Raising Arizona [VHS]
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Product Description

Blood Simple made it clear that the cinematically precocious Coen brothers (writer-director Joel and writer-producer Ethan) were gifted filmmakers to watch out for. But it was the outrageously farcical Raising Arizona that announced the Coens' darkly comedic audacity to the world. It wasn't widely seen when released in 1987, but its modest audience was vocally supportive, and this hyperactive comedy has since developed a large and loyal following. It's the story of "Ed" (for Edwina, played by Holly Hunter), a policewoman who falls in love with "Hi" (for H.I. McDonnough, played by Nicolas Cage) while she's taking his mug shots. She's infertile and he's a habitual robber of convenience stores, and their folksy marital bliss depends on settling down with a rug rat. Unable to conceive, they kidnap one of the newsworthy quintuplets born to an unpainted-furniture huckster named Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson), who quickly hires a Harley-riding mercenary (Randall "Tex" Cobb) to track the baby's whereabouts. What follows is a full-throttle comedy that defies description, fueled by the Coens' lyrical redneck dialogue, the manic camerawork of future director Barry Sonnenfeld, and some of the most inventively comedic chase scenes ever filmed. Some will dismiss the comedy for being recklessly over-the-top; others will love it for its clever mix of slapstick action, surreal fantasy, and homespun family values. One thing's for sure--this is a Coen movie from start to finish, and that makes it undeniably unique. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • RAZING RAISING ARIZONA

    Now, don't ch'all get me wrong, I enjoys me an offbeat comedy as much as the next person. Heck, I myself am as "offbeat" as it gets this side O' the cuckoo's nest. And yeah, I chuckled two, maybe three times during the course of this one and a half hour movie. But that ain't a good laughs to minutes ratio, boys `n' girls. Problem is, I prefer my offbeat comedies to be funny...I'm funny that way.

    I s'pose I can see why some O' the people of Airheadzona might think this is a great comedy...after all, Airheadzona's collective I.Q. rating is commensurate with its average temperature during the dog days of Summer. But what excuse does the rest O'Yous have?

    Not to worry; I'm a-gonna buy each and every one O'Yous a REAL, fully-developed Sense O'Humor for Christmas this year. (Provided The Comedy Store has `em on sale. I doesn't like to pay me full price!)
    ...more info
  • Very good
    Holly Hunter is wonderful as an infertile woman desperate for a baby, so desperate she talks her husband into stealing a baby from an older couple who have 'more than their fair share' of infants. Great humor, and despite the kidnapping, a happy ending.
    Chrissy K. McVay - Author...more info
  • Son... You Got A Panty On Yer Head! - The Coen Bros. Finest
    "Raising Arizona" tells the story of an ex-con with a penchant for robbing convenience stores, H.I. McDonnough, played by Nicholas Cage and his new wife Ed, short for Edwina, played by and expressly written for Holly Hunter by the Brothers Coen.


    Ed and Hi find themselves together after Ed takes Hi's mugshots and while Hi serves three months in prison then paroled , they marry. The film has some great scenes and one liners galore like the prison scene where a group is receiving counselling:


    Prison Counsellor: Why do you say you feel "trapped" in a man's body.
    "Trapped" Convict: Well, sometimes I get the menstrual cramps real hard.


    After a couple months of wedded bliss the McDonnough's need to concieve a child but with no luck, their failed attempt at adoption and their subsequent kidnapping of Nathan Jr. nathan Jr. is one of the famous Arizona Quintuplets who belong to furniture mogul and owner of all Upainted Arizona stores, Nathan Arizona, Sr.(Trey Wilson) & his wife Florence. The kidnapping highlights the plot.


    Enter Hi's prison buddy brothers, Gale and Evelle Snoats, freshly escaped out of the pokey and "the finest pair that ever broke air," according to Hi. The brothers Snoats are played to the hilt by John Goodman and William Forsythe. They have a plan to get Hi back in the business with a bank heist of the local hayseed Farmers and Merchants Bank down the way.


    Also in the McDonnough's social circle is Hi's work buddy and swinger, Glen (Sam McMurray) his swinger wife, Dot (an excellent, albeit small part for Frances McDormand)and their bratty passel of kids.


    The hunt for the baby Arizona is on with Randall 'Tex' Cobb playing Leonard Smalls, a bounty hunter who is hired by Nathan Sr. to find Nathan Jr and bring him back home to his mamma.


    Many hilarious and touching scenes occur in this fine movie from the Coen brothers with some top-notch acting and fleshed out characatures.


    Highly Recommended For Multiple Viewings!


    Happy Watching!

    ...more info
  • The Beginning of the Coen's artistic Peak
    Overall, this movie is great.

