100 movies: Raising Arizona

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

Raising Arizona Raising Arizona 04/07/12)

When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family’s quintuplets, their lives get more complicated than they anticipated.

Slowly, I’m catching up on some of the earlier Coen Brothers films. And you know what? I think I enjoy them more than their recent ones.

Raising Arizona is a totally oddball comedy, right up there with The Big Lebowski. Only, I do believe this is infinitely crazier. I mean, the main characters are stealing a baby because they can’t have their own. The baby then gets stolen by a couple of guys who’ve just busted out of jail. Oh and then there’s a crazy dude on a bike who also wants the baby. MADNESS!

Like The Big Lebowski, I found it easy to buy into the madness of it all. I really warmed to Hi and Ed. Loved the opening scene of Hi’s multiple trips to prison. I don’t think I could pick out my favourite scene from the film. There are a few in contention. Hi’s first hold-up after getting Nathan Jr. and the subsequent insane chase after it. Gale and Evelle’s stealing of Nathan Jr. and their crime spree and continually forgetting the baby. Loved it!

Nicholas Cage is brilliant. This is all before he starts acting all Nicholas Cage. Holly Hunter’s maternally obsessed Ed is definitely a little bit crazy, but it’s hard not to fall on her side.

At the heart of all the quirky madness there is a really sweet story of a couple who just want to have a family, and they’ll do anything they can to get that. The final scene of Hi’s dream is incredible touching and it did make me shed a tear.

I think after The Big Lebowski, this might just be my next favourite Coen Brothers film. I’ve got Miller’s Crossing and Barton Fink waiting to be seen. Let’s see what I make of those.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

53 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
  26. Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
  27. Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
  28. The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
  29. Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
  30. The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
  31. Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
  32. 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
  33. Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
  34. Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
  35. A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
  36. Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
  37. Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
  38. Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
  39. New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
  40. Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
  41. Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
  42. The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
  43. The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
  44. Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
  45. The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
  46. Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
  47. The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
  48. Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)
  49. Rebel Without a Cause 4/5 (22/06/12)
  50. A Lonely Place to Die 3/5 (26/06/12)
  51. Killer Joe 3/5 (29/06/12)
  52. The Amazing Spider-Man 4/5 (03/07/12)
  53. Raising Arizona 4/5 (04/07/12)

36 comments

  1. I love this film so much. Funny and quirky. I think I prefer the earlier Coen films. I take it you have seen o’ Brother? My fave coen film (even maybe than Lebowski, which is saying something as I model myself on the Dude)

  2. I love this film, the script, the performances, the amazing camera work (Evil Dead!), it is as close to perfect as a comedy could be. That said my favourite Coen Brothers film is Fargo, totally pitch black in white out conditions, a work of true genius.

    You are so right about Nicolas Cage I loved him in this but have hated him in virtually everything else he has done. He developed a go to on screen persona that I just can’t stomach, kinda like Al Pacino did after Scent of a Woman, ‘I’m a fan o’ man!’

    Definitely don’t delay in watching Miller’s Crossing and the Hudsucker Proxy, both are great. Look out for Sam Raimi’s (the director of Spiderman 1, 2 & 3) cameo in both films.

    • It’s funny, Nic Cage has that onscreen persona whether he’s doing some crappy medieval yarn or the usual action flick. He just can’t stop!

      Never even heard of Hudsucker Proxy – will definitely give that one a look up :)

      • My mistake, I meant Barton Fink, but watch Hudsucker Proxy too!

        I really hope Nicolas Cage is as dementedly intense in real life as he is on screen.

          • There are so many crazy stories about him, my favorite may just be the theory that he is a vampire. I will type that again so it sinks in, a vampire. There is a picture online of some guy from the 1800s looking suspiciously Cagey and clearly that can mean only one thing, Nicolas Cage is a 150 year old vampire, no other possible explanation, vampire. The rumor got so bad he even had to go on TV and deny it, what other actor would have to do that!

            Also do a Google image search for ‘Nicolas Cage Serbian textbook’, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  3. I’ve heard about this film before! The Coen Brothers usually make great films, but I’ve never seen this one. To see Nicholas Cage before he became, well, what he is now is something worth giving a look over.

  4. I’ve never seen this one – “I think after The Big Lebowski, this might just be my next favourite Coen Brothers film.” that part really makes me want to watch it, I love their comedies they are so funny and have such original, entertaining characters.

  5. ‘Surely Nic Cage’s funniest role’ – I take it you haven’t seen the Wicker Man

  6. FINALLY! A film that I actually saw. LOL Oh poor Nic Cage, how did he go so wrong. He should be doing more films like Raising Arizona. I still love that scene where he is trying to steal baby diapers. LOL Still makes me laugh to this day.

  7. Saw this ages ago. This makes me want to take it out and watch it again. A quirky great film, and Nicholas Cage before he became too Nicholas Cagey.

    • I love that – “Before he became too Nicholas Cagey” – totally true!

      No one does comedies quite like the Coen brothers.

  8. This one totally took me by surprise because it was funny, but also had a bit of a soft side to it as well that I wasn’t expecting, especially coming from the Coens. Definitely a very underrated gem and one of Cage’s best performances. Good review Jaina.

    • I wasn’t expecting the soft side of this at all. Couldn’t believe I had tears rolling down my face at the end.

  9. This is a funny coincidence — I just saw Raising Arizona for the first time over the weekend as well! I was fortunate enough to see it in the theater with a panel discussion afterward, and I loved it! Just a great movie all around, and it was so much fun to see Nicolas Cage go off the wall. Now I need to work on the remaining Coen brothers movies I have yet to see… (which also includes Barton Fink and Miller’s Crossing)

    • Must have been excellent to see it in the cinema. Who was on the panel discussion?

      I’ve heard great things about Barton Fink and Miller’s Crossing. Looking forward to both of them too :)

      • Oops, sorry for the late reply. I haven’t been getting any email notifications about comment from your site lately. Wonder what’s going on…?

        I saw Raising Arizona as part of “The Film That Changed Your Life” series. It’s actually a book in which the author talked to 30 different directors and got insight on what film changed their life and why. Wikipedia has the full list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Film_That_Changed_My_Life

        Anyway, the panel discussion was with the author, Robert K. Elder, and director Jay Duplass, who selected Raising Arizona. It was a lot of fun!

  10. Pingback: 100 movies: Miller’s Crossing | Time well spent

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