Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
I loved this movie. I loved the way this movie made me feel. When it was over, I watched it again. I couldn't stop smiling.
Cameron Crowe makes wonderful movies. The wit of his dialogue, the nuances in the acting, the perfect musical choices, they're all present here. This cast is outstanding, especially... well, all of them. I didn't want to applaud this cast when it was over; I wanted to hug them. And Hawaii! The movie makes the most of its beautiful setting, and pays what I consider fair tribute to its native people and their culture.
The casting of lily-white Emma Stone as a part-native Hawaiian has been criticized, but she plays the part so perfectly that I can't wish for anyone else. Another problem is a scene that, shall we say, very fancifully imagines how computers work; Hollywood has a long ignoble history of showing unrealistic computers, and this scene is one for the record books. But it's done so artfully that I almost didn't mind.
Crowe has a particular gift for reunion scenes (the boombox held overhead, "you had me at hello"). Here he ends the film with two good ones and a great one. No words even need to be said; the final scene just works. How many movies give you moments this perfect? This movie is magical.
Scott Hardie: Having just watched this again, I stand by my original reaction, and my opinion that certain scenes are perfect. But I do also acknowledge what critics saw when they reviewed it much less favorably than I did, mainly that the plot is generic and the dialogue is sometimes very awkward. Cameron Crowe worked on this screenplay for a decade, so I suspect that the words once sounded right in his head when he wrote them, but they just don't sound natural coming out of Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone's mouths, and the dialogue should have been tweaked (or tweaked more) once the actors were cast. I have no idea whether the notoriously meddlesome Sony (whose executives were quite critical of Aloha in emails leaked during the fracas over The Interview) made this movie better or worse by tinkering with it prior to release, but I'm not inclined to give them any benefit of the doubt. Still, good movie or bad movie, I just really loved this. − September 27, 2015 more by Scott
Samir Mehta: I get your points. There ARE standout scenes. Emma Stone is wonderful (as are McAdams, Baldwin, and Kracinski). But there's just some emotional weirdness that was hard for me to get around.
And what's with the kids?? Were they like rooting for their parents' divorce? So confusing.
I wonder how much of my opinion was tainted by your positive one - I love Cameron Crowe and I think you have great taste. So I was hoping for awesomeness and I just didn't feel it. − December 27, 2015 more by Samir
Scott Hardie: I hate to think that I could have caused hypekill for anyone, but it happens. I have to be honest about my reaction.
The kids weren't hoping for any divorce; they were glad to see their parents together throughout the film. They just liked Cooper's character. Everyone liked him, a lot, automatically, which was one of the problems with the film. He's varying degrees of rude depending on his mood, and yet everyone is drawn to him, because the plot requires them to be. − December 29, 2015 more by Scott
Samir Mehta: “It sucked.”
I used to like Cameron Crowe. A lot. Say Anything is great, Singles is underrated, and Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies. I also loved Vanilla Sky. (I really don't like Jerry Maguire. It has many of the problems Aloha has but not nearly all.)
This is a rambling, confusing movie with perhaps the most implausible character I've seen in a romantic comedy. It's not a stretch to imagine Bradley Cooper as some bizarro James Bond figure. (He has seemingly immense experience in signal processing, aviation, and battle.). The little happy moment I had is realizing the movie even weirdly has a super villain who I won't name.
I'm just getting started. Almost every character lives outside any recognizable reality. And I haven't even gotten into the Emma Stone as Hawaiian problem.
This was a deeply disappointing movie which makes me so harsh. Every actor and Crowe could do so much better.
Scott Hardie: I could accept Cooper's character knowing about aviation, since the film was set among aviation experts on a Air Force base. But the hacking? That just came out of left field. The hacking/satellite scene was an extremely unrealistic scene in a generally unrealistic movie. − December 26, 2015 more by Scott