    But look closely at the first 5-7 minutes, the introduction up to the yodeling and the title credits when the plan is hatched. This intro is perfect filmmaking, ingeniously paced, hilariously written, and oddly very touching. The whistled, bluegrass Beethoven's 9th gets me every time ...

    "Raising Arizona" also launched a decade of creativity by the Coen brothers unmatched by any modern directors I can think of. See this, and then see all the others. Great stuff....more info
  • "We got ourselves a family now."
    A cop and an officer link up after multiple times meeting. They get hitched. They try and get pregnant but the cards weren't in it. Then, as if by some thunder bolt from the sky, the cop wife gets the bright idea to rob a child off of the famous Nathan Arizona Furniture dealer. The guy has got, like, nine kids in all. They think they took Nathan Jr.

    Then, all kinds of pandamonium breaks loose when the convict's buddies visit him. There's also a motorcycle bounty hunter who wants to find the kid as well.

    There's a reward too. But the real fun begins when everyone wants it.

    Filled with hilarity and mayhem at every turn. It's a family comedy that deosn't stop spoon-feeding you the laughs.

    I used to watch this movie five times in a row, I couldn't get enough of it.

    Enjoy!...more info
  • Had the Potential to be Better
    Although this movie had its funny moments and some very memorable lines and quotes, overall I thought it was mediocre. I'm normally a big fan of Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter, however this movie just didn't deliver. The plot was original and it could have had the potential at becoming a real classic, amusing film, however the hysteria overshadowed the entertainment value of it. There was too much predictable shrieking, screaming, and yelling that it just got annoying after awhile. I thought the worst part was towards the end when things just starting dragging on. Because it's a typical Hollywood movie, the storyline climaxes towards chaos and turmoil, but you can predict that in a typical fashion, there will be a few carchases, some yelling and screaming, some explosions, and then a happy ending (surprise). This movie could have been outstanding if the humor were more carefully thought out and skillfully crafted....more info
  • "Sometimes it's a hard world for small things."
    While The Big Lebowski (1998) is probably my favorite Coen Brothers film, Raising Arizona (1987) is a very close 2nd. Written and directed by the Coen Brothers (Miller's Crossing, Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou?), the film stars Nicolas Cage (Wild at Heart, Ghost Rider) and Holly Hunter (The Piano, O Brother, Where Art Thou?), in her first starring feature film role, a part written specifically with her in mind (apparently Kevin Costner was first offered Cage's role, but turned it down). Also appearing is Trey Wilson (Twins), John Goodman (The Big Lebowski), William Forsythe (Out for Justice), Sam McMurray (Addams Family Values), Academy Award winner Frances McDormand (Fargo), who's married to Joel Coen, and former professional boxer Randall 'Tex' Cobb (The Golden Child), who, apparently, once took such a brutal, prolonged beating in the ring from heavyweight Larry Holmes during a 1982 match at Houston's Astrodome that it caused a disgusted Howard Cosell to swear off announcing boxing matches for the rest of his life.

    Cage plays H.I. McDunnough, a career criminal who has a penchant for robbing convenience stores, along with getting caught. During his various incarcerations he falls for, and eventually marries, a police officer named Edwina aka Ed (Hunter) and the pair move into a starter home (a trailer) while H.I. goes on the straight and narrow, taking on a respectable job. Things go well, that is until the couple learns, while trying to start a family, that they can't have a baby due to the fact Ed's `insides were a rocky place where H.I.'s seed could find no purchase'. Not only that but adoption isn't an option, given H.I.'s checked past. As despair over their situation sets in, the couple learns of a local businessman named Nathan Arizona (Wilson), `the owner of the largest chain of unpainted furniture and bathroom fixtures throughout the southwest', and how his wife just gave birth to quintuplets. From disparity comes a plan to snatch one of the babies and raise it as their own, the thought being perhaps Arizona and his wife have more than they can handle, and won't miss one too much. They snatch the baby and return home, only to soon be visited by a couple of H.I.'s jailbird buddies, the brothers Gale (Goodman) and Evelle (Forsythe) Snoats, who've recently effectuated themselves an early release from prison. Matters are further complicated as H.I. loses his job and soon finds himself reverting back to his old, criminal ways (seems Gale and Evelle are planning a bank job, and want H.I. in on the heist). Eventually things come to a head as a large, dirty, greasy, hairy bounty hunter aka the warthog from hell named Leonard Smalls (Cobb) makes the scene, his intent being to collect the child by any means necessary.

    This is one of those movies where everything works in terms of the writing, dialog, direction, performances, casting, and so on...the best aspect, in my opinion, is the unique writing as there's a ton of quotable lines from the film, a few of my favorites listed below (for context on most, you'll just have to see the film)...

    `Son, you got a panty on yer head.'

    `Now, what's it gonna be young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground? Cause if'n I freeze, I can't rightly drop. And if'n I drop, I'm gonna be in motion.'

