Here's what I don't like about the Aloha trailer (besides no pre-screenings of the film): when Cameron Crowe's name comes on screen it's followed by quick, dramatic drumbeats and the words: "writer/director of Jerry Maguire."
Crowe has much better films to brag about: Almost Famous is one of the best rock 'n' roll movies ever made, Singles pretty much defined '90s Seattle grunge before '90s Seattle grunge even got popular. Say Anything is perhaps the greatest date movie of all time and don't forget that Crowe's breakthrough script was 1982's still-legendary Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
For sure, director Amy Heckerling (Clueless) added some magic to that one but the script was based on Crowe's own book, published the year before when he was just 24 years old.
All this, and still it's Jerry Maguire that Hollywood thinks will make people want to go to the movies. For my money that's not even Crowe's best Tom Cruise flick, Vanilla Sky was way better (and it broke Penelope Cruz as a huge star in North America. She is incredible.) The lesson here is that Crowe is awesomer than Hollywood thinks you think.
But what about Aloha? It opens this week at the Village 8 with a truly stacked cast. Emma Stone (Superbad, The Help) in a military uniform is enough to get my money, but this one also stars Bradley Cooper (American Hustle, The A-Team), Danny McBride (Pineapple Express, Hot Rod), Canadian Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, Mean Girls), Alec Baldwin (Beetlejuice), Jay Baruchel (Goon) and Bill Freakin' Murray! You can't go wrong with Bill Murray.
Except the trailer for Aloha makes the film look like garbage and the music they pick in the trailer is very worrisome. Perhaps the reason they hype this by referencing Jerry Maguire is because the same cheese dicks (and cheese vaginas — I'm trying to wean the sexism out of my column) who liked that will like this. Crowe is (was?) a genius and these actors are incredible but no press screenings during summer blockbuster season is almost never a good sign. I hope I'm wrong but this looks like ass. Venture forth at your own risk.
Speaking of risk, we could all die any minute if the giant, overdue "big one" earthquake hits. So what better time for a West Coast earthquake disaster flick starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson? San Andreas also opens this week, and while that fault line is a long way from us here in Whistler-town the sentiment is similar: we're living on borrowed geologic time and it can all fall apart in an instant.
No pre-screenings on this one either (WTF?) but here's what worries me based on the trailer: 1) Paul Giamatti, yes I know he is very skilled but I still don't like his, movies. 2) Director Brad Peyton's resume includes Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. And that's it.
What I like about San Andreas: The Rock never phones it in; you could hand that guy something written by a pre-schooler on dung-beetle papyrus paper and he would give it his all. As a wrestler, Dwayne Johnson used to have to put his hand down his jockstrap and then smack dudes in the face with his own ballsweat. So he can handle a formulaic disaster flick with both a rekindled love interest and a child-in-danger subplot.
The Rock will not be the problem here and if you expect little more than some not-great/not-terrible CGI destruction and always-hot/awesome Carla Gugino (Son in Law, Sin City), this one will be worth the price of popcorn. Don't expect to remember it this time next week though.
Of course, Mad Max: Fury Road is still playing, in 3D, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all week. This is the most complete action flick since The Dark Knight (with even better action) and one of the most visually interesting movies I've seen in years.
Crazy that director George Miller, after hammering out the original three Mad Max films back in the '80s, has more recently been making pure kiddie stuff like both Babe movies and both Happy Feet. Then he throws down another Mad Max out of nowhere. Happy Feet, indeed.
The downloads of the week are two incredible flicks Miller produced back in the day: 1989's Dead Calm is a home-invasion set on a sailboat and provided the breakout role for Nicole Kidman (suck it, Days of Thunder) and Bangkok Hilton, also starring Kidman, was actually a TV miniseries about a young woman caught smuggling heroin and imprisoned in a hellhole prison in Bangkok while her estranged father struggles to free her.
It's like Midnight Express with chicks and 270 minutes long. Worth every second.