According to his new memoir “Cinema Speculation,” Quentin Tarantino learned movies as a child not by watching Disney animations but by tagging along with his mother when she went to see whatever she desired. The world wasn’t made for kids in the 1970s. Most of the films of pre-Spielberg Hollywood were what we ‘d now think about inappropriate. Those of us who were young at the time simply intended to take what we could from the experience. If you imagine an 11-year-old Mr. Tarantino consuming popcorn as he views “Deliverance,” you’ll see pre-internet America in a drop of rain.
I matured in much the same way as Mr. Tarantino. “Chinatown” was the very first movie I saw in a theater, at age 6. I picture that, like me, absolutely nothing was described to him, that he was delegated come to grips with the scaries and secrets of the adult world alone. The trying and stopping working to understand, the not getting it, formed his sensibility; the explanations he invented to keep the story rolling taught him how to be cool even when lost.