    `Anyone found bipedal in five wears his a** for a hat!'

    And then, of course, there's the classic line that comes as Nathan Arizona, after the abduction, is being questioned by local, state, and federal authorities. At one point someone asks him what the baby was wearing at the time of the abduction and Arizona replies, in an agitated state, `I don't know - they were jammies! They had Yodas'n s**t on 'em!'...and there's a lot more where that came from...something else, what makes the dialog work as well as it does is the delivery, not only by the main performers but also by the supporting cast members. Both Cage and Hunter are excellent in their roles, as are Goodman and Forsythe as the criminally dimwitted, slovenly Snoats, and Trey Wilson, as Nathan Arizona. Frances McDormand also does very well as the wife of H.I.'s boss, but know her role is fairly small, at least compared to her part in the Coen Brothers' Fargo (1996), for which she ended up earning her an Academy Award. I also really liked Randall 'Tex' Cobb in his role, which presented him more as a malevolent force of nature rather than your average, on screen villain. As far as the direction, I thought it was done extremely well, especially during the opening sequences prior to the opening credits, which sets up a lot in a relatively short amount of time, and subsequently sets the tone well for the rest of the film. There are so many great scenes throughout the film but the one that comes to my mind is a short one, and features Gale and Evelle, who've absconded with the baby after learning his true identity, as they stop at a gas station/convenience store to pick up supplies. Evelle's interaction with the store attendant in terms of diapers, balloons, and whatnot, is worth the price of admission alone. All in all this is an extremely funny, entertaining, and even thoughtful film, and one definitely worth owning as, if you're like me, you'll most likely watch it more than once.

    The picture, presented in widescreen (1.85:1), on this DVD is very clean and clear, and the Dolby Digital Surround audio, available in English and French, comes through very well. There's really not much in terms of extras, except for an original theatrical trailer, subtitles in English and Spanish, three television spots, and previews for a couple of other Coen Brothers releases including Barton Fink (1991) and Miller's Crossing (1990). Actually, I'm somewhat surprised, at the time this review was written, that a newer DVD release of this film, one packed with extras, including a commentary or two, has yet to come out, but perhaps we'll see one sometime in the near future.

    Cookieman108
    ...more info
  • Must rent for first time parents
    This video will be 50 times funnier to you if you've just had your first kid. Must rent for first time parents....more info
  • Raising Arizona -- worth seeing several times
    This is a really funny movie -- full of surprizes and twists. ...more info
  • DVD purchase
    The DVD was received in a timely fashion still sealed in plastic and in excellent condition...more info
  • Cage does it all!
    When I first saw this film, Nicholas Cage was pretty much an unknown at the time, just starting out. In fact, I had never heard of him. If you like goof-ball humor, then this is the movie to watch! Nick and John Goodman are great together. I have a lot of Mr. Cage's films which are usually drama's, but he is supurb in this one. Which shows how talented he really is, being able to play a variety of roles. In this movie, he is still able to keep us laughing even though we've seen it a number of times. A true keeper for your video collection!...more info
  • A comic gem packed with Southwest-style humor and gags
    "Raising Arizona" is a gem from the 80's made by the oddball Coen brothers who definitely do not have any particular style of filmmaking. Who would think that the makers of something as dark as "Blood Simple" could make such a screwball comedy as this? Raising Arizona has a unique style of comedy that doesn't appeal to everyone, particularly if you have no knowledge of the ways and people of the American southwest, since the film is full of thoughts and lines that hilariously exaggerate the customs of the area. For example, after kidnapping an old man at gunpoint, taking him on a wild ride while running from the police after a robbery gone bad, and then falling through the front windshield onto someone's front lawn, the main character takes the time to say "much obliged" to the old man before continuing his wild run from the police. Manners are still important in the Southwest, even to a felon on the run.

    As the film begins, we see what appears to be a different kind of love story. Convenience store robber H.I. (Nicholas Cage) falls in love with a beautiful deputy, Ed (Holly Hunter), who continually takes his mug shot each time he returns to prison. Once married, H.I. promises to stay out of trouble for Ed and they decide to start a family. Unfortunately, they discover Ed is "barren" and unable to have a child. They try adoption, but H.I.'s past felonies raise a red flag at adoption agencies, prompting H.I to note that "nature and the prejudices of others had conspired to keep us childless". It just so happens at the same time the wife of rich businessman Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson) gives birth to a set of quintuplets. Ed comes to the conclusion that the Arizona family has "more than they can handle" with their new children and decides to kidnap one of the babies, with the help of her husband. And this is all before the opening credits.

