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As I type this, I'm on a flight to Park City, Utah, to attend the Sundance Film Festival. It's a very, VERY, bumpy flight -- headwind, turbulence and other things that I want to forget about. Apropos of this awesome aerial time: "Red Tails," the George Lucas-produced ode to the Tuskegee Airmen, a film about planes that often crash. So! In what may be my last 25 Questions ever for Moviefone (I regret nothing?), here are the answers to every query you could have about "Red Tails."
Q: George Lucas has stated that he wanted to make a "Star Wars" for African-American children. Did he succeed?
A: No. "Red Tails" does not take place in space.
Q: Where does the term "Red Tails" come from?
A: The African-American pilots in the film have the tails of their planes painted red, to distinguished themselves. The white pilots coin the phrase "Red Tails."
Q: What is "Red Tails" about?
A: Before I saw "Red Tails," I assumed it told the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American aviators in the U.S. armed forces. But, in reality, it's about a lot of planes flying around.
Q: Who are flying those planes?
A: The story focuses on two pilots in particular: Easy (Nate Parker) and Lightning (David Oyelowo).
Q: What is the Red Tails' mission?
A: At first, they're given throwaway missions because of their race. Eventually, because of their stellar combat record, they are assigned a mission to escort and protect the bomber aircrafts.
Q: Bryan Cranston in "Red Tails"? I love him on "Breaking Bad."
A: Cranston is in "Red Tails" for a total of, maybe, five minutes. And I forgot his over-the-top character's name, but it was something along the lines of Col. Meany McAsshole.
Q: Does Gerald McRaney reprise his role as Major John D. MacGillis in "Red Tails"?
A: In "Red Tails," McRaney plays General Luntz. And it's never specifically addressed if the storyline in "Red Tails" takes pace in the same universe as "Major Dad."
Q: Is the dialogue in "Red Tails" better or worse than the dialogue in the "Star Wars" prequels?
A: The woeful dialogue in "Red Tails" is on par with the "Star Wars" prequels.
Q: If you're going to be blurbed in this weekend's praise for "Red Tails," what quote do you think will be used?
A: "'Red Tails' is on par with "Star Wars'!" Mike Ryan, Moviefone.
Q: It really can't be that bad, right?
A: There is a line of dialogue, spoken by a German pilot (a pilot, I should add, who is involved in every German air battle), that consists only of, "Die, you."
Q: Does "Red Tails" have any lines as bad as Anakin Skywalker's "Attack of the Clones" line, "I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth."
A: Not in so many words.
Q: Other than the dialogue, are there any other similarities between "Red Tails" and Star Wars"?
A: Yes, quite a few.
Q: Does "Red Tails" inexplicably turn into an episode of "Hogan's Heroes" about three fourths of the way though?
Q: If you had to rank "Red Tails" against all other Lucasfilm productions, where would it rank?
A: "Red Tails" is better than "Attack of the Clones," but not as good as "Willow."
Q: Is it bothering you to have to write about a movie with multiple plane crashes while you, who hates flying, are currently on a plane.
A: (Not acknowledging that question.)
Q: How bad is the turbulence on your flight as you type this?
A: I can only assume that we are currently involved in a dogfight with the Red Tails.
Q: What is the most annoying thing about "Red Tails"?
A: Cuba Gooding Jr.'s pipe.
Q: What is the least self-aware scene in "Red Tails"?
A: Lightning confronts Easy about Easy's drinking problem (a drinking problem that does not seem to affect Easy's performance as a pilot). The very next scene involves a group of white pilots who want to buy a round of drinks for the Red Tails -- including Easy and Lightning -- they agree with no mention of the conversation that they just had.
Q: So far, instead of writing "Red Tails," how many times have you've accidentally written "Shirt Tales"?
A: Four times.
Q: Who was your favorite Shirt Tale?
A: Rick Raccoon.
Q: What is the best thing about "Red Tails"?
A: David Oyelowo as Lightning.
Q: How did "Red Tails" try to ruin the best thing about the movie?
A: By giving Lightning a very, very boring subplot about his Italian love interest. An affair that's extremely preposterous.
Q: Are you saying that it's preposterous because of the nature of race relations in 1944?
A: No. It's preposterous because Lightning and the woman he loves do not speak the same language. The two become engaged without ever having had a single conversation.
Q: is "Red Tails" a good movie?
A: Sadly, not really.
Q: Al Sharpton claimed that "Red Tails" is the best movie that he has ever seen. Is Al Sharpton wrong?
A: I can only assume that the only other movies that Al Sharpton has ever seen were all directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.
Mike Ryan is the senior writer for Moviefone. He has written for Wired Magazine, VanityFair.com, GQ.com, New York Magazine and Movieline. He likes Star Wars a lot. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter