Usually I begin my critiques with an introduction that illustrates my feelings before seeing a movie or a brief history of the title in question. Hours before viewing I will write the intro and fill out the rest after. Upon my return from the theater, I found my feelings so profoundly changed I erased my work and started over. I understand most movies are made for specific niche audiences. Some people like horror and those same people do not like dramas as much as others. Aloha is certainly not a movie for me, but that does not change the fact it does more damage to Hawaii than the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Aloha is a finding-yourself drama (FYD), a specialty of director Cameron Crowe. The basic structure of an FYD involves an arrogant/depressed protagonist going through a transformation by way of a usually female opposite. While that may sound interesting, most FYDs are trite pretentious crap. This is all dependent on execution, of course, and Aloha was more botched than a lethal injection.
Five minutes in I knew it was terrible. Even worse was my professional obligation to stay in preparation for my critique. Watching Aloha was an experience akin to a pervert exposing himself in an attempt to get noticed, as if Cameron Crowe was actively shoving his cock in the face of the audience.
The film took every opportunity to show how quirky and full of life it was with overly expressive characters that make no sense as real human beings. Everyone from Bradley Cooper’s Brian to a worthless child character is an exaggeration with traits and ticks blown up for the sake of being strange and different. It uses this eccentricity to project genuine heart and Aloha is so transparent in the process, it is practically invisible.
It also does not help that the film thinks it is too good to be clear about what is happening in the story. I am all for subtly, but when the plots of Only God Forgives and I’m Not There are more defined it is time for a rewrite. You have failed at cinema if your audience has no idea what is going on before the start of Act 2. Some elements were more obvious, but nothing is clearly explained until whatever was supposed to happen is made apparent 15 minutes after it happens because the film is so cluttered and ambiguous.
On a positive note, the acting was acceptable and inoffensive. Cooper was his himself, Rachel McAdams as Tracy did fine, and Emma Stone played the thoroughly squared away Captain Ng well. Bill Murray as Carson did not care enough to act, but I do not blame him. The real standout is John Krasinski as Woody. He had maybe five lines between huge chucks of silence and stole the whole movie.
Aloha sucks. If you plan on seeing it, I advise consulting your physician because you have brain damage. Almost a day later my rage has yet to fully diminish. I only hope tonight’s indie release, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, calms my mood and helps me forget I ever saw Aloha. Thanks, Cameron Crowe. Feel free to fuck off the edge of my dick.