My 10 Favorite Films Set in Hawaii
I apparently haven't seen very many movies set (and not merely filmed) in Hawaii, because the last few titles on this list aren't great. Note: The list is favorites, not necessarily best!
- •NORTH SHORE (1987)Some things about it are awful, but some are great, including a great story and Nia Peeples. Saw this in theaters twice the summer I graduated high school.
- •THE DESCENDANTS (2011)Looks and feels more like certain parts of everyday Hawaii than any major motion picture ever. Note the downtown Dockers and aloha shirts.
- •50 FIRST DATES (2004)There are 50 things wrong with this movie and three good ones, but the three are excellent. What begins as stupid screwball humor turns into an incredibly sensitive love story, sold by a bizarre but loving family.
- •PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (2002)Of the ten films on this list, this is actually my favorite, but it's just barely set in Hawaii and therefore doesn't deserve top spot. A film people seem to love or hate, it moves me in ways very few films ever have.
- •LILO & STITCH (2002)I was sure I would find this tiresome, but it won me over anyway. Unexpectedly sincere and not as sappy as the popular quotes from the film would indicate.
- •FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (2008)Russell Brand, Kristen Bell, and Mila Kunis make this a fun and funny film. It's flawed as heck, but Jason Segel's relationship with Mila Kunis is surprisingly sweet.
- •GOODBYE, PARADISE (1991)Also released as MOON OVER PARADISE, the little indie flick starred Honolulu news anchor Joe Moore and received bad to lukewarm reviews. I liked it. With Pat Morita, James Hong, Megan Ward, and Honolulu morning drive time radio host Michael W. Perry.
- •THE CASTAWAY COWBOY (1974)A fun Disney movie about ranching on the island of Hawaii, starring James Garner. Probably not as good as I remember it, but I haven't seen it since the Seventies and I do remember it! Sorta!
- •FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)This film is remembered much more fondly than it deserves. Besides that one iconic beach kiss, it's not a very memorable film. Just entertaining enough a war movie for a rainy Sunday.
- •PEARL HARBOR (2001)See it again, minus all the post-Titanic hype, and you'll see it's a pretty good war flick.