    Things become even more complicated when two of H.I's prison buddies break out of jail and decide to stay at his place until they can come up with a plan that will be the start of "a crime spree that will encompass all of the Southwest proper - or we'll get caught - either way we're set for life." They invite H.I. to join them admonishing him that they know he's "partial to convenience stores, but the sun don't rise and set on the corner grocer". Note that one of the escaped felons is played by John Goodman. If you haven't seen this film since it first came out in 1987 you might have forgotten this, since this is one of his early pre-Roseanne film roles. Eventually Ed and H.I. come to their senses and return the baby, and we get the impression from the conclusion that someday in the future Ed and H.I. will have children of their own.

    This film is full of sight gags and inside jokes that you have to watch carefully to get. For example, Nathan Arizona's commercials for his Unpainted Arizona furniture stores have a tagline of guaranteeing his merchandise is the best and cheapest "or my name isn't Nathan Arizona". As it turns out, we find out his name isn't Nathan Arizona, it is Nathan Huffhines. He changed it because "would you buy an unpainted dinette set from a place called Unpainted Huffhines?". This movie is a light comic piece. Don't let some of the Coens' other darker works dissuade you from seeing this film - there isn't a dark moment in the entire thing. ...more info
  • Makes me Sad.....
    I'll never forget the wonderful surprise this movie was. In 1987 , I'd not seen BLOOD SIMPLE(not that BLOOD SIMPLE would be any kind of an indicator)so it was my first Coen brothers experience. The synopsis above spells out exactly what you can expect in terms of narrative but as with most Coen brothers adventures, the fun lies as much in their execution as anything else. At that point in time, no director(or directors)had approached this genre with such an innovative eye & here they're ably assisted by Barry Sonnenfeld"s dizzying cinematography. Watch for a jaw-dropping chase sequence involving a pack of dogs, a couple of cops, a unique supermarket visit, home invasion & an airborne Nicholas Cage. Wacky & off-centre, sadly The Coens don't really do work like this anymore...INTOLERABLE CRUELTY? THE LADYKILLERS? Forget it! This one is the core of their humour...Keep an eye out for Frances McDormand who almost steals the film with her 4 minute appearance...Cage & Holly Hunter are outstanding......more info
  • Still Crazy After All These Years
    When I first saw this movie I thought it was one of the craziest movies I'd ever seen. Twenty years later, I still feel the same way. No matter how many times I view this, I shake my head in amazement at some of the things I see and hear. It's definitely one-of-a-kind.

    The wacky characters and outrageous story, of course, are the attractions here but I also enjoyed the low camera angles employed here by the directors, the Coen brothers, and I've always enjoyed Nicholas Cage's strange dialog in the narration.

    Everyone in this film - everyone but the little babies - are totally insane, beginning with the lead people, the husband-and-wife team played by Cage and Holly Hunter. I got most of my laughs, however, from the supporting cast of John Goodman and Bill Forysthe as escaped convicts, Trey Wilson as the father of the quints and Randall "Tex" Cobb as "Leonard Smalls." For a pro boxer, Cobb turned out to be a pretty good actor.

    If you're looking for something different, something really far out and funny, look no further.
    ...more info
  • Great fun! 4 and 1/2 stars
    I enjoyed watching this movie last night as it was fun and quite funny. The acting is great notably by Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter and John Goodman. The jokes were great and memorable and I found myself on the floor rolling with laughter at some parts. The music is a little too crazy at times but it's hilarious. The janitor is so funny! I love thee manhunter guy who throws the grenade at the rabbit! That was absolutely hilarious!!!!!!!
    The movie is about Hi and Ed, a newly married couple who cannot conceive a child. No adoption agency will give them a baby as Hi has a criminal past. So, they steal Nate Jr. the son of the rich and hilarious Nathan Arizona. So now everyone is on the lookout for this baby and there's a huge reward. The manhunter is one guy trying to get the baby and even two excaped convicts and once friends of Hi are trying to get little Nate Jr.
    The movie has many memorable hilarious scenes like when the police is running after Hi. Priceless fun. "You've got a panty over yur head!!!!!!!!!!" Ha Ha !!!!!!!!!
    But, my favorite line was when one of the Snoat brothers tells the owner of a store at a gas station to count to 850 and back. At 799, he's like "bull sh**" when suddenly the Snoat brothers drive full blast down the road screaming at the top of their lungs because they forget Nathan Jr. The owner freaks out and gets back on the floor and counts again!
    The movie may be cheesy and the music may be annoying at times but it's still great fun and you'll be laughing nonstop!
    This is how I rank the 3 Coen Brothers movies that I saw:
    1. Fargo- By far the best!
    2. Raising Arizona- Awesome! Hilarious!
    3. The Big Lebowski- pretty funny but too many cuss words!...more info
  • Perfectly Hilarious
    I don't often watch a movie more than one time, but this one grabs me whenever I hear the music or a line of dialog as I flip through the channels. By now we own a copy and I can't even count the number of times I've laughed my way through it.
    The basic story involves an ex-con and his wife who's a cop. They kidnap an infant from a set of quintuplets. The deadpan narration teamed up with Nicholas Cage's hapless expression and disarranged hair is the perfect foil for all the mayhem, car chases, robberies, as the infant is kidnapped again and again by a zany cast of characters.
    Sure other movies have incompetent bank robbers, dogs chasing criminals, and lovable babies, but this one puts them all together with Nicholas Cage for a comedy classic.
    ...more info
  • Reminiscent of the humorous two-dimensional anarchy of Warner Bros. cartoons...
    For all the visual flair and deft performances on display in their films, the Coens' greatest virtue lies in writing... In terms of cheerful stories, witty dialog and the creation of a coherent, plausible fantasy world peopled by vivid characters, their ability to work original and entertaining variations on a genre indicates well for the future...

