Aloha (2015 film)
Aloha is a 2015 American romantic comedy film written, produced and directed by Cameron Crowe. The film, starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride and Alec Baldwin, was released on May 29, 2015. The film received generally negative reviews from critics and grossed just $26 million against a production budget of $52 million, making the film a box office bomb.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Cameron Crowe|
|Written by||Cameron Crowe|
|Music by||Jónsi & Alex|
|Edited by||Joe Hutshing|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
20th Century Fox
|Box office||$26.3 million|
Military contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) returns to Hawaii to organize a traditional blessing for a new pedestrian gate on behalf of billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray), who intends to develop nearby land into a space center. Following a celebrated military career that ended in shadowy deals in Afghanistan, the now disillusioned Gilcrest is tasked with negotiating a deal with the Native Hawaiians and supporting Carson's launch of a privately-funded satellite. Gilcrest's mission is complicated by his former girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams), now married with two children, and his idealistic Air Force liaison, Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone), whose wide-eyed fascination with space reminds him of his own childhood sense of wonder.
Gilcrest and Ng travel to meet King Kanahele at his isolated community to negotiate a deal for his participation in the gate blessing ceremony. Along the way, Ng tries to engage Gilcrest in conversation about his life and work but is unable to break through his cynicism. When they meet the king, Ng, who is part Hawaiian, bonds with him and his companions, identifying with their spiritual view of the land and sky. After prolonged negotiations, Gilcrest brokers a deal for the king's participation in exchange for two mountains and free cell phone service. The next night, Gilcrest and Ng have dinner at Tracy's house, where they meet her husband Woody (John Krasinski) and their two children, Grace and Mitch. At one point, Gilcrest and Tracy find themselves alone in the kitchen, where she admits that she loved him and had plans to make a life with him before he abandoned her thirteen years ago.
The next evening, they attend Carson's Christmas party, where General Dixon (Alec Baldwin) tells Gilcrest not to screw up their deal with the Hawaiians. One of the general's men hands Gilcrest a thumb drive containing top secret information for the upcoming satellite launch. During the party, Gilcrest becomes attracted to Ng, who is having fun dancing with Carson. Afterwards, Ng joins Gilcrest in his room while he recounts his experiences in Kabul, where he almost died. He tells her that this was the first night he was truly happy to be living, and the two have sex. The next day, Ng discovers that Carson's satellite will actually carry a nuclear payload. When she tries to resign, her colonel tells her it is a private operation run by Carson and that Gilcrest is aware of the details. Later she confronts Gilcrest in tears for lying to her and the Hawaiians.
Meanwhile, Woody and Tracy confront each other about recent tensions in their marriage, which he believes were caused by Gilcrest's arrival. They agree to separate. The next morning, Tracy shows up at Gilcrest's hotel and reveals that Grace is his daughter. Later that day, after the successful blessing of the new pedestrian gate, Gilcrest learns that the Chinese are attempting to hack the satellite's code to prevent the impending launch. He rushes to the command center and undermines the hackers' efforts. As he watches the satellite enter geosynchronous orbit, he realizes what he's done and its impact on Ng, whom he has come to love. Quickly, he orders a massive sonic upload to be sent to space, and he and Ng hold hands as they watch the satellite explode. Believing Ng's continued association with him will ruin her promising career, he tells her they should not see each other again.
Carson is not pleased with the destruction of his satellite and confronts Gilcrest, who tells him he cannot "buy the sky". General Dixon is also incensed by Gilcrest's actions, threatening to prosecute him.
Gilcrest returns to Tracy's house, where she reads him a moving love letter from Woody. Gilcrest tells her she belongs with her husband and she encourages him to go after Ng. Woody comes home and sees Gilcrest in his house. Woody tells Gilcrest he knows Gilcrest is Grace's father. He asks Gilcrest if he slept with Tracy while he was gone. Gilcrest tells Woody he slept with Ng and not with his wife. Woody goes into the living room where Tracy is cleaning up. She sees Woody and they both run into each other's arms, then are joined by Grace and Mitch. Gilcrest leaves the house while the happy family reunion continues.
