Think About It: "Aloha" Means Goodbye - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

June 8, 2015

Think About It: "Aloha" Means Goodbye

A lot has been made about the use, mis-use, and possible insensitivity of the word "aloha" in the new movie of the same name. This offering is Hollywood's latest effort to somewhat portray our islands and some of its people. It was not made by people of Hawaii, and believe it or not, it was not made for the people of Hawaii. It was made by a film industry that cranks out movies in the hopes that tens of millions will pay to see them. Well, that didn't work in the case of "Aloha", which will soon say aloha as it disappears from theaters nationwide.  Within six weeks of its arrival, it will be gone and forgotten, as the masses voted by not showing up in the types of numbers Hollywood hypers hoped for. Yes, "Aloha" means goodbye. 

Even with a star-studded cast, the movie's buzz was weak and its opening two weekends proved underwhelming. So is the objection to the use of the term "aloha" in the title due to the suggestion that Hollywood should avoid using local words because it simply doesn't get it, or is it a reaction to the quality of the picture and/or its lack of using local people in key roles? Let's keep in mind, this is a fictitious Hollywood story, not a historical epic. If it fell flat, which apparently it has with moviegoers nationwide, maybe that's the bachi or retribution some people believe comes from mis-using the word "aloha" in the title and mis-using Hawaii and its rich demographics in the film itself. As a newspaper editorial writer suggested last week, what about all of the local companies that use "aloha" in their names every day- are they all pono? And unlike a glitzy Hollywood movie, these companies are local, or at least purport to be.

Hollywood has had many, many moments where it miscalculated how local or native people are portrayed, if at all, in a movie's local subject matter. Cultural sensitivity has never been at the top of the food chain in La La Land, where most pictures rely on reaching massive amounts of people. The bottom line for this movie, and it really is the bottom line, is that the movie-going public has spoken loud and clear by not giving the movie "Aloha" much aloha, regardless of the name title and implications. Think about it…

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