    Opening with a brilliant pre-credits monologue, "Raising Arizona" tells of an incompetent, compulsive petty criminal's love for his prison warder: married but infertile, the couple kidnap a baby, whose tycoon father hires a crazed biker to find and kill the culprits... A surreal, slapstick satire, it takes intense pleasure in exciting plotting, showy and cheap colors, and hilarious screwball characters...

    ...more info
  • Raising Arizona
    Now that I'm a mother of two a little hard to watch but all in all very funny. A classic Cohen Brothers movie....more info
  • Some great, weird humor here!
    This great movie is absolutely hilarious...and one of my all-time favs besides AIRPLANE! Where else can you get prisoners marrying policewomen, babies being stolen, a trailer trash family (the nephew and his wife), and the rider from the Apocolypse? Right here in RAISING ARIZONA! Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunt give excellent performances...and it is easy to see there is more to come for these folks. One can also see a younger John Goodman as one of HI's prison buddies who breaks out of jail and comes to stay with HI and Ed.

    This movie is just plain wacky! It's so wacky that it's both funny and weird. So, if you want to see the career-beginning movies of some of the best actors from the '90s and '00's, go ahead and watch this little movie. It's fun....really fun! ...more info
  • Under-Rated, Under-Appreciated But Great Nevertheless!
    Comedies don't normally age well because there are only so many times you can hear a joke without getting sick of it and so films of that ilk normally represent sort of a time capsule of what the key events and issues of the time were that concerned people and hence what was funny to them at that time. For those of us that are not of that time dated jokes leave us asking "huh?".

    Once in a while though, we get the exception that still manages to retain its humour despite the years and just like that other sleeper and underappreciated gem "Cat Ballou", "Raising Arizona" is one heck of a great film. The scriptwriting is first class and the theme of a desperate couple feeling the anguish of not being able to have children is timeless making this comedy relevant for all times unlike the vast majority of comedies that are out there. "Tootsie" has been ranked by AFI as the funniest comedy of all time and I did think so myself when I first watched it many years ago but when I revisited it recently, I had to say "huh?" I guess men in drag has become so common these days that the film has become a dated time capsule of the early 80s while I still thoroughly enjoyed "Raising Arizona" and I think it's much funnier than anything that is currently listed on the AFI top 10 list. By the way, "This is Spinal Tap" is another film that should be on the top ten list but is inexplicably not there.

    What makes is film work though in addition to the brilliant script and direction is the great cast. Holly Hunter was excellent and John Goodman, Nicolas Cage and the rest are not far behind in terms of great acting.

    This dvd version is also very good in that both the picture and sound quality is very good despite not being restored. There are no special features to speak about though like interviews or making-of documentaries which is the only downer for this very entertaining and enjoyable film.

    Recommended!...more info
  • 'RAISING ARIZONA' a comedy beyond 'any'
    Raising Arizona is one of my favourite comedies of all time. Nic Cage & Holly Hunter work well together. They are two of my favourites as well. The film never gets boring. It is full of low IQs, surprising twists and non-stop humour. The film is supported by John Goodman and Trey Wilson who do a great job as two escaped convictes who crashes at Nic & Holly crib. ...more info
  • Did anyone else notice??
    Did anyone else notice that while H.I. (Nicolas Cage) was working in the sheet metal factory after being released from prison, the patch on his jumpsuit said "Hudsucker Industries"??...more info
  • Simply one of my favorite movies
    This is one of the best from the Coen Brothers. Hilarious, excellent characters right from the stars (Cage and Hunter) on through. I have seen this movie many times and it never gets tired. While this is a comedy it has a wonderful ending that I found quite moving. Two thumbs, and a bunch of toes up from me...more info
  • Raising Cain
    RAISING ARIZONA has never been my favorite Coen film, but I recently re-watched it, and with an unusual sense of obligation (for me) took in the special features,read all the notes, researched it a bit online--and found myself developing a budding affection for the film. In fact, I found myself wondering why I had had such an active dislike for the flick in the first place.

