Thursday, March 23, 2006

Coen brothers classic

If you have never seen Raising Arizona, you're missing out on some great hick humor. The ultimate screwball comedy starring Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, and John Goodman, it is law-breaking at its finest. Only an infertile cop who married a convict would attempt to steal someone else's child. And that's exactly what she does. Actually, "Ed" sends her husband "Hi" to break into the local furniture salesman's house to steal one of his quintuplets. They figure that 5 is too many babies for one family. Causing a media frenzy, they successfully make off with Nathan, Jr., an unusually happy child. They are a cute little family with a secret until Hi's friends, fugitives who have literally dug their way out of prison, show up on his doorstep with nowhere else to go.

Craziness ensues. Hi has a couple of memorable Huggies runs. He decks his boss for suggesting that they becomes swingers like he and his wife. A bounty hunter that shows up in Hi's dreams turns out to be real and tries to acquire the baby for reward money in the end. Before that, the fugitives make off with the baby so they can have the $25,000 and rob a convenience store and a bank along the way. Despite the horrific thought of a child in a car seat falling off the roof of a car...twice, all of these antics are supremely entertaining.
The Coen brothers have a way of making stupid comedy (which I usually hate) great. They mix the boring reality of life in rural Arizona with some unexpected, unlikely twists. Details like the old man in the convenience store counting with "Mississippi"s make it unique -- never a dull moment. Holly Hunter's character is particularly hilarious. This is also a different film for Nicolas Cage, though he pulls it off as well as he does all the action and suspense roles he did in the 90s and after. The movie is a classic, and well worth the time.

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