It seemed like for every top star who got to take a victory lap, another time around the track ended in a face-plant. Here’s how the scorecards shook out.
Two months after the release of Cameron Crowe’s Aloha and the controversy surrounding the director’s decision to cast Emma Stone as an Asian-American woman, Stone herself has weighed in on the backlash.
Speaking to an Australian news outlet, Stone said she has “learned on a macro level about the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is.”
Welcome back to the latest installment of Ask the Critic, the weekly column where I attempt to answer your most pressing movie queries. In this week’s edition, we’ll wrestle in the thorny briar patch of spoilers, hypothesize about the future of Quentin Tarantino, and ruminate on the up-and-down career travails of one Mr. Bradley Cooper. Let’s get into it…
Why would you put such a huge spoiler (about Jude Law’s character) in your Spy review? I would’ve liked to have been surprised by that, since I wouldn’t have seen it coming. And you weren’t even revealing it to make a point about the film’s quality. If you’re incapable of writing reviews without spoiling the films you’re reviewing, you shouldn’t be writing reviews. And I certainly won’t be reading them any more. —Josh Mills
Spoiler alert: this response about spoilers contains spoilers.
First off, let me apologize for mentioning something that happens in the first third of a movie that may—or may not, in fact—be a spoiler (you’ll know what I mean, if and when you’ve seen the movie). I’m not trying to sound dismissive or flip, but when I was writing the review, I actually did give this one serious thought and decided that this bit of plot information wasn’t that integral to audience’s enjoyment of the film and therefore fair game. After reading your question, though, I’m open to the idea that I may have been wrong. I certainly understand how frustrating and annoying these sorts of reveals can be. I’ll even give you a personal example. Back in 1987, I’m pretty sure that I was the world’s biggest Kevin Costner fan. And this was before Bull Durham and Dances With Wolves turned him into a really huge deal. After watching him take down Al Capone as Eliot Ness in 1987’s The Untouchables I was convinced he was pretty much the cat’s ass. So I couldn’t have been more stoked to see his next movie, a Cold War thriller called No Way Out, which I’d already heard featured a steamy backseat-of-a-limo seduction scene with Sean Young. Sold!
Aloha didn’t have audiences at hello. In its opening weekend in theaters, the romantic dramedy written and directed by Jerry Maguire filmmaker Cameron Crowe failed to crack the top five of new movies in wide theatrical release, grossing a lackluster $10 million.
Accepting Emma Stone as an Asian-American in Aloha requires a certain suspension of disbelief and no small amount of magical thinking. In the Hawaii-set romantic comedy-drama, she portrays Allison Ng: an aggressively peppy Air Force fighter pilot of Chinese-Hawaiian-Swedish decent who falls for an existentially angst-y military contractor played by Bradley Cooper.
Bill Murray’s affection for his Zombieland co-star Emma Stone is no secret—it was their friendship and the promise of working together again that initially lured Murray to Cameron Crowe’s Aloha—but the actor went above and beyond for his co-star on the Hawaii set of their film.
How rough are things for Cameron Crowe’s Aloha? Even Elizabethtown, the director’s high-profile 2005 flop, had a better score on Rotten Tomatoes.
It happens. Really talented directors sometimes step into the batter’s box, take a gigantic swing, and whiff. The only mystery is why it doesn’t happen more often. All of which is to say that you are about to read a lot of scathing reviews of Cameron Crowe’s latest film Aloha in the next couple of days that may or may not employ a lot of “Bad Lei” puns. But the unfortunate, inescapable truth is, the movie really is that terrible. It’s especially surprising considering the source.
A spokesperson for Sony defended Cameron Crowe’s Aloha on Tuesday following charges that the film depicted a white-washed version of the Hawaiian islands.
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