I will admit, I didn’t really have a clear understanding for their genius with writing on my first viewings, but they eventually won me over and have become one on a short list of my favorite American Filmmakers.
I wasn’t ready for “Raising Arizona” the first time I’d seen it, mainly because it was unlike any comedy I had ever seen before. I feel that some works of genius are rewarded later. This film definitely falls into that category.
My mom and I watched it together, and we had a difficult time concentrating on the dialogue because we were so involved in watching Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, William Forsythe, and Randall “Tex” Cobb display their physical talents. The hair and makeup people for Nicholas Cage did not get paid enough money.
This is a movie that was packed with criminals, prison breaks, kidnappings, bounty hunters, car chases, shoot outs, and explosions…did I mention that it’s a comedy?
The premise alone makes me giggle.
Our convict, H. I. “You can call me Hi” McDunnough (Cage) meets our cop Ed “short for Edwina” (Hunter) as he is being booked. She (Ed) takes his (Hi’s) mug shots. This extremely odd couple decides to get married and later finds that they cannot conceive children. Hi decides to take matters into his own hands instead of waiting for the adoption process to work and kidnaps the 7th child of a wealthy furniture store mogul, Nathan Arizona. Hence, “Raising Arizona“.
Prior to watching this, my mom and I made guesses based on the title as to what the movie could be about.
“Are they going to make mountains in the Arizona desert?”
“Is Arizona going to float off into space?”
There was none of that in this movie….maybe that is why we were disappointed at first….hmm.
I don’t think I will ever be able to forget the “Huggies robbery” sequence. I remember not being able to stop laughing from the moment he slid his panty hose over his head, until he reached out the door of the moving car and picked up the diapers on the road without stopping the car. I have a smile that is stretching across my face as I remember and write about it.
In the end, as many Coen Brother films were in the 80s and early 90s, this movie was ahead of it’s time and can now be appreciated for what it is. An original comedy that the talent lost themselves inside of.
It was this movie that gave us a heads up for “Barton Fink” “Fargo” “The Big Lebowski” “No Country for Old Men” and the better “True Grit“…and I left a lot of REALLY great films out, because “factually” I want you to research all of them and get to love them for the first time.