johnlink ranks ALOHA (2015)

Back for my first review of 2016 as I start my 8th year writing on johnlinkmovies. I’m still working on my 2015 recap (I’m sure everyone is waiting with baited breath), but it’ll come out when it comes out. In the meantime, I’m hoping to watch much more of a variety of films as last year devolved into a science-fiction, horror, action theme with just a few smatterings of classic films or dramas. I plan to do a lot of different stuff this year. We’ll see if I am still saying this in a few months as my brain fries further and further and I seek mindless entertainment.


I watched ALOHA (2015) on 1.4.16. It was my first viewing of the film.

This is a movie with a bunch of stars and a low rating (5.5) on IMDb. That is usually enough to scare me away. But Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone are two of my favorite actresses. I’ll see anything with Bill Murray. Also, Bradley Cooper rarely makes bad stuff and ditto Cameron Crowe. So with all that said, ALOHA was one I wanted to see though I went in with low expectations.

But, surprisingly, this is a really nice little movie. Perhaps more could have been done with the Stone-McAdams-Cooper triangle in terms of making a major movie (I’d love to see these three in an AMERICAN HUSTLE type movie), but this doesn’t deserve to be ignored. Cameron Crowe has made a weird movie set in Hawaii, and one that is not afraid to believe in the mythology and magic of the locale. He doesn’t paint this magic as an otherworldly sort of fantasy, but instead infuses it as just a part of the real world.

The story has former special forces op turned civilian, Brian (Bradley Cooper) arriving in Hawaii for the first time since a major accident nearly killed him. He hasn’t been to Hawaii in over a decade, and left behind a girlfriend, Tracy (Rachel McAdams) who has married another army pilot (John Krasinski) and had a couple of kids. Brian is to get some local Hawaiians to negotiate a land deal in order that an Army General (Alec Baldwin) and Brian’s billionaire boss (Bill Murray) might build a brand new army base. Brian is assisted by the one quarter Hawaiin Ng (Emma Stone) who is a rising military pilot herself.

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This is a movie about a few different things. It is primarily about Brian discovering himself through an old love interest and a potential new love interest. It is a movie about the privatization of space flight being a potential for military might from someone other than the U.S. Military. It is a film about doing the right thing and making the right choices.

The characters are likable, even if the plot is mostly predictable. Some of the twists are easy to see from the start, but the characters are strong enough for this to not matter. Emma Stone, in particular, is really great in this as she plays a woman who tries to fit into a man’s world even if she is living a little bit of a lie in doing so. Bradley Cooper isn’t stretched artistically here, but his Brian his a strong enough leading man to carry the film. Rachel McAdams seems like she is wasted for the first three-quarters of the film before getting her moments to shine in -what is overall – a very strong third act.

It’s understandable to see why this isn’t a movie for everyone. This has a little more meat than a standard romantic comedy, but isn’t a true character-based dramatic comedy like something along the lines of THE DESCENDANTS. Instead, it walks a weird middle of the road where the scenarios are funny and the characters are likable and there is just enough meat and just enough magic to make this a weird little niche film.

This is one I would watch again. My wife really loved it too. This is a movie which is much better than its IMDb rating would indicate.




FINAL SCORE: 7 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on January 5, 2016.

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