On paper, Cameron Crowe’s “Aloha” seemed to have the potential to become a powerful film, with a scenic backdrop in Hawaii, a one-generation voice filmmaker, and a cast starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin and Bill Murray.
But it was only on paper. In reality, the film failed to make the top five at the box office last weekend, crushed under the weight of harsh criticism, accusations of cultural hijacking and pirated emails revealing backstage chatter.
The film – which debuted in sixth place, raising $ 10 million – faced a number of challenges ahead of release, including tough reviews and title controversy, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for the Rentrak box office tracker.
“‘Aloha’ was clearly a softer kind of romantic comedy that didn’t resonate in a way that all those rooting for Cameron Crowe have hoped for since his heyday,” Dergarabedian said. And although Crowe has shot flagship films like “Say Anything,” “Jerry Maguire,” and “Almost Famous,” his production over the past 10 years, Dergarabedian said, “has met a mixed response from audiences and critics. ”
The commotion behind the scenes
Last year’s hack on Sony Pictures US: SNE
revealed the inner workings of a major movie studio while revealing some of Hollywood’s darkest secrets.
The Daily Beast reported Sony’s hacked emails revealed that Amy Pascal, then studio manager, was not happy with Crowe’s finished product, previously titled “Deep Tiki.” She wrote in an email: “I never do a movie again when the script is ridiculous. I don’t care how much I love the director and the actors ”, and“ It never … [n]not even once… never works.
The first indication of problems on set came in a December 2013 email from Bradley Cooper which detailed his concerns about the scheduling issues. The actor writes to Pascal: “It was a very, very, very tough movie here in Hawaii.” Although after filming, the issue is apparently resolved, with Cooper telling Pascal that he thinks she will be happy with the film, according to the report.
In March 2014, Crowe reached out to Pascal, encouragingly writing that he captured the spirit of the much-loved “Say Anything”. Although, according to the report, he continues to hit Bill Murray’s performance: “Frankly, we have great options on all performances except Bill Murray… which is pretty much what you’ve seen.”
Another email uncovered in the Sony hack reveals Pascal’s underlying concern about the film’s script, and then, in October 2014, Pascal castigates producer Scott Rudin’s request for a reprise. In another email sent to Crowe and Rudin, Pascal launches more criticism of the narrative and the characters in the film, and Rudin seems to agree with Pascal’s assessment.
Crowe seems confused in his response to Pascal and Rudin, according to the report:
“I don’t really understand what you are saying here. … I’ve been chasing everyone’s notes for a year now, most of them conflicting with each other… and it will end with the same people, arguing over the same conflicting notes, in a theater lobby where we did a preview. Most of the time this all sounds like French to me, very elegant, but not a language that I can fully translate.
Pascal, a few days later, bombards the filmmaker with a series of e-mails which say: “YOUR [sic] AVOID ME, PLEASE CALL “and” You can’t avoid me forever “.
Locking in a dismal 18% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Aloha” is one of the lowest-rated films so far this year. the New York Daily News called the movie “meh”, writing that it “isn’t horrible, but it smells pitiful, like a dog sitting too long on the beach.” … Everyone just seems to be trying too hard.
the New York Times recommends that moviegoers “say goodbye, no hello, to Cameron Crowe’s ‘Aloha’” and expands: cinema. “
Weekly entertainment wrote that the movie tried too hard to be like ‘Say Anything’, ‘Jerry Maguire’ or ‘Almost Famous’, and that it’ really looks like ‘Elizabethtown’ on the downers. second.
“Almost impossible to watch” is how the Seattle Times describes the film, assigning the audience this task: “[S]stay home and watch a better Crowe movie instead, and think about what went wrong.
The Boston Globe wrote that the film was a mess, had nothing to say and that Crowe’s touch as a filmmaker seemed “almost completely lost”.
The aisle seat reviewer calls “Aloha” the new “Gigli” and writes: “Watching Aloha is like reading all the other chapters in a book. You can follow the basic plot, but the details don’t add up. So much seems to be missing.
The Media Action Network for Asian-Americans, a group that advocates for balanced coverage of Asian-Americans in films, denounced Sony Pictures in May over the film’s cast of mostly white actors with very few Asian-Americans. or Pacific Islanders.
“Sixty percent of Hawaii’s population is Asian or Pacific Islander Americans,” MANAA Founding Chairman Guy Aoki said in a statement, adding that the film’s casting was an insult to the public. diverse culture of Hawaii. “Caucasians are only 30% of the population, but watching this movie you would think they are 90%.”
Current MANAA chairman Aki Aleong said he believes the studio has ignored a larger potential audience. “Watch the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies where 75% of the paying audience is made up of people of color,” Aleong said. “There are a lot of talented actors from the Asian Pacific Islands who could have played important roles in this film.”
The casting of Emma Stone as Allison Ng, a character in the film believed to be a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese, brought more accusations of “whitewashing” and promoting Hollywood history. white actors representing minorities.
Crowe said in a Twitter Q&A with IMDB that he had family roots in Hawaii and that his goal was to delve deeper into the history of the state: “Not only was the local community so inspiring to us, we wanted to hire a lot of them as actors and make sure we respect help to educate everyone on the mainland about Hawaii’s rich history and culture.