“It never ... Not even once ... ever works”
May 29, 2015 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Cameron Crowe's new movie Aloha got its first bad review when Amy Pascal's emails were hacked. "I'm never starting a movie again when the script is ridiculous," she wrote. "I don't care how much I love the director and the actors." This was before anyone got wind that this was the latest of in long, disgraceful history of movies set in Hawaii that erase POC from a location where the population is only around 30% Caucasian. But as Jen Yamoto points out in The Daily Beast, "Aloha actually features one of the more prominent Asian/mixed heritage female leads in any studio movie in recent memory. She just happens to be played by Emma Stone." posted by Gin and Broadband (88 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I guess they can't all be Fury Road.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:40 PM on May 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


On the plus side, it's fun to read all the reviews that are like "I really like Cameron Crowe as a person, and his movies defined by adolescence and young adulthood, so I am going to point out that there was at least 30 seconds of this movie that was not embarrassingly awful." And then they devote like half the review to that all-important non-cringe-inducing 30 seconds. The movie sounds appalling, but you've got to be impressed by the huge amount of good will that Crowe seems to have among movie critics.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:50 PM on May 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


Even the usually quite restrained Variety goes right to the point:

"Unbalanced, unwieldy, and at times nearly unintelligible, “Aloha” is unquestionably Cameron Crowe’s worst film. Paced like a record on the wrong speed, or a Nancy Meyers movie recut by an over-caffeinated Jean-Luc Godard, the film bears all the telltale signs of a poorly executed salvage operation disfigured in the editing bay."

Ouch.
posted by Petersondub at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


Bah, mediocre!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2015 [19 favorites]


Like that Adam Samdler thing, it all sounds like such a terrible idea on paper it's difficult to conpregend how nobody at any point stopped it.
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2015


Oh, FFS.
posted by suelac at 1:55 PM on May 29, 2015


Emma Stone as "Allison Ng"? I'd like to give Crowe the benefit of the doubt and assume that her surname is a TMBG reference, but no.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:56 PM on May 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, FFS.

You rang? (unrelated to the FPP, but I couldn't resist.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:01 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


going to see San Andreas tonight with my girls. i CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by supermedusa at 2:01 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like that Adam Samdler thing

You're going to have to be more specific.
posted by yhbc at 2:03 PM on May 29, 2015 [49 favorites]


At least this means that Nathan Rabin has gotten a job after being dumped by The Dissolve.
posted by octothorpe at 2:05 PM on May 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


If you must see one film set in Hawaii, go watch Picture Bride by the late Kayo Hatta.
posted by cazoo at 2:06 PM on May 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


I really liked Elizabethtown, probably because I keyed into the "fallen angel" interpretation right from the get-go.

And I love the Freebird ending. Mawkish as hell, but I liked it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:12 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like that Adam Samdler thing

You're going to have to be more specific.



The worst one.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on May 29, 2015


I'd wager that the most successful movie to be set in Hawaii and feature a POC as a leading character was, by an enormous margin, Lilo & Stitch.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:19 PM on May 29, 2015 [121 favorites]


I'm fascinated to discover that movie executives care about objective quality of the product.
posted by bleep at 2:23 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


My wife required us to go to Elizabethtown because of Orlando Bloom. That was five hours in a movie theater I'll never get back. I'll admit, there's been a couple Cameron Crowe movies that I've enjoyed but never, never again after Elizabethtown.
posted by Ber at 2:27 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd like to give Crowe the benefit of the doubt and assume that her surname is a TMBG reference

She thinks she's Edith Head?
posted by octobersurprise at 2:27 PM on May 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


The reaction among my friends has been muted, possibly because almost everything filmed here whitewashes the islands. It's easier to list the exceptions (Hawaii 5-0, and ... that's actually the only exception I can think of at the moment). Though having Emma Stone play Asian is a twist.

There are all-white bubbles that exist, but you have to work to find them, at least in Honolulu. Even on the bases it's pretty mixed, though in movies there it's the blacks and Latinos who disappear.

Another twist: The Daily Beast article by Jan Yamamoto is as equally tone deaf as the movie. To wit:

local tradition still bristles under the weight of over a century of cultural displacement by white interlopers,

Writes the woman with the Japanese name.