General Dixon soon learns that Gilcrest was telling the truth about the nuclear weapons payload and praises him for what he's done, revealing that authorities will soon be taking Carson into custody. Outside the hotel, Gilcrest finds Ng, who is preparing to leave. He tells her he loves her, is staying in Hawaii and will be waiting for her to return. Later that night, Gilcrest stands outside Grace's hula class and watches her dance. She notices him, he nods at her and she suddenly realizes he is her father. With tears of joy in her eyes, she runs outside and embraces him then returns to her class to continue her hula dancing.
- Bradley Cooper as Brian Gilcrest, a military contractor who is told by his ex-girlfriend that he has a biological daughter.
- Emma Stone as Captain Allison Ng, an Air Force pilot.
- Rachel McAdams as Tracy Woodside, the ex-girlfriend of Brian, who is married to Woody and with two children.
- Bill Murray as Carson Welch, a billionaire intending to develop Hawaiian land.
- John Krasinski as John "Woody" Woodside, Tracy's husband.
- Danny McBride as Colonel "Fingers" Lacy
- Alec Baldwin as General Dixon
- Bill Camp as Bob Largent
- Michael Chernus as Roy
- Danielle Rose Russell as Grace, Brian's biological daughter and Tracy's oldest child.
- Jaeden Martell as Mitchell, Tracy and Woody's son.
- Edi Gathegi as Lieutenant Colonel Curtis
- Ivana Miličević as Carson's biographer
- Bumpy Kanahele as himself
On July 31, 2013, Alec Baldwin joined the cast of the film. There was a casting call for extras on August 29 on Oahu. Cooper went to Hawaii on September 14, twelve days before filming began.
On October 7, it was announced that principal photography was still underway in Hawaii. Stone received ground training on how to fly the Piper PA44-180 Seminole airplane from Rob Moore, Chief Instructor Pilot of Galvin Flight Services Hawaii, who later flew the airplane near Ka'a'awa Valley for the inflight shots. Moore acted as the aviation technical advisor. Cooper was filming in downtown Honolulu on December 18 and 19. On February 2, 2015, Sony Pictures stated that the film's final title would be Aloha; the previous working titles were Deep Tiki and Volcano Romance.
The musical score for Aloha was composed by Jónsi & Alex, following Jónsi's collaboration with Crowe on We Bought a Zoo (2011). Originally, Mark Mothersbaugh said in May 2014 that he was going to score the film. A soundtrack album was released on May 26, 2015 by Madison Gate Records and Sony Legacy.
Aloha grossed $21.1 million in North America and $5.2 million in other territories for a total gross of $26.3 million, against a $37 million budget.
In North America, Aloha opened simultaneously with the disaster film San Andreas. It made $500,000 from Thursday night showings at 2,275 theaters and an estimated $3.5 million on its opening day from 2,815 theaters. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $9.7 million, finishing 6th at the box office. The film earned $1.65 million in its opening weekend overseas from 7 countries. Australia and New Zealand had an opening weekend combined of $1.5 million and Brazil opened with $240,000. The film went directly to video on demand in the UK and France.
Pamela McClintock at The Hollywood Reporter estimated that the financial losses by the film finished to around $65 million by the time the film ended its global theatrical run, based on a budget of "$37 million-plus".
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According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 20% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 161 reviews, with an average rating of 4.31/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Meandering and insubstantial, Aloha finds writer-director Cameron Crowe at his most sentimental and least compelling." At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 40 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Aloha an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.
The film was nominated for three Teen Choice Awards: Bradley Cooper for Choice Movie Actor: Comedy; Emma Stone for Choice Movie Actress: Comedy; and the film itself in the category of Choice Movie: Comedy. 
The Media Action Network for Asian Americans accused the director and studio of whitewashing the cast, and Crowe apologized about Emma Stone being miscast as a character who is meant to be of one quarter Chinese and one quarter Hawaiian descent.
In June 2015, Crowe responded to the backlash: "I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice. As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud one quarter Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that."
Sony Pictures defended the film's portrayal of Hawaiian culture stating, "While some have been quick to judge a movie they haven't seen and a script they haven't read, the film "Aloha" respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people."
Stone later said she regretted letting herself be miscast, and acknowledged whitewashing as a prevalent problem in Hollywood. However, she echoed Crowe's defense of her casting: "The character was not supposed to look like her background which was a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese."
During the 2019 Golden Globes Awards, host Sandra Oh made a joke that Crazy Rich Asians "was the first studio film with an Asian American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha." Emma Stone interrupted Oh's monologue by shouting in the background "I'm sorry!" in response.
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