    Now I want to see it again.

    The thing about shaggy dog stories is that you have to be in the mood for them. Absurdities can seem a little precious and kind of irritating if you're in the wrong frame of mind. As the Amazon man (above) says, some people will find this movie this movie utterly "original" and captivating, and others will find it "over the top." And some will keep changing their minds, depending on whether their lumbago is bothering them or something.

    I think maybe I wanted the Holly Hunter character to be a little more grounded, you know maybe like Marge in FARGO. Her "Ed" seems like she should be Nicolas Cage's "Hi's" rock, until you realize that her baby hunger has gotten her as far off HER rocker as her oft-wayward hubby. Once you accept HER craziness as an essential part of the plot--once you realize that the women are just as loopy as the men--well, you can sit back and enjoy this ride through LaLa Land.

    It occurs to me now that the Coen's essentially cast Hunter in a similar role in OH BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? (albeit her character is considerably more fecund in that film). In the later film, she also exerts a certain womanly power and influence over her similarly wayward hubby. And she can be just as stubborn...and as stubbornly crazy. The Coen's obviously see something in Hunter that they don't mind tapping into whenever it's called for.

    Which is true of their casting decisions in general. Nic Cage has not been one of the Coens' recurring castmembers (as it turns out--although never say never), but his H.I. McDunnough evokes other comic parts (often as a hapless, good hearted loser)that he's done masterfully throughout his career (and the fact that many of these came AFTER ARIZONA suggests that the Coens were actually pretty prescient in their casting of him in this 1987 black comedy.

    (In fact, if you look at his resume, you might note that back in the 80s, most of his successes were COMEDIES. The action-adventure stuff, that seems to have brought him his biggest commercial successes, came later.)

    I've been running my own little Coen Brothers film festival of late, and it's been a process of discovery. I always knew I liked them, but I didn't quite realize how much--or why. Re-watching ARIZONA, there were only one or two scenes that I was actually bothered by; the chase scene with the snarling dogs was one of them. I can't say for sure, but I suspect that when I watch it again, I'll start to see it as an integral part of the film and not comprehend why I didn't "get it" before. Or maybe not--you're not going to embrace every move your favorite filmmakers make--but you do start to see how it all fits together.

    And it does fit together.







    ...more info
  • Very Funny, Entertaining Coen Brothers Movie!
    I think this movie is one of the best of the Coen Brothers. It is not a masterpiece but a sign of the great movies to come and a work of art in its own right. Holly Hunter is a police officer and Nicholas Cage is a life long criminal who fall in love and settle down together. Their attempt to have a child is thwarted by her infertility and his criminal history. The couple decide to steal a baby from a couple who recently had quintuplets and fellow criminals decide to hold the baby for ransom leading to some crazy situations including the fact that they don't seem to be able to keep track of the baby. Very cute and funny. ...more info
  • WARNING: AN INNOCENT BUNNY GETS BLOWN UP IN THIS FILM!!!!!!
    After all these years, this still remains my favorite film by those very wacky and talented Coen brothers. It's just a shame this didn't do so well at the box office upon its initial release, but I suppose one can tribute that to the general public at the time not being quite ready for such comedic greatness, lol. Just take my word for it and many other reviewers on here as well: ADD IT TO YOUR COLLECTION, PRONTO!

    Note: Nic Cage doesn't get ANY better than this when it comes to sheer comedy! His best performance by far in that sense.
    >;-D ...more info
  • Not Hilarious, But Funny
    While this movie wasn't totally hilarious, there's always good fun with John Goodman in it. H.I.{Nicholas Cage} is a criminal, and his wife {Holly Hunter} is a cop. When she can't get pregnant, there isn't one adoption agency around that can give them a kid. So, they just kidnap a baby and pass it on as their own, because they want one so bad, and things don't go so easily after that because that's when John Goodman and his partner {who are both also escaped criminals} have to live with them for a while and later in the movie, things still don't get better because of Leonard Smalls, a tough biker who can probably crush anything with his hands and destory anything else with his grenades. Loosely, I'd give this just 4 stars, because while it was funny, John Goodman was my favorite guy, because I thought he was funny. This movie was not bad at all for a good comedy. Just the way he appeared in one scene, yelling as he crawled out of the mud in the pouring rain just like a monster or something. He is very funny. This movie was pretty neat, and not all that serious. There was never a sequel, though. It doesn't need one anyhow. ...more info
  • A surreally magnificent comedy
    The Coen Brothers followed their successful film debut of BLOOD SIMPLE with one of the most original and strange comedies ever to be made in America. From the very first shots, as career petty criminal H.I. McDonnough (Nicholas Cage) meets and woos police photographer Ed (Holly Hunter) with each arrest, the film announces that it is not going to dwell much in the world of realism. In fact, the whole film seems to dwell in its own alternative universe with its own logic. Everything works together to confirm this, from the strange camera angles, the deadpan expressions on the faces of many of the performers, the tongue-in-cheek delivery in every scene, the inventive outrageousness of every segment. There are hundreds of brilliant moments, from Leonard Smalls's tattoo ("Mother Didn't Love Me") to the convenience store clerk who interrupts his counting ("One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi . . .") only to see the bandits returning in their car to Nicholas Cage leaning out of the car to snag a package of Huggies to the strange, weird yodeling that reprises throughout the film.