And yet Crowe injects Aloha with a brief taste of local cultural concerns when Hawaiian nationalist activist and King Kamehameha descendant Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele shows up playing himself,

The only people who believe Bumpy is a descendant of Kamehameha I are Bumpy himself and his ten or so followers - as well as any outsider he can con his way into being a "cultural consultant" for.
posted by kanewai at 2:32 PM on May 29, 2015 [21 favorites]


When I first saw the previews for this I rolled my eyes a bunch but thought "okay, I guess Bradley Cooper's going to get another Oscar nomination." Never been more delighted to be wrong.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:41 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd like to give Crowe the benefit of the doubt and assume that her surname is a TMBG reference

I think the original song was Anna Ng, not Allison Ng. And now it's stuck in my head for the rest of the day...
posted by seasparrow at 2:43 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


“[Emma] Stone wears her Top Gun flight suit and Ray-Bans like a champ, but she’s supposed to read as too-eager and dorky – and it just doesn’t fly (so to speak). ‘Can you think of a way to make ‘I’m a fighter pilot’ sound sexy?’ she responds when asked why she’s single. Um, yes: Literally any way you say it, especially when you look like Stone.” – Sara Stewart, New York Post
Okay, NY Post, that earned you 30 seconds shaved off your sentence in hell.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:43 PM on May 29, 2015 [39 favorites]


It's easier to list the exceptions (Hawaii 5-0, and ... that's actually the only exception I can think of at the moment).

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" does an OK job, I think -- a couple of the resort employees are Hawaiian, and there are a couple appropriately diverse scenes off-resport.
posted by me3dia at 2:44 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


How come movies whitewash locations so much? Are people really that bothered by seeing PoC walking around? That's just so weird to me.
posted by gucci mane at 3:03 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


> How come movies whitewash locations so much?

Because the target audience is white, and white audiences are (thought to be) unable to see themselves in the movie/book/other unless they can literally see themselves. Remember, if a movie is all-male and all-white, it can still be successfully marketed as a story about Humanity. If it is majority minority in casting, then it is about that (black people, women, etc.) and their specific concerns.
posted by rtha at 3:08 PM on May 29, 2015 [62 favorites]


I thought the main point behind making shit films was to launder drug money.
posted by Renoroc at 3:47 PM on May 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think the original song was Anna Ng , not Allison Ng. And now it's stuck in my head for the rest of the day...

Oh, I'm quite familiar. But Ng is such a random and semi-inexplicable last name for a clearly non-Asian character that my mind instantly leapt to Crowe doing it purely out of a heretofore unrevealed love of '80s nerd-rock rather than the simpler explanation that he's just utterly clueless.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:56 PM on May 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just find it so depressing, that--even setting aside the utter trainwreck of the script--films are so risk-averse these days that it seemed beyond comprehension to everyone involved that if you already have Bradley Cooper and 3 other A-listers, you can totally afford to cast a new (and, gasp, nonwhite) actress as a love interest. What happened to the good old days of the "And Introducing _____" credit line?
posted by TwoStride at 4:20 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


How come movies whitewash locations so much? Are people really that bothered by seeing PoC walking around? That's just so weird to me.

See: the weird racist backlash when the character of Rue in The Hunger Games was played (rightfully) by a black actor. Never mind it's pretty clear in the book the movie is based on that Rue is black, for some reason, white audiences were bizarrely convinced that Rue was white.

In other words, what rtha said much better upthread.
posted by Kitteh at 4:34 PM on May 29, 2015 [22 favorites]


"Cameron Crowe writes movies like he's calling us in eighth grade with his heart on fire." – Alan Scherstuhl (disclosure: friend of a friend, mutual twitter follower), in the Village Voice.
posted by fedward at 4:45 PM on May 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Of course that backlash translated to lost sales not in the slightest, but Hollywood execs are a superstitious and cowardly lot.
posted by Artw at 4:46 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess this is where I admit to a soft spot for North Shore, which, say what you will, does depict tensions between locals and outsiders, and from which I learned the word haole.
posted by stargell at 4:58 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Honestly, I'm just surprised and maybe a little bit disappointed that Emma Stone (who I generally really like in things) went for it. I can see her wanting to work with a filmmaker of Crowe's stature, at least based on his pre-Jerry Maguire output and Almost Famous (which is really the exception that proves the rule with his 2000s ouvre), but man oh man I feel bad that he got her to do this.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:59 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh god, I just remembered Vanilla Sky.
posted by Artw at 5:13 PM on May 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


And yet nobody remembers "We Bought a Zoo."
posted by Navelgazer at 5:34 PM on May 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I haven't seen the film version of James Michener's novel 'Hawaii', which I thought was pretty good. The most famous old-school film set in Hawaii was probably 'From Here to Eternity'.
posted by ovvl at 5:40 PM on May 29, 2015


And yet nobody remembers "We Bought a Zoo."

