Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino (Non-fiction — Audio book)

The title says it all — this book is Tarantino’s very personal account of his love of movies and the industry, launching from accompanying his single mother and her friends to “grown up” movies when he was eight. His analysis of practically every movie he saw includes a full grasp of the trends of the times and how the movies exploited, responded to, and sometimes created those trends. He possesses an encyclopedic knowledge about the industry and the book serves as an intellectual history of the age through the medium of film. He paid particular attention to audiences and how they interacted with the film. Listening to his mom’s commentary on the way home and watching some films in crowded theaters full of viewers who were happy to provide their own loud and colorful commentary.

It’s no surprise that Tarantino got more out of every movie he watched than I ever could. He described them so well and with such passion that I started making lists of movies I wanted to see (or see again) though I know I won’t enjoy them as much as he did or be able to understand them in the context of cinematic history as he did. I’m not a cinephile but that is a big part of what I liked about this book — it allowed me to see movies through the eyes of someone who is a dedicated, articulate, and passionate cineast (new word for me!) An extra plus is that Tarantino and I are roughly the same age so I recognize each decade (and the actors, films, and experiences) as his commentary proceeds through the years.

I listened to this on audio book and Tarantino read the first and last chapters himself. Unfortunately, someone else read all of the other chapters — a real disappointment. Nothing wrong with the other reader but he doesn’t have Tarantino’s rapid fire, wise guy kind of voice or delivery. The other reader articulates his words too much and can’t swear well — too stiff! But listening to the first and last chapters made the book far more compelling to me and I was able to listen to the others with Tarantino’s real voice in mind. It gave that personal edge to the story. Apparently there are pictures in the actual book, however, which I obviously missed by listening to the audio.

Needless to say I am now heading off to rewatch my favorite Tarantino movies (which, given that I’ve caught a miserable head cold, seems like a brilliant plan for the day!)

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