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Directed by: Joel Coen
Written by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman
Look for it at the video store under:
Watch it when you’re in the mood
/ 5 the rating
The third time he meets her,
on the occasion of his third arrest, convenience-store robber H.I.
McDonough proposes to police officer Ed as she takes his mug shot down
at the police station. H.I. promises to go straight if she’ll do him
the honor of becoming his wife after he finishes this last stint in
prison. Miraculously, Ed says yes. Married life goes along just
swimmingly for the ex-con and ex-cop, until they begin trying to start a
family. A visit to a doctor confirms that Ed is physically unable to get
pregnant, and thus the couple will never be able to conceive a child.
Unfortunately, H.I.’s rather colorful past means adoption is simply
out of the question. When Ed and H.I. hear about the quintuplets that
have just been born to a wealthy local furniture chain-store baron named
Nathan Arizona, Ed’s so desperate to experience motherhood that she
convinces H.I. that they should kidnap one of the babies. With Nate Jr.
in the house, they’re all set to start enjoying the family life. But
things get complicated when H.I.’s lowlife, convict friends break out
of prison and show up on the McDonough doorstep.
first time I saw this movie I was fourteen years old and
at my best friend’s house, and when halfway through we finally
acknowledged that we were both so bored we’d barely made it this far
without falling into a deep, deep slumber, we fast-forwarded to
the end and proclaimed Raising Arizona the dumbest movie we’d
ever had the misfortune to rent. Years later, I saw Barton Fink, Fargo,
and the Hudsucker Proxy, and became a big fan of the Coen
Brothers, but still, I couldn’t quite bring myself to re-watch Raising
Arizona, despite all assurances that it was hilarious. So on a
recent weekday evening, I decided it was high time to get over my
childhood prejudices and give it another try. And it’s amazing how the
same things that seem so dumb when you’re a teenager – an almost
tall-tale-like lack of realism with respect to character, plot, and
dialogue – can seem so wonderful now that I’m a little older. Wacky,
strange, and unpredictable, Raising Arizona just made me happy.
The movie shows Nicolas Cage at his offbeat best, and features more
deadpan funny, supremely quotable lines that you can shake a stick at.
What’s hilarious is that the
characters don’t realize how funny they are – they’re just being
their quirky little redneck selves, and though the movie pokes fun at
them, it’s in a loving, non-condescending manner. (My one quibble with
the characterizations: I live in Arizona, and I don't know what accent
these actors are attempting, but it's certainly not Arizonan). Spineless and
dimwitted H.I., unctuous Nate Arizona, and the two bumbling escaped cons
played by John Goodman and William Forsythe are all oddly endearing
characters, likable despite their flaws and inadequacies. Raising
Arizona is pure, inspired, zany fun. —reviewed by Y. Sun
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