I just finished reading the linked Variety article and totally had a moment of "Oh god, he was behind We Bought a Zoo?! as I lodged a disappointed frown at my screen.
posted by TwoStride at 5:47 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I remember that mainly as a series of scornful twitter jokes.
posted by Artw at 6:00 PM on May 29, 2015


Honestly, I'm just surprised and maybe a little bit disappointed that Emma Stone (who I generally really like in things) went for it.

Get paid a boatload of money to work in Hawaii for a few weeks? Tough call.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:02 PM on May 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


In Hawaii, color blind casting had been pretty much the way nearly every play has been approached for years. It's increasingly shocking and disappointing to me when I see how very wrong Hollywood gets Hawaii but also who frustrating the industry is about portraying race at all.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:04 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I think the original song was Anna Ng , not Allison Ng.

Ana Ng.
/TMBG pedant
posted by desuetude at 6:06 PM on May 29, 2015 [12 favorites]



Another twist: The Daily Beast article by Jan Yamamoto is as equally tone deaf as the movie. To wit:

local tradition still bristles under the weight of over a century of cultural displacement by white interlopers,

Writes the woman with the Japanese name.

posted by kanewai


I know Jen, and something she deals with constantly is men judging her to be a certain way based on her Japanese last name. So, it'd be better to leave the racial overtones out of the conversation.

But she totally kills it at Karaoke, so perhaps she fulfills some of your stereotypes.
posted by sideshow at 6:19 PM on May 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm choosing to go deep in the MeFi comments to announce to the world that I'm done with Cameron Crowe. I loved all the early stuff and idolized the guy for marrying Nancy Wilson, who 10-yr-old guitar lesson me thought was the pinnacle of all human females. I didn't hate Elizabethtown, and I was willing to give the guy a break for a bad stretch. But it's just awful movie after awful movie. And even the Nancy Wilson thing didn't work out.
posted by Vcholerae at 6:37 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow, I'm sorry to hear the movie really sucks. I love Hawaii and Emma Stone, but JEEBUS CHRIST this movie sounds terribly, terribly miscast. I can't believe we're casting an obviously white woman and claiming she's part Asian. What is this, Shirley MacLaine in Gambit again? (Plus what one review said about Rachel McAdams probably being too young to have kids that old.) Why the hell didn't they cast actual Asians, or properly aged folks that sound like they'd fit with the script? Could Crowe not get the movie made unless he had all white people in it? I seriously wonder.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:24 PM on May 29, 2015


octothorpe: "At least this means that Nathan Rabin has gotten a job after being dumped by The Dissolve."

Eh, I think "Special to the Globe and Mail" means it was a freelance gig.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:01 PM on May 29, 2015


Emma Stone? What, was Dakota Fanning not available?
posted by discopolo at 8:50 PM on May 29, 2015


Emma Stone? What, was Dakota Fanning not available?

Just too old to be a viable love interest for Cooper, I'd imagine.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:07 PM on May 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Just too old to be a viable love interest for Cooper, I'd imagine.

He's so believably douche-y that I'm surprised they cast him as a love interest for anyone. And I can't stop seeing how his face resembles a sloth, but a mean, uptight one.
posted by discopolo at 9:24 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Plus what one review said about Rachel McAdams probably being too young to have kids that old.)

She's 36 in real life. She could have a 13 year old and 9 yr old. She wouldn't even need to be a college dropout.
posted by discopolo at 9:29 PM on May 29, 2015


Yeah, but I think the review was saying that he and she had to have broken up at a pretty young age for her to have that level of romantic history with him specifically.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:13 PM on May 29, 2015


I know Jen, and something she deals with constantly is men judging her to be a certain way based on her Japanese last name. So, it'd be better to leave the racial overtones out of the conversation.

But she totally kills it at Karaoke, so perhaps she fulfills some of your stereotypes.


I'm not sure what stereotypes you think I'm expressing in my post.

However, I think I over edited my comment in trying to stay on point. The deleted part: I think it's disingenuous for a Japanese person to call out white cultural appropriation in Hawaii, given that both our cultures have equally complex and historically often problematic relationships with native Hawaiians.