    The film perfectly blends the near perfect script that the Brothers created, with perfect direction, and a bevy of amazingly effective performances. Cage, Hunter, John Goodman, Trey Wilson (who died only a year or two later after this film came out), William Forsythe, Tex Cobb, and a host of supporting performers manage to generate one great scene after another. I have probably seen this film 8 or 9 times over the years, and every time I see it, it strikes me just as fun and as fresh as before.

    Every fan of the Coen Brothers is going to have a different set of favorites, but this is probably my second favorite of all their films, following only THE BIG LEBOWSKI. What amazes me after repeated viewings is how the Coens managed to take a large number of elements that could very easily not have meshed, and make something magnificent out of it....more info

  • Raising Laughter
    The movie Raising Arizona was absolutely hilarious!!! Nicholas Cage was amazing! Cohen brothers are awesome like always....more info
  • Son you gotta panty on your head
    I have seen this movie more times than I can count. This is one of the funniest quirky flicks that I have ever seen. John Goodman is great as a escaped con. You will love this movie, or my name isn't Nathan Arizona!!...more info
  • Raw, Unvarnished Comedy -- Laughs Galore!
    One of the earlier films of the Coen brothers (Joel and Ethan), "Raising Arizona" nevertheless lays the foundation for the Coens' later, more polished efforts.

    H.I. ("Hi") McDonough, played with an earnest romanticism by Nicolas Cage, is a classic Coen protagonist. He means well, even if he can't get his master plan to quite come together (this is a man of dreams, forced into the life of a small-time hood by trickle-down economics), and he is prone to speaking in fits of poetry that often go awry ("There's what's right and there's what's right, and never the twain shall meet"). In one of the most inspired courtings ever to be put on film, Hi woos and wins Police Officer Edwina ("Ed"), played by Holly Hunter in a career-defining role, while being booked on numerous occasions.

    Denied the joys of parenthood by Ed's infertile womb ("a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase") and Hi's criminal past - Ed's police service doesn't quite "cancel out" Hi's record like they had hoped -- Hi and Ed can't really enjoy their "salad days" in their trailer in the Arizona desert. That is, until the Arizona Quints are born to unpainted furniture magnate Nathan Arizona. Deciding that old Nathan and his wife have more kids than they could handle, Ed and Hi decide to kidnap one of the little nippers. In a scene that parodies "Jaws," Hi snags Nathan Jr., and Ed and Hi are parents.

    Unfortunately, Hi's criminal past catches up wtih him as Gale (John Goodman) and Evelle (William Forsythe) break out of prison and hide out with Hi at the family trailer. Soon they are on to Hi's kidnapping, and they decide to pursue their own agenda. Unfortunately for all concerned, bounty hunter Leonard Smalls is on the hunt for the kidnapped youngster, too -- and a nasty bloodhound from hell he is, too. Surely casting "Tex" Cobb in this part is one of the most inspired bits of casting ever!

    The movie is chock full of surprises, from the chase scenes involving what seems like ten packs of hounds and more gunfire than one could possibly imagine, to a fight in the trailer that won't be topped until "Kill Bill, Vol. 2," and an over-the-top cameo performance by Frances MacDormand as a nosy neighbor with a fondness for bibical names and a trove of baby advice. The dialogue is rich, filled with comic inspiration and a touching devotion to family. And, like most Coen brothers movies, things generally turn out all right for our heroes, they definitely don't wind up the way they planned.

    For fans of the Coens, off-beat comedies, Nic Cage and Holly Hunter (which should describe an awful lot of folks), this is a heck of a film....more info

  • Comedy Masterpiece
    Buy this now!!!

