The Next Movie I Want to See: 'Red Tails'


All right, I know that the reviews have been so-so at best. But for the reasons Lane Wallace has laid out very well on our site, the debut of the movie is in itself an event worth noting and supporting. I have met a number of Tuskegee Airmen over the years at air shows, and their story really is inspiring and deserving of notice by a new generation. Also, George Lucas has said that if this movie succeeds, he might complete a trilogy on this theme, so I figure I will vote with my movie-going dollars.

The flying world is still mainly white, in addition to overwhelmingly male, which is part of why the Airmen's achievement was so significant. Lane Wallace also makes this nice point:

There's also a kind of poetic parallel between the movie and the fighting group it portrays. The most extraordinary aspect of both is how long it took, and how hard their champions had to fight, just for them to exist. And if the movie and its "heroes" feel almost too "ordinary" at times, well, that is, in a way, the very victory the Tuskegee Airmen were fighting to achieve. They wanted to be seen as ordinary fighter pilots, no different from anyone else. And Lucas wanted to prove that he could take a story about black pilots, with all the major roles played by black actors, and make it into an "ordinary" big-screen, action-adventure movie that would appeal to anyone.

I suspect that my wife might opt for a chick flick meaningful rom-com, so I will try to scare up some fellow flying-action enthusiast and then will report back.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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