My intent was to focus on the irony of the statement (which I stand by), not to attack or stereotype the author herself.
posted by kanewai at 10:29 PM on May 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


sideshow: "posted by kanewai ...
I know Jen, and something she deals with constantly is men judging her to be a certain way based on her Japanese last name. So, it'd be better to leave the racial overtones out of the conversation
"

Yeah, I'm going to guess that you didn't happen to notice that his username is in Hawaiian, there. You know, the folks who were 100% the first ones ever to set foot on the islands and who lived there for centuries before European colonialism started bringing in outsiders?
posted by barnacles at 10:34 PM on May 29, 2015


ooooh just to clarify: 'kanewai' is the name of the stream I live by. I'm haole.
posted by kanewai at 10:39 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Those first eight minutes are like a master-class in bad screenwriting. Like, it's exactly what you'd expect from a perhaps talented undergrad film student's first attempt at proving how clever he is (very much "he," no woman would ever write other women like that, I hope) before he'd ever gotten a mentor to slap the stupid tics out of him. Like, to the point where now I'm wondering if Cameron Crowe is secretly aging backwards, like Merlin.

Like, I know that Jerry Maquire gets little love, but compare the two openings. In both, we basically open up with a shot of Earth, from space. In Maguire the opening line is, "This is Earth, and there are over six billion people on it. When I was a kid, there were three. It's hard to keep up." This is both lightly funny, sets up the speaker as charmingly narcissistic (and the hyper-observant, action-oriented type) and readies us for fast-paced info-dumps (which a lot of Maguire consists of, especially towards the beginning.)

Cooper's opening monologue is instantly forgettable, purely exposition, and the whole sequence and that which follows is cut like a Baz Luhrmann project, but minus the motivation, point of view, grounding, and even the skill to make such a thing invigorating.

And the trouble is that I want more of this sort of thing. I want more ambitious failures so that we can get more ambitious triumphs, because Hollywood is so dishwater-dull right now. But this is pretty indefensibly bad.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:00 PM on May 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


However, I think I over edited my comment in trying to stay on point. The deleted part: I think it's disingenuous for a Japanese person to call out white cultural appropriation in Hawaii, given that both our cultures have equally complex and historically often problematic relationships with native Hawaiians.

She's from the Bay Area, so it's more of a Californian person doing the calling out.

Yeah, I'm going to guess that you didn't happen to notice that his username is in Hawaiian, there.

I noticed the name, but I know better than to ascribe any sort of cultural identity or belief system based on the words someone goes by. You know, the opposite of what is happening to Jen.
posted by sideshow at 12:55 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's been pretty great seeing the profile of this movie as it surfaces on social media, vs say, fury road.

100% of what i've heard about it, and how i heard about it in the first place has been from the angle of "can you believe they cast emma stone as a supposedly asian character? it's cloud atlas all over again!" sort of stuff. That was all i had heard about this movie until this thread. I didn't even know if it was bad or not, just that it was horribly whitewashed and miscast. And a lot of that wasn't reposts, and wasn't coming from people who even usually post or talk about movies.

It's some seriously strong negative word of mouth for a movie, independent of it being bad. I'm actually pretty impressed and can't stop thinking wow this is going to bomb.
posted by emptythought at 4:46 AM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


This sounds terrible (and the first eight minutes look terrible), and I hope it does poorly. The routine whitewashing of roles gets old and is incredibly unfair to non-white actors.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:03 AM on May 30, 2015


I really wish I'd read this thread before I went to the movies last night with several siblings I was visiting. I had heard nothing about the movie before we selected it except that it was directed by Cameron Crowe and I took that to be a good thing -- I really liked Almost Famous.

I suspected I was in trouble when the fake Pablo-Ferro titles came on the screen and things rapidly got worse from there once the movie began in earnest. It really is a bizarrely incoherent mess from a director who has previously demonstrated the ability to do much, much better. I have no idea what happened here but it wasn't good.
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:23 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


"can you believe they cast emma stone as a supposedly asian character?"

You know, maybe she was adopted. Like Navin R. Johnson.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:14 AM on May 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


And I love the Freebird ending. Mawkish as hell, but I liked it.

When the bird came out on fire I laughed hysterically. I don't have tons of moments in life when I laugh with abandon so it has stuck with me. He'll always get a personal pass from me for making me feel a primal joy.