    The Coen Brothers released Fargo, a very fine movie, and it gets all the hype (along with The Big Lebowski). But if you would like to see a true comedy classic, a movie that you can watch once a month forever, THIS IS THAT MOVIE. From Nicholas Cage's dirtball hero through Holly Hunter's deranged wife and John Goodman and William Forsythe's portrayal of demented convicts, this film has so many inspired bits of comedy that you will find yourself totally embraced by the chaotic wierdness that only the Coen brothers seem to be able to project on screen. Do not allow yourself to become embroiled in lesser, juvinele comedy...just watch this and be carried away into a surreal adult vision of what is truly funny. This is a top five of all time black comedy, that can only be diminished by a rehashing of plot lines. Suffice it to say that you will be completely entertained. ...more info
  • Raising Arizona: psycho-social fundamentalists
    My favorite Coen Brother film might be Raising Arizona. It is the story of a convenient-store robber named Hi (Nicolas Cage) who falls in love with a police-booking officer named Ed (Holly Hunter). And for love, Hi goes straight until about page ten when Hi and Ed decide that they need a child to complete the "family unit." Unfortunately, Ed is "barren" and Hi is an ex-con, so they are unlikely either to conceive or to adopt. But Nathan and Florence Arizona-owners of the Arizona Unpainted Furniture dynasty-have just had quintuplets, and according to the headlines, it's "more than they can handle." Ed persuades Hi that they should take one, and so they do, stumbling into a story spiral that will never quite let up. They take Nathan Jr. back to their "suburban starter home"--a trailer in a largely empty expanse of desert--where they are visited in turns by Hi's boss, Glen, who brings his wife and frightening tribe of children, by escaped convicts Evelle and Gail Snopes and by a bounty-hunter on a motor cycle. Each proves a threat to the integrity of the newly, if illegally, formed family unit--if only by critiquing their parenting skills. Glen feels Hi needs to lighten up and swap wives. Glen's wife feels a shrieking panic when she learns that Nathan Jr. has yet to have his "Dip-tet." Evelle and Gail think breast-feeding is an absolute must without which the child will end up in prison just as they did. And the bounty--hunter wants the child in order to claim the $25,000 reward though he kindly intends to rough up the kid-nappers for free. In the end, they all recognize Nathan Jr. and want the reward of his love or the reward for his return. And when he is then kid-napped from the kidnappers, it results in a chase that ends in kindness, charity and an explosion--after which the movies' epilogue gently lowers our expectations down onto the sad, sweet melancholy of Hi's last dream.

    When you look at the filmography of the Coen Brothers, you may wonder at their variety, at their breadth. They seem to be able to work in any number of genres. But, in truth, they have only ever worked in but one: a zany film noir. And while those who love them, like myself, can provide you with a rather long list of objects, character types and thematic elements that regularly occur in their films--hats, vomiting, kidnapping, howling fat men, dreams--I am rather more interested in their portrayal of a world inhabited by psycho-social fundamentalists, who take everyone at his or her word-literally-and who are incapable of suspicion, of divining ill-intent. They are, more often than not, people who dream of having what is really no more than the ordinary fare of ordinary people; people who dream of living in what other people seek to escape. Hi and Ed are a warm trailer trash version of the farm couple in Grant Wood's American Gothic. And Hi is probably the better example. Is he an innocent or a well-meaning, conscious-less idiot? Terminally straight-faced, he describes his life and story in long, calm periods with dickensian qualification whether he is being fired at by a convenient store clerk with a gun many times bigger than his own; is being chased by police who fire non-stop and indiscriminently down residential streets, into occupied homes and through busy super-markets; or is being beaten senseless by the warthog from hell--none of which, incidentally, is as frightening as Glen's pre-schoolers. When you add the rush and erratic veer of the shaky cam shots and the distance-distorting wide-angle lenses, the result is an overwhelming visual for a life swiftly picking up speed in its downward spiral. But Hi is forever deadpan and earnest with only his hair to signal a kind of frenzied surprise at the unexpected mysteries of just getting through another day....more info
  • A besmirching of Nathan Arizona's true character refuted
    Hi, I'm not one to rain on any one's parade, but if you watch the movie again, you will notice that Nathan Sr. does not and would not ever hire Leonard Smalls to retrieve little Nathan Jr.

    In fact he calls him an "evil man", and suggests that he (Leonard) took Nathan Jr. He also says to Smalls (in an incredible act of bravery facing that "Warthog from Hell") that Smalls is the one who is about to get his butt kicked and he starts dialing the "Federal B I" right in front of him. With that, Smalls vanishes from his office.

    Nathan further redeems himself from his original nature at the end of the film when H.I. and Ed are returning Nathan Jr., thru yon window by showing love, mercy and understanding to the wayward kidnappers. He really turned out to be an OK guy after all, especially considering he is still Nathan Arizona, just a lot wiser and older when it comes to appreciating his family, including his wife.

    Match this movie up on a Saturday night with "The Big Lebowski" (and a few White Russians) and I'm in Coen Bros heaven! Soon to be added: "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"...more info
  • Funny
    Son You Got a panty on your head i think is the most funny thing on this movie that is very funny the hole movie is great.When his boss runs in to a tree that is really funny. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...more info