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Raising Arizona

Updated: May 5, 2023

The Coen Brothers are at the top of my favorite filmmakers list. From "Fargo" to "The Big Lewbowski" and "No Country For Old Men", they deliver nearly every time. So why do I dislike RAISING ARIZONA so much?

When it was released in 1987, the Coens were hot off of "Blood SImple", their violent, twisted murder mystery debut.

ARIZONA takes their creativity in a much more comic direction. That's fine, but my gawd is this movie loud. LOUD!!!!

Every punchline is screamed, characters shout and holler and scream at the top of their lungs every couple minutes. It's exhausting.

Nicolas Cage has never been one of our most subtle actors. He's way over the top as repeat offender HI McDonnough, who falls in love with Ed (Holly Hunter) the cop who takes his mug shots every time he's arrested.

They get to meet a lot.

Once they're hitched, the decide to kidnap one of the toddler quintuplets of famous Arizona furniture man Nathan Arizona.

Trey Wilson (Bull Durham, Twins) is a lot of fun as the ultimate TV pitchman.

John Goodman and William Forsythe (Dick Tracy) add laughs (and a lot of noise) as two prison escapees that drop by the couples home after their breakout.

Francis McDormand steals the movie as Ed's hilarious Mom, who cant quite figure out how they had a baby so fast.

There are some fun chase scenes, beautifully shot by Barry Sonnefeld (Misery, Big) on location in Arizona. The Superstition Mountains and east valley are all on display and look terrific.

I understand that its a surreal comedy, that's it's supposed to be bigger than life. But it's just not that funny beyond some brief moments and it's explosive ending.

Nathan Jr is as cute as it gets and Cage's hair getting taller and taller the more stress he's under is a great Coen touch, but this remains one of my least favorite Coen brothers films, busting my eardrums all the way to a C.

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