Did I mention that they had me from Aloha?

Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in an Aloha moment. (From IMDb)

Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in an Aloha moment. (From IMDb)

Aloha unwinds during Christmas time in Hawaii.

Sun, lots of it, with blue water and pristine sand. Interesting myths from the islands mysterious past play out among the mountains and lush forest. Thoughts flooded my mind about that trip to the islands we took in 2010, Oahu and Kawai and Maui … Volcanoes and lava and rain forests … You’ll regret it if you take a lava rock back to the continent …

Good-looking players in their prime were selected to play the two major roles, and Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone send some sparks flying like flint on steel. Oh, Rachel McAdams and John Krasinski don’t do too badly in their side dance, either, while Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin arch and bluster as senior and middle-age masters of what they do.

No dummy about those things was writer-director Cameron Crowe as he brought this baby from mind to movie.

But as I watched the 110 minutes of redemption for military contractor Brian Gilcrest play out during a Saturday matinée at the Regal Cinemas in the Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA along with my dear wife Karen and just a handful of others, I wished that Crowe had been a bit smarter.

The scenes with Dennis Bumpby Kenehele and his legion of native Hawaiians who greeted Gilcrest and Stone’s Captain Allison Ng were so good. And so short. I wanted more. The Hawaiians deserved more. I also had to get over my dilemma about Stone playing a character so vociferously proud of her one-quarter Island heritage. But, hey, I said to myself, don’t you always tell yourself not to judge a book by its cover?

The explanation of Gilcrest’s troubled and shady past with Murray’s character Carson Welch’s rocket launching-corporation was too shallow to propel his ensuing moral dilemma. It needed more.

Danny McBride and Bill Camp’s military and corporate characters were integral but inconsequential both, so go figure that one out on your own.

That portion of the plot line, politics vs. nature and government sleeping with industry, was so messy.

Yet the sweet, sunny spots of human touch kept bringing me back to a smile. The unspoken man communication between Gilcrest and Krasinski’s Woody was a winner, and the quick-blooming relationship between Gilcrest and his former girlfriend’s great kids Grace and Mitchell was quite charming.

In the end, the star power of Cooper and Stone and Hawaii wins again. Aloha.

Do you think that native Hawaiians deserve a lot of screen time in a film titled Alohashot on the islands?
Are you bothered by the casting of Emma Stone to play the part of a quarter-native Hawaiian with the name of Ng? Are you interested in the space program, or are you ready to see it go away entirely?

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42 thoughts on “Did I mention that they had me from Aloha?

  1. Hey! Don’t throw out the space program! Ha! Those poor buggers on ISS would never get back. You’ve been using Russian taxi drivers for a while, when will a good North American get to fly the taxi again?

    I’ve seen the trailers and it looks good. I love that scene where Stone gets lambasted by the male lead and she just grins at him – so saucy, I love it. ha!

    i really don’t know anything about Hawaii so I’m not sure how much local talent should be used and of it is insulting to the natives that Stone’s character is 1/4 Hawaiian. Her in Canada, citizens can register as First Nations members if they only have 1/8 Native blood.

    Fun post Mark – Thank You.

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  2. I want to see this. And I want to keep the space program.

    And I think, having read this and you asking the question….if I were to be watching a movie about Hawaii I would expect and yes want to see Hawaiian’s in the movie. I can’t comment about ES playing a role in the movie. I get the “I am in love with my heritage” idea…… even if we are only “part” of that heritage. (Though I claim to be, because I am, much more than a 1/4 of that beautiful island I claim as mine. 🙂 ) And though it may not be Hawaii, it has palm trees! 😉

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  3. I wanted to see this movie this past weekend but didn’t get the chance. I see in the paper this morning it didn’t do well at the box office. But I’ll still go. I have to agree though, Emma Stone doesn’t appear to have much native blood in her.

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  4. i’ve heard mixed things about this one, but i think your take on it summed it up well. some weak parts, holes and missteps but overall okay because of the cast. not sure about emma as 1/4 asian, but i do like her as an actress. yes, i think the indigenous people should have a place in a movie that takes place in their home and i am a fan of the space program. just don’t want to be on a mission, but would rather watch from afar )

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  5. I had a choice with Felicia to see this or “Far from the Madding Crowd,” Mark. I tipped the scales showing her what Julie Christie looked like when she was in the first portrayal of this 1800 story by Thomas Hardy. We both cried but loved this movie and I highly recommend it to men and women who enjoy historical movies! We will see the other one sometime soon, though. You gave it a nice review while I am not ‘picky’ and usually like movies you suggest, Mark! You made this sound like a ‘winner!’

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    • I’m glad you got your fix of the period piece, Robin. I’m not so much for that genre. Felicia was good company, I bet, as you say you both cried for Thomas Hardy’s story.

      I think you’ll enjoy ‘Aloha’ for Hawaii and the sweet family parts.

      Like

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