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Aloha has Native Hawaiians and film critics in a rage

Native Hawaiians are furious over the lack of characters and actors in the film that are of Hawaiian descent. But the real problem with Aloha is that writer/director Cameron Crowe seems to have forgotten all the great filmmaking techniques he honed while making his previous movies. What gives?

With a current rating of 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems the film Aloha, starring Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone, didn’t exactly wow critics. In fact, Variety calls it Cameron Crowe’s “worst film,” saying the movie is “unbalanced, unwieldy, and at times nearly unintelligible.” That would be incredibly harsh if it weren’t true. But sadly, it is.

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Writer/director Crowe is best known for amazing films like Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous. We loved those films. Most of us could quote from at least one if not all three of them. But with great success, a director is bound to have a few misses. Elizabethtown, starring Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom, was a miss. And so is Aloha.

But with such a talented cast and great locale, how did Aloha get so far off target? We have to say it must have been the script. It’s almost as if Crowe decided it would be fun to spend time in Hawaii, and this was the most commercial story he could come up with.

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It was a bad omen when leaked emails from former Sony Pictures co-chief Amy Pascal said the screenplay, “Never, not even once, works.” But worse were the emails Pascal wrote to some Hawaiian groups that were concerned their native culture would get stepped over. Though their complaints came in before even seeing the film, it seems their apprehensiveness was justified.

According to the New York PostThe Media Action Network for Asian Americans released a statement about the film, saying, “Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the population [of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you’d think they made up 99 percent. This comes in a long line of films — The Descendants, 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, Pearl Harbor — that uses Hawaii for its exotic backdrop but goes out of its way to exclude the very people who live there. It’s an insult to the diverse culture and fabric of Hawaii.”

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Add on top of that, the fact that Emma Stone’s character is supposed to be a quarter Native Hawaiian, creates a bit of a disconnect. We’re not saying a person of Hawaiian descent can’t have blond hair or blue eyes, but it does seem unfair not to cast someone who is the real deal.

Crowe is currently in preproduction for the TV movie Roadies, and we sincerely hope he brings his exciting sense of storytelling back for that one.

Aloha opens in theaters today.

Do you think Native Hawaiian groups have a right to be upset? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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