But a friend had $5 movie tickets and wanted to go see Red Tails last night, so I went. As the opening credits started, I immediately began to regret my decision. If I started to elaborate on the ways in which this movie was horrible, we'd be here 'til Black History Month, and I'm working on brevity in the New Year.
It's important to note that I'm usually the first person to give movies that are based on books or portraying events based on true life a pass. I say, "It ain't a book. It's a movie. You want the whole story? Read the book. Stop being lazy and ignorant. Educate yourself. It's entertainment." But, in light of the fact that this movie wasn't entertaining, I can't even say that. I think it was 2 hours long. If it wasn't, it sure felt like... 3 hours. Long, slow, pointless.
The characters were actually caricatures. I don't know that in my 27 or so years of watching and understanding movies that I've ever seen such glaring examples of poor character development and stale, illogical plot and sub-plot. There were scenes that seemed to literally just end, in the most abrupt manner, and entire scenarios and conversations that had absolutely no resolution. There were shots that looked like they were mistakenly edited into the movie. The opening credits were obviously produced in the most low-tech manner possible. The acting was disastrous. And what was up with the overly triumphant music at the most inappropriate times? I felt like I was being Punked. Surely, this cannot be a real movie. In fact, I'm gonna just choose to believe that this was an extended Saturday Night Live sketch.
How else do you explain the absurdity? One fighter plane shoots a couple hundred rounds at a battle ship and destroys it? A Black man walks into an all White establishment during World War II, at the height of segregation, and gets angry enough to fight when they call him a nigger and tell him to go home? Sir, were you just transported here in a time machine?
One of my friends said that she heard someone say, "Medea might as well had been flying one of them planes." I agree. Hey, why not?
The inconsistencies and lack of plausibility regarding most of the events in this movie are abundant and embarrassing. Which makes it even more offensive that the love interest in this movie with a cast of 100 Black men was Italian. Now, this is where people have tried to point out to me that they were on an army base in Italy and therefore it's only logical that the love story would be between a Black man and a White woman. However, that holds no weight when you consider how fictionalized this movie was. They could have easily written a Black female nurse into the story as the love interest, and it wouldn't have seemed out of place in the midst of all of the other fairy tales and fallacies. A cartoon unicorn and giant talking squid wouldn't have been out of place in this movie. So why not cast at least one Black woman?
They didn't want to. In a movie where one of the lead characters declares that the Italian woman is "the most beautiful woman I've ever seen" and shortly thereafter, when they receive new planes, another pilot says, "I've never seen a girl prettier than this," the attitude toward Black women is made painfully apparent. I've watched plenty of war movies in which the "sweetheart back home" is talked about, represented through photographs, dreams, flashbacks, a handwritten letter, and even brought into the story by cutting to scenes depicting the soldier's homes in the states. You mean to tell me that none of these Tuskeegee Airmen had mothers, sisters, favorite aunts, daughters, wives, bottom bitches, or jumpoffs back home? To a thinking person, does it really seem all that unrealistic that a love story with a Black woman as the object of desire was impossible to tell?
And while we're on the subject of race and discrimination... Is the movie going audience ever going to get tired of "The Evil German"? I, for one am worn out and wish that sterotype would go away.
I wish Terrence Howard would also go away. I don't think it's his fault that he's the go-to for all things Black Cinema, but he's definitely been over exposed. We need to find other actors to cast. I'm sure there are plenty. Let that man have a seat. And stop digging Cuba Gooding Jr. up out of the ground or wherever we keep finding him at. We should know by now that no good can come of giving him a leading role in anything. In fact, had I known that he was in this movie, I would have just flat out refused to go see it.
You may ask how it is that I didn't know that Cuba Gooding Jr. was starring in Red Tails. My answer is simple: I'm not up on everything. I stay pretty ignorant to most of pop culture and honestly, just about every time I tune back in, I regret it. I hear that this movie was a labor of love for George Lucas and took him a quarter of a century to bring to fruition. That's really sweet. However, Red Tails was terrible. From beginning to end, plot to acting, it was not fit for human consumption. It was similar to Tyler Perry's stabbing and hacking at Ntozake Shange's "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf". No, actually, it was worse. And not for a second do I believe that George or Tyler were being malicious in their attempts to bring these stories to the big screen. On the contrary, I know that their intentions were good. Admirable, in fact. But that doesn't excuse the inferiority of the product.
Come correct, or don't come at all. It is a simple request that I don't think Hollywood is going to respect when it comes to Black films. However, that is my stance. For now, I wash my hands of "Black Cinema". I'm done. I can't bear to subject my eyes to it any longer.