I mention my middle name is “Naive?”

It’s hard for me to describe just how disappointed and perplexed I was with the final movie. By the end credits, multiple people had walked out in frustration and confusion, while I just sat alone with my jaw open, drool pooling at my feet. Literally, from beginning to end, Aloha goes all over the map without a shred of clarity or focus, seemingly oblivious to an incredible fault. It’s earnest, but terribly misguided. It’s cute at times, but convoluted throughout. It tries amateurishly, and fails spectacularly. What happened between production and release? Between trailer and feature?

Let’s try to synopsize: Bradley Cooper plays a former vague something military who is now a current vague something military with the task of ensuring that a new base in Hawaii gets the blessing of locals. Well, the movie cares not for our brain. His liaison is a spunky Emma Stone, whose character is quite multi-ethnic (her last name is Ng and is from the area). He runs into an old flame, flirts with Stone, all the while deciding whether or not to stop a potentially villainous plot from the diabolical, rich man played by Bill Murray. You know, because nature.

Wait… what?

In perhaps the biggest misstep this movie has – bigger than supposed racism, poor editing and poorer screenwriting—there is a crazy tacked on subplot involving Hawaiian mysticism and the weaponization of satellites. A crazy tacked on subplot that never really pays off in any way, mind you. It can be hilarious to watch filmmakers go insane before your very eyes, but in the case of Cameron Crowe… it’s annoying and sad. “It’s a love letter to Hawaii” he’s said in interviews. No, it’s not. Maybe it’s a message against privatization? No, it’s not. What is it?

What. IS. Aloha?

Aloha was a movie with the potential for feel good status. Aloha was a movie that could’ve been fun and lighthearted. Aloha is a movie I would’ve preferred had it not gone beyond trailer release. Aloha is not the worst film of 2015 (that may go to Human Centipede 3) – but it could’ve been. And, maybe, should be. Damn my peculiar heart.

1 / 5 *s

For more from the author, follow him on twitter @BillReviews and visit his blog www.CriticalNO.com


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