Jesus, that's pretentious.
posted by josher71 at 7:34 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


At what point does the critical consensus for Cameron Crowe flip to "lousy"? Say Anything and Almost Famous were a looooong time ago, and *at best* he's directed four good movies (personally I would say two, although I haven't seen Jerry Maguire).
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:47 AM on May 30, 2015


Well, he wrote Fast Times, so he will also get a bit of a pass from me.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:54 PM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


How long do directors get a pass once they start descending into either hackery or awful self-indulgence? It weird and sad how so many of the bright lights of late eighties/early nineties film have not made a good film in years. Off the top of my head, some of the greats and near greats of twenty years ago, Tim Burton, Sam Raimi, Spike Lee, Peter Jackson, John Singleton, Kenneth Branagh, and a few others just keep turning out either crap or anonymous Hollywood product.
posted by octothorpe at 1:43 PM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well ... to be fair, several of those people have fairly recent movies that were pretty decent. Big Eyes was all right, Drag Me To Hell wasn't bad, Thor was fun, and so on.
posted by kyrademon at 3:21 PM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Raimi has his TV version of Evil Dead coming, fingers crossed...
posted by Artw at 4:00 PM on May 30, 2015


octothorpe! You forgot Penelope Spheeris. I still remember the day when we video store clerks finally decided to kick her out of the store's Director's section. IIRC, Little Rascals was the straw that broke the camel's back.
posted by queensissy at 6:42 PM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Big Eyes was all right, Drag Me To Hell wasn't bad, Thor was fun, and so on.

I haven't seen the Eyes or Drag but Thor was pretty bad, easily the worst MCU film. Also the point is that a Raimi or Burton film release used to be an anticipated event, not something that you dread but are occasionally pleasantly surprised by.
posted by octothorpe at 4:03 AM on May 31, 2015


but Thor was pretty bad, easily the worst MCU film

Oh how quickly they forget Iron Man II. Perhaps with good reason.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:01 AM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


IM 2 was pretty forgettable but it didn't plumb the SyFy Channel depths that Thor did.
posted by octothorpe at 9:01 AM on May 31, 2015


I *really* enjoyed Big Eyes, and it went a fair ways (with me, at least) to redeeming Tim Burton for the ghastly Alice in Wonderland.

As for Branagh, I liked Cinderella considerably more than Thor, which had good casting but the terrible CGI, weird pacing and Battlefield Earth-esque overuse of Dutch angles made it almost unwatchable for me.

And Cameron Crowe: well, I'm not as emotionally attached to him as a lot of other people seem to be. For whatever reason, I've never watched Fast Times, Say Anything or Singles.... but I really liked Jerry Maguire? So yeah. Man, I can't believe he cast EMMA STONE as a mixed-race character. That's pretty bad.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 12:18 PM on May 31, 2015


I guess they can't all be Fury Road.
posted by Itaxpica at 4:40 PM on May 29
[15 favorites +] [!]


Correct if I'm wrong but there was just one light skinned person of color with speaking lines. I spotted one dark skinned black man at the end of the movie (the happy deformed nose dude.) And there weren't any Asian people that I recall, not even extras. So either all Asian people inexplicably died in the apocalypse or we used our exceptional math and science skills to rocket off to a better planet.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 3:11 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying the casting in Fury Road isn't problematic, it's very white, but I did like this post about the women of colour that are in the film.
posted by crossoverman at 8:02 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


in addition to that, Courtney Eaton (Cheedo) is also part-Chinese.

*makes shrugged face*
posted by cendawanita at 10:04 PM on May 31, 2015


Get paid a boatload of money to work in Hawaii for a few weeks? Tough call.

In Roger Corman's autobiography, he mentioned that he liked to spend a good chunk of the (meager) budgets for his movies filming on location, as it gave him and his family free vacations to places like Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Of course, as per his trademark he'd make the most of the outlay by filming at least two movies in the same place.
posted by Gelatin at 6:43 AM on June 1, 2015


I like Emma Stone, but this is not the first time she has been in a really stupid movie, and also her second "Woody Allen not even pretending anymore to be not creepy and gross" thing is about to come out, so I am sort of starting to question her judgment.
posted by naoko at 7:48 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Woody Allen not even pretending anymore to be not creepy and gross"

Yeah, I saw the trailer for Irrational Man, about a professor curing his mid-life crisis by having an affair with a much younger college student and thought to myself, "Wow, how could anyone think this wasn't totally creepy?"
posted by octothorpe at 9:38 AM on June 1, 2015


Honestly, I'm just surprised and maybe a little bit disappointed that Emma Stone (who I generally really like in things) went for it.

