Cameron Crowe has had an interesting career. Beginning as a music journalist for Rolling Stone magazine, he’s profiled such legends as Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Carole King and Joni Mitchell. If that weren’t enough to make him the coolest dude at every cocktail party, he’s gone on to script some of the most iconic moments in cinematic history: John Cusack holding a boom box outside his girlfriend’s window in Say Anything, Billy Crudup and team singing their hearts out to ‘Tiny Dancer’ in Almost Famous, and Cuba Gooding Jr. yelling ‘show me the money’ in Jerry Maguire… He’s arguably a genius at depicting human fallibility, and our capability to change for the better.
If you need a director to restore your faith in humanity, Crowe’s your man.
He hit a few road bumps with Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown and We Bought a Zoo, but there’s something twinkly and nostalgic about his latest trailer, Aloha, (which in all honesty could just be Bradley Cooper’s eyes) that makes me think he’s pulled a comeback out of the bag.
Crowe is a master at feel-good. There are times he wades a little too deep into the saccharine pool, but mostly his narratives and dialogue land on the right side of sentimental. He knows how to tug on his audience’s heartstrings, but in a way that’s believable and uplifting.
His heroes are generally wearied idealists in great need of a renewed perspective, often taking the form of a young, spirited woman, leading said protagonist back to the path of greatness. Crowe is a hopeless, unashamed romantic, and when you’ve watched one too many ‘historical biopics’ or ‘gritty crime dramas’, his films are the perfect antidote.
Aloha has an incredible, and incredibly likeable cast: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Bill Murray, Danny McBride and Alec Baldwin (making a cameo that could rival Glengarry Glen Ross). Crowe’s films always have an awareness of their own romanticism, and Aloha looks no different. As Brian Gilcrest (Cooper) sets eyes on an old flame – a beautifully windswept McAdams – he is instructed by his buddy to “pause for memories”. Whereas We Bought A Zoo felt a little too try-hard, and a little too earnest, there’s something a bit more tongue and cheek about this trailer. With such a talented cast, and a seemingly pithy script, I expect we could see some real sparks fly and a welcome return to form for Crowe.
He had me at Aloha.