Raising Arizona - 1987

Directed by Joel Coen; Written by Ethan and Joel Coen; Starring - Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter.

Plot: H.I. McDonnough repeatedly finds himself in front of Edwinas' camera, turning to the left and turning to the right for mugshots. Edwina is the policewoman who finds herself falling in love with the right profile, the left profile, and the kind heart of H.I. McDonnough. Her feelings are reciprocated by H.I, and the next time he is paroled from prison he vows to marry Ed,(Edwina) stay on the straight and narrow, and make a good life for them both. When they marry and their love finds "too much happiness..for just the two," they decide that the "next logical step was to have a critter." To their great sorrow they learn that Ed is unable to conceive, but find another "logical" solution to their misfortune in the birth of quintuplets to a local furniture tycoon and his wife. Helping themselves to one of the five "critters," brings them more love along with some unwanted parenting advice, unwelcomed visits from escaped convicts who kidnap their "critter", midnight diaper robberies, vicious bounty hunters,...and more love.

In Raising Arizona, the Coen brothers have managed to wind a satirical comedy around a bizarre plot without dismantling the truth or human nature of the characters with whom the audience can empathize. Finding charm in a story about small time crooks, love in a trailer home, escaped convicts and kidnapping may seem outrageous, but that's exactly what I found in this movie;..outrageous charm. There is a charming quality in the quirky eloquence of H.I. McDonnough (Nicolas Cage). He carries the language of an inept, barely educated, convenience store crook with an unexpected and curious flair. When H.I. says things like, "Edwina's insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase," he seems to decorate his expression with a kind of "Shakespearian flamboyance." I was also captivated by the depth of the love portrayed, when the McDonnoughs share a love so deep that they see no obstacles in misfortune and find possibilities in the most unlikely places. The passion with which the McDonnoughs sought to share their happiness and their determination to be good and loving parents were aspects of these characters that I found endearing. I was even sadly amused by the misguided convictions of the escaped convicts, who did all the wrong things so naturally because they believed them to be only right. Ultimately the movie left me with the same kind of feeling that I get after a robust bout of tearful laughter; that winded though refreshed feeling of contentment. However, this was the happy contentment of affirmation, for I have always felt that finding the redeeming qualities in everyone makes living a joyful experience. In my opinion, that is what Raising Arizona has done; it finds the redeeming qualities in those people whom most would not look to for such inspiration. And, you get to have a heck of good time in the discovery.

RAISING ARIZONA - the movie data base.



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Midi "Lullaby from Raising Arizona" by Chris McMartin
found at Toon In Midis