I seem to recall there's a pretty rich Hollywood history of people signing on to not-yet-fully-fleshed-out projects and then being sort of stuck when it turns out (even during pre-production) to be a clusterfuck. The reason it was such a big deal when Kim Basinger backed out of Boxing Helena was that--even though it was the most sensible thing to do from an artistic standpoint--it's just simply not done and there are financial penalties attached to ensure it.
posted by psoas at 12:37 PM on June 1, 2015


That look you get when a room full of black people realise you always thought Mickey Mouse was white.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:18 PM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Slate article: "And so it happens that the truest portrayal of a native Hawaiian ever seen in a mainstream film (Kanahele) coexists with one of the most glaringly false (Stone)."
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:36 PM on June 1, 2015


Yeah, I saw the trailer for Irrational Man, about a professor curing his mid-life crisis by having an affair with a much younger college student and thought to myself, "Wow, how could anyone think this wasn't totally creepy?"

I feel dirty just reading about that.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:34 PM on June 1, 2015


Honestly, I'm just surprised and maybe a little bit disappointed that Emma Stone (who I generally really like in things) went for it.

I dunno, she was in the Help, which was so cringey. I know she's good on feminist topics but it's always good to be reminded that intersectionality is a thing and that a lot of well meaning white women just do not understand it.
posted by sweetkid at 8:04 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cameron Crowe apologizes for the Emma Stone casting, says he based the character off of a real life redhead he met. If it's based off of someone IRL, does that make it better?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:10 AM on June 3, 2015


Slate article: And so it happens that the truest portrayal of a native Hawaiian ever seen in a mainstream film (Kanahele) coexists with one of the most glaringly false (Stone).

The irony, it kills. Here's what so many mainland editorials are missing: both portrayals are equally false.

It's hard to think of a mainstream equivalent. Perhaps this: imagine if a Russian film was set in the Castro, and the only gay character was "Perez Hilton, noted gay civil rights leader and descendant of Abraham Lincoln."

Would any Russian get how off this was? Probably not. And there's no reason they would. But certainly most gay Americans would instinctively know that the film got it wrong.
posted by kanewai at 10:20 AM on June 3, 2015


Cameron Crowe apologizes for the Emma Stone casting, says he based the character off of a real life redhead he met.

It seems like he thinks that if he explains that there existed one real-life redheaded hapa who explained her heritage alot, that'll justify his decision to have a character based on that person be played by an actor who is totally not Hawaiian at all. It's like he thinks the reason that people are so upset is that people just don't know that there are redheaded hapas out there.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:02 AM on June 3, 2015


He specifically said the person that he knew did not look asian/hawaiian and that was part of the person's frustration.
"As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one"
So was he supposed to find a 1/4 chinese, 1/4 hawaiian 1/2 swedish actress who didn't look asian?
posted by exparrot at 1:11 PM on June 3, 2015


Maybe he was supposed to realize that his experience of that person might not translate super-well to non-documentary film.
posted by jaguar at 1:30 PM on June 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


He specifically said the person that he knew did not look asian/hawaiian and that was part of the person's frustration.
"As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one"


I'm biracial, and it's always a drag when people "can't tell what you are". I don't really have a lot of faith that Cameron Crowe is differentiating between 1) "the frustration that a person who is 1/4 Hawaiian, 1/4 Chinese, and 1/2 Swedish feels when living in Hawaii and her Hawaiian heritage isn't obvious to white people", 2) "the frustration that a person who is 1/4 Hawaiian, 1/4 Chinese, and 1/2 Swedish feels when living in Hawaii and her Hawaiian heritage isn't obvious to other Hawaiians", and 3) "the frustration that a person who is 1/4 Hawaiian, 1/4 Chinese, and 1/2 Swedish feels when living in Hawaii and having everyone assume that she's totally white."
posted by 23skidoo at 1:49 PM on June 3, 2015


I think Faraci over at BMD has a pertinent point about the apology: This is where the lack of other representation fails the film. If there were other main characters who were Hawaiian (or at the very least Asian) the Ng character wouldn't have felt like such an off note. When the only serious Asian representation in a movie is an alabaster woman with the biggest eyes anyone has ever had audiences (the few who went, anyway) get a weird feeling. Another Asian character relating to Ng on some level would have helped; even the fact that Bumpy likes her doesn't help, as Allison simply comes across as someone who is super into the Hawaiian culture, like Rachel McAdams' most assuredly not-Hawaiian son.
posted by cendawanita at 7:08 PM on June 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


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