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Love Letters to the Movies: Quentin Tarantino’s “Cinema Speculation”

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Since 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs,” Quentin Tarantino has been a powerhouse writer-director of unique, eclectic films with the moniker “the king of dialogue”. Though he has been a favorite to television interviewers for decades, 2022’s “Cinema Speculation” is his first non-fiction book release following the 2021 novelization of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

“Cinema Speculation” is not a film school primer. It does not go behind the scenes of any of Tarantino’s films. The tone is conversational rather than instructional. The book is 400 pages of a veteran filmmaker and writer with thousands of hours spent watching, making, and thinking about movies talking about the films he finds interesting and influential.

The majority of the chapters focus on a film from young Tarantino’s developmental years (the 1970s), going into every small moving part behind it. The actors who were considered for each role, the director’s previous work, and the studio deals that made the movies what they are today are all discussed, as well as the films’ impact on Hollywood and American culture as a whole. However, this structure doesn’t stop Tarantino from sneaking in discussions about the generational divide of 60s and 70s directors and a B-string L.A. Times exploitation reviewer. The wide range of topics and details included feels like a peek behind the curtain into one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in modern Hollywood.

Though it is evident that Tarantino’s writing style is not geared toward traditional nonfiction, his passion for film is palpable on every page. He is excited to talk about movies, and the reader gets to sit in a chair and listen intently to what he has to say. Every movie he talks about suddenly sounds fascinating, and you can’t help but run to watch each one as soon as possible after soaking up Tarantino’s infectious enthusiasm.

I am a Senior Media & Information student at Michigan State University, writing about culture for Her Campus.