Friday, July 6, 2012

Raising Arizona (1987)

Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson

The Main Review: Raising Arizona, a 1987 film, is one of the first Coen Brother films made. It follows ex-con H.I McDunnough (Nick Cage) and his cop wife, Ed (Holly Hunter), as they try to make a family by stealing one of the Arizona's quintuplets. It's set in Arizona but all the characters have the darndest untraceable, Southern accents The film has one of the longest, albeit funniest, intros I have ever seen and is host to some very interesting characters. With it's clever shooting and wonderfully amusing dialogue, Raising Arizona is one fantastic, sweet, funny film.

And, really, guys, Nick Cage was super good in this.

Herbert I. "Hi" McDunnough is our protagonist and we're first introduced to him when he's getting his mug shot taken after sticking up a convenience store. Ed is the officer taking him through the procedure and he starts to flirt with her. He goes in and out of the bin a few times (in the hilarious previously mentioned intro to the film) and, in the end, marries Ed and decides to try and lead a straight life, getting a job and a trailer.

Ed decides that the next step is to have a baby. However, they find out that she's infertile and they can't adopt due to Hi's criminal record. So, after hearing about Nathan Arizona, a wealthy furniture salesman, and his wife's recent delivery of quintuplets, Hi and Ed say, "They have more than they could handle," and decide to steal a baby. Out of the quintuplets, they steal Nathan Jr., figuring he's the best one.
That same night, two of Hi's friends from prison, Gale and Evelle Snoats (played by John Goodman and William Forsythe, respectively), spring themselves out of the joint and head to the McDunnough's trailer. Ed allows them to stay the night and a day, but their felonious ways seem to rub off on Hi. Hi later has a nightmare about the "lone biker of the Apocalypse" and Mrs. Arizona realizing her baby is gone.

So, Nathan Arizona puts out a twenty-five thousand dollar reward for whoever finds his son. Hi and Ed go out with some "decent people," one of them being Hi's boss, Glen, who Hi assaults after Glen suggests wife-swapping (this costs Hi his job). And, on top of that, Hi tries to rob a convenience store for some Huggies but ends up going on some crazy, long chase.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: The lone biker of the Apocalypse is a real dude, named Leonard Smalls, who offers to get Nathan Jr. back for Nathan for fifty thousand dollars. Also, Gale and Evelle want Hi to help them on a job. Hi decides to help them after they convince him that he can't provide for Ed and Jr. However, Glen comes around - all beat up and shouting about how he knows Hi and Ed stole Nathan Jr. The Snoats brothers hear this and steal Nathan Jr. to turn in for the reward money. The Snoats go rob a bank with Nathan Jr. Hi and Ed set out after the baby, with Smalls following them. 

The Snoats leave Nathan Jr by the side of the road (for the second time). Smalls and the McDonnoughs find Nathan Jr. at the same time. Smalls and Hi fight it out (or, to put it correctly: Smalls beats the shit out of Hi, who manages to win by pulling his grenade pin all sneaky like). Hi and Ed return Nathan Jr. to the Arizona couple. Nathan Sr. is very understanding to the couple - considering that they kidnapped his son - and tells them to keep trying to have a kid. While they say they're going to split up, Nathan Sr. advises them to sleep on it and then decide. That night, Hi has a dream about a really great future in which, among other things, he and Ed have a big family in "a land not too far away." "Maybe it was Utah."

Scenes to Watch Out For: That crazy-long, crazy-funny intro.

When the lone biker is introduced, there's a series of shots of him destroying cute, small things. It's kind of hilarious.

The Huggies scene. All of it is just so over the top.

The fight scenes between Gale Snoats and Hi and Smalls and Hi. Both are hilarious in their own right. 

Anything Else: I'm not sure how funny this movie sounds to someone who hasn't seen it. The premise really isn't very funny. I mean, an ex-con and his infertile, cop wife steal a baby and then get hunted down by some crazy biker. But, I assure you, if you haven't seen it, it's hilarious.

I'm sorry, but I gotta stick in a personal story. I know, I know. No one cares: It's odd to think that this movie may have really influenced my parents' lives. They've seen this movie a lot and quote it often. Watching it with them is both hilarious and frustrating, because they seem to have all the hand gestures and lines memorized. I'm pretty sure we moved for Utah because of the last line of this film. And my daddy says this movie might be why he likes Hawaiian shirts so much. My momma said she really hopes not. 

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