Raising Arizona ★★★★½

Possibly more than any other filmmakers, the Coen brothers make a wide variety of different films that range from full-out comedies to heavy dramas and everything in between, always blending doses of both to never be pinned down to one definable style. Therefore their style is always entirely original and evolving so once familiar with their movies you should be able to discern their involvement very quickly even knowing nothing of the production. Raising Arizona lies heavily toward the comedy end of the spectrum perhaps more so than the majority of their work.

I’m not going to go into why I love this film so much because to be honest it is very hard to define what makes a Coen brothers film so damned enjoyable. The comedic tones of their films are bizarre and though you may not be laughing out loud, you will be smiling on the inside throughout. Their unique blend is so impossible to duplicate it is hard to find anything else to compare it to. Raising Arizona is a lot of things. It’s a shotgun romance, it’s a caper, it’s a film about one woman’s great yearning to have children and her husband’s undying dedication to her and determination in delivering to her the thing she wants most in the world. Holly Hunter is stupendous. I don’t always dig Nick Cage but this is one of his greatest and most memorable roles as no one delivers that off-kilter slice of white trash quite like Cage. John Goodman is in his glorious sweet spot being just all around way too much and you even have Randall Cobb as the bounty hunter from Hell and his characterizing nose which is worth a million dollars on screen.

The twangy wailing music has me bouncing, the idiosyncratic insanity has me guffawing, this is one of my favorite Coen’s works and I love pretty much all of their canon. Featuring one of the greatest ‘falling in love’ montages in memory, Raising Arizona is a definitive classic unless you are part of the percentage of the population that just doesn’t get them. Check it out if you haven’t and always remember to double check the roof of your car before leaving a gas station.

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