Raising Arizona (1987)

Alamo Drafthouse poster for Raising Arizona

Alamo Drafthouse poster for Raising Arizona

Raising Arizona is one of those perfect, classic comedies I find it difficult to write about. Haven’t seen it? What’s wrong with you! What is there to say about such a great flick that you don’t already know yourself? I fear that if you haven’t already seen this, there’s no convincing you otherwise. It’s one of those movies that, if you find out someone you know doesn’t like it, you suddenly like them a little less and start wondering if they’re actually an android.

As is usual with a Coen Brothers movie, the story is sprawling, ridiculous, unlikely and relentlessly entertaining. H.I. McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) is a dreadful recidivist, always in and out of jail for silly little robberies. Edwina (Holly Hunter) is an adorable lady cop who steals H.I.’s heart. His third or fourth time in the slammer he asks for Ed’s hand, and she gladly accepts. Together the two attempt to live happily ever after, until they are confronted with insurmountable fertility problems.

It seems almost a gift from above when news of the “Arizona Quints” is broadcast over the airwaves. A local furniture salesman and his wife have been blessed with five little bundles of joy. Certainly more than they can handle, H.I. and Ed reason, and so they set off to take one of the quints for their very own. Happily babied up, the couple return home only to find out some of H.I.’s old prison buddies have flown the coop and need a place to lay low.

Even though H.I.’s buds aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed it doesn’t take them long to realize that baby probably didn’t spring from H.I. and Ed’s loins, and with a giant reward out for any information regarding the whereabouts of the missing child, they betray their friend in hopes of making big bucks – and they’re not the only ones who know something’s fishy and want to claim the dough!

What an utterly delightful movie. It is filled with belly laughs and perfect performances all around. Say what you will about Nicolas Cage, but it seems he was born to play H.I. McDunnough. And I’m not usually a fan of Holly Hunter, but she is a god damn charmer in this movie. I really have no criticisms about it whatsoever, it is just such a great, lovable movie that only gets better every time I watch it. I might have to put it up there with one of my favorite comedies of all time. Perfectly delivered hilarious lines in combination with a bit of slapstick comedy over a drooling baby seem to be a foolproof formula for a great film. Thank you, Joel & Ethan.


1 Response to “Raising Arizona (1987)”

  1. 1 ladyfaceladyface
    March 28, 2014 at 4:41 am

    I had forgotten about this movie and how wonderful it is. How are the Coen Brothers so good at writing stories about criminals?

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