Cinema Speculation Book Summary - Cinema Speculation Book explained in key points
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Cinema Speculation summary

Quentin Tarantino

Hollywood History Through the Eyes of a Contemporary Filmmaker

4 (119 ratings)
18 mins
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    Cinema Speculation
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    Cool kid

    It’s 1970, and the Tiffany Theater is in its heyday. The Tiffany doesn’t show mainstream movies like Oliver! or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Here, you’re more likely to see Alice’s Restaurant or Yellow Submarine.

    Tarantino is seven years old. And 1970 is the year that he first visits the Tiffany with his mom and stepdad to see a double feature: Joe and Where’s Poppa? It’s not exactly viewing material for a seven-year-old – in Joe, a father kills his daughter’s junkie boyfriend by bashing his head in and then ends up executing his own daughter.

    But apart from the violence of the movie, Tarantino thinks it’s funny. The audience that evening watches the beginning of the movie in repulsed silence, but when Joe enters the movie they begin laughing at almost everything he says. Tarantino laughs along even though he doesn’t understand everything. It doesn’t matter – there’s an audience of adults laughing, he’s soaking up the vibe of the performance, and there’s a lot of cussing going on. For a kid his age, there’s nothing funnier.

    Tarantino's parents went to a lot of movies, and he usually tagged along on the proviso that he behaved. And behave he did to avoid staying home with a babysitter. After a movie, Tarantino just loved riding home in the car while listening to his parents talking about what they’d just seen.

    He soon realized he was getting to see movies other kids didn’t, and asked his mom about it. Her reply was simple: she was more worried about him watching the news than a movie. He was exposed to many violent images, yes, but in the context of the movie he could “handle” it because he could also understand the plot.

    Strangely, though, there was a movie the young Tarantino couldn’t handle – Bambi. He was pretty cut up about Bambi’s mother getting shot and the devastating fire scene. The fact that the movie becomes so tragic so unexpectedly is the reason he believes it’s been messing kids up for generations.

    A year or so later, Tarantino’s mom split from his stepdad and, for a few years, exclusively dated Black men. He saw fewer movies during that period because movie nights were usually date nights. But one guy she dated, a football player named Reggie, would do anything to score points with her – including taking the young Tarantino to watch a movie. So one Saturday afternoon, after much discussion about which movie to go to, they settled on Jim Brown’s Black Gunn. It was a double feature with The Bus Is Coming.

    When the pair entered the movie theater, The Bus Is Coming was still playing. It was clear that the all Black audience hated the movie with a vengeance, as they were swearing at the screen the whole time. Tarantino found their profanities highly amusing and began to giggle more and more. And when Reggie asked him if he was having a good time, Tarantino told him he thought the audience was hilarious. Reggie replied, “You’re a cool kid, Q.” And with that encouragement, Tarantino joined the crowd and started screaming at the screen too.

    The whole experience is particularly memorable for Tarantino. In fact, he says his whole life has been spent trying to get back to that feeling of watching a Jim Brown film back in 1972 in a Black cinema.

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    What is Cinema Speculation about?

    Cinema Speculation (2022) is part personal history, part movie criticism, and part film reporting. It takes a look at several key 1970s movies from director Quentin Tarantino’s perspective. While he discusses each movie, he sometimes also indulges in a few what-ifs.

    Who should read Cinema Speculation?

    • Film buffs eager to get inside Quentin Tarantino’s mind
    • Dirty Harry, Taxi Driver, and Escape From Alcatraz aficionados
    • Fans of Don Siegel and Martin Scorsese

    About the Author

    Quentin Tarantino’s infamous 1992 film Reservoir Dogs was his directing debut. The ever popular Pulp Fiction followed two years later and won him an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Then came several other highly acclaimed films such as Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2 and Django Unchained – which won him his second Oscar for Best Screenplay. His tenth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was released in 2019. Tarantino has also written a work of fiction based on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Cinema Speculation is his first foray into nonfiction.

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