Aloha, Cameron Crowe’s eighth feature, opens in theaters tomorrow. Its arrival has been met mostly with indifference from both audiences, who seem unaware of its existence, and the studio releasing it, who seems to be hiding it from that audience. In an attempt to raise Aloha’s profile, Crowe took the highly unusual step of making an appearance at the film’s Los Angeles press screening, where he defended his work and called it a “love letter” to Hawaii. Actually, that last part was not that unusual, at least for Crowe, who calls his movies “love letters” any chance he gets.

He’s done it so often in fact, it’s become his go-to way to describe one of his films. Good luck reading a profile of a Cameron Crowe movie where the writer doesn’t describe it as “love letter” to something. Even the companies pushing his movies have gotten into the act. Crowe’s Pearl Jam documentary was officially dubbed a “love letter” to the Seattle band in the promotional material 1. DreamWorks even used the expression in the official plot synopsis for one of his movies. (“A love letter to the resilience of the life force, Elizabethtown is a charming, music-filled journey that proves amazing things can happen when you least expect them.” 2)

Crowe seemed to pick up on the “love letter” bad habit during the promotional tour for Almost Famous, where he became quite fond of the phrase. He even noted at one point that it was “trite” to say it, but that didn’t seem to slow him down; he even began retroactively using the term to describe some of his past films. Interestingly, he never referred to either Vanilla Sky or We Bought a Zoo as “love letters” to anything, likely because they were based on previously existing material (they were also two of his more disappointing movies). Say Anything is also missing, but more likely because finding Crowe’s interviews from 1989 are hard to come by online.

In fairness to Crowe, the majority of his movies really are love letters of some sort. The problem isn’t necessarily that he keeps referring to his movies as “love letters,” it’s that he keeps making movies that can be referred to as “love letters”. With Aloha set to be another in a string of creative and commercial disappointments, Crowe might be wise to start thinking of a new way to describe (and a different way to make) his next film, so he doesn’t add anything else to this already enormous list:

Aloha

“A lot has been said about this film. Some of it private. Some of it public. Some of it private that became public. But it's always been a love letter to Hawaii. I hope you enjoy it.” [source]

Elizabethtown

“It’s a love letter to my Dad and Kentucky. I don’t think we’d have made the movie if they said, ‘You cannot go to Kentucky.’” [source]

Elizabethtown is a tribute to my dad and is somewhat of a love letter to his home state, Kentucky.” [source]

“If we were gonna make a movie that was a love story, a tribute to my dad, and a love letter to Kentucky, we needed music to set a tone and bind the stories together, to integrate them into one yarn.” [source]

“The script was a love letter to my dad and to Kentucky, to that part of the country. I thought, let’s really celebrate it.” [source]

“This was really a love letter to my dad and Kentucky. That part of the country.” [source]

Singles

“It made me want to do Singles as a love letter to the [Seattle] community I was really moved by.” - Singles [source]

“In a lot of ways it’s a love letter to Seattle, and I mean it.” [source]

Almost Famous

“The movie was a love letter to music and to my family.” [source]

Almost Famous was the movie I always had in my back pocket, that I knew, one day, if everything worked out, I’d be able to make, and it would be a love letter to rock.” [source]

“It’s a love letter to music at the very heart of it, this movie.” [source]

“As trite as it sounds, this was a love letter, my movie from the heart.” [source]

“This one sort of wanted to be a love letter.” [source]

“The movie I’ve just finished is basically a love letter to rock ‘n’ roll.” [source]

“I learned more than ever about the privilege of being given a huge canvas on which to paint a film, a love letter to music.” [source]

“if you’re going to declare so openly that you love music, you should show why you love it so much, so the goal was to write a love letter back to music.” [source]

“The goal was to write a love letter back to music.” [source]

“It’s a love letter to rock journalism and the music of the 70s. It’s a way of saying ‘I remember you’ to a bunch of unforgettable characters.” [source]

Jerry Maguire

“To me, the movie is sort of a love letter to trust and loyalty.” [source]