We all remember Gabe’s search for the WMOAT (#RIP). I can’t do justice to his comprehensive articles examining the cinematic failures of our time, but since Cameron Crowe’s Aloha is our generation’s Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown, I’d like to give a
brief very long explanation of why this movie is so terrible. Consider this your spoiler alert: I’ll be laying out the plot of the movie but even bigger SPOILER ALERT, I cannot recommend that you actually watch Aloha so you shouldn’t care about plot spoilers.
The most exciting thing that happened in Aloha was halfway through when I realized there was a huge fireworks display going on outside my apartment even though it was midnight on a Tuesday. As with most things in LA, the Kardashians were to blame. I was actually really disappointed to have to go back to this movie to finish watching it, but I’d already dropped the buck fifty at Redbox so I saw it through to the end.
Okay. I’m not a great movie analyzer, so I’m just going to present the plot to you as I remember it without doing any research. Ready? Strap in.
The movie starts with a super long credits sequence showing black and white footage of Hawaiian things such as hula dancing and I was about to fast forward when Bradley Cooper’s voice played some kind of introduction about how he used to be in the military (?) and space program (?) until he got seriously wounded in Afghanistan and was sidelined, but now he’s on his way to Hawaii to get back in the game. I don’t know which game. I know it’s not basketball or Scrabble, that much I can confirm, but otherwise I have no idea what game we might be talking about.
At this point, Aloha splits into three different movies. It feels like Cameron Crowe wrote three scripts and randomly edited scenes from them into one film, so as we cut from one scene to the next, you don’t really know what’s going on or why.
In the first script, John Krasinski is flying a plane with Bradley Cooper on it and tells him “Tracy’s going to freak out!” OK Jim Halpert, thanks for that helpful piece of exposition! So they land in Hawaii and everyone seems really jovial then the camera pans to what looks like a coffin holding a dead soldier so I’m having trouble reading the mood of this movie. Bradley reconnects with the aforementioned Tracy, played by Rachel McAdams, and she introduces him to her kids. Boy is like 9, girl is 12, and “hey kids, this is Bradley Cooper whom I haven’t seen in THIRTEEN YEARS” — do the math on babies, you guys!!!!! This is foreshadowing!
It turns out John Krasinki is married to Rachel McAdams, and even though Bradley Cooper never once makes a move on her, the marriage is threatened then saved over the course of the film. We are also shocked (NOT SHOCKED) to discover that the daughter is actually Bradley Cooper’s! And the way the girl finds out is that BC stands outside her dance class watching her do the hula (v. creepy), she notices him, looks at him, realizes he’s her dad, runs outside to hug him, then goes back inside to continue doing the hula. Also, John Krasinski stops speaking and communicates only telepathically and there are SUBTITLES!!! This is not a joke, it’s a real thing that happens!
In the second script, Emma Stone is a HALF-ASIAN fighter pilot who hates weapons and loves Hawaii. She and BC fall in love, of course, and there’s a montage of them shopping together. She’s upset about losing her sunglasses until BC shows her that a doctor sewed someone else’s big toe on to his when he got blown up in Afghanistan so she can’t complain about anything.
In the third script, Bradley works for a billionaire doing something that is never explained but he’s in Hawaii to convince a local tribe (?) to let them build a gate for some reason. His boss, Bill Murray, gives him a flash drive showing he’s going to attach a weapon to his satellite that’s being launched into space soon. Bradley is unfazed by this information.
So then Emma Stone goes over to someone’s house to thank them for a dinner party, and finds a little boy who carries a video camera everywhere reviewing some footage that he took in the middle of the night two days before, hahahaha apparently he snuck onto a military base and his parents didn’t even know he’d left the house. She instantly realizes that there is a truck carrying a weapon for the satellite, which is against the space treaty of the 1960s!!!!!, and further realizes that Bradley knew about this the whole time, that scoundrel! But she doesn’t do anything about it except pout.
All of a sudden, Chinese hackers have infilitrated the satellite and only Bradley Cooper can stop them! Up to this point we had no information about him being a computer expert, but okay! He saves the day by kicking out the hackers as the rocket is launching into space, and Emma Stone sits next to him pouting because she doesn’t want a weapon in space. So BC decides to aim every television recording in history at the satellite even though there’s no sound in space and eventually it blows up! At first he’s in a lot of trouble but when the military realizes there was a NUCLEAR (first mention of that detail) weapon on the satellite, they’re very happy. Then he finds Emma Stone and they walk off into the Hawaiian sunset together.
I’m not making up any of this plot description. I love Cameron Crowe so much — he’s a FOPJ! (Friend of Pearl Jam) But I have no idea how this movie got made.