This movie would have been featured here before now, but I’ve already included a couple of Coen Brothers films (O Brother Where Art Thou and Fargo) and wanted to showcase other classics. But I can’t put off Raising Arizona any longer.
It’s not a complicated plot. H.I. and Edwina McDunnough want a baby, but can’t conceive. Nathan and Florence Arizona have quintuplets. That doesn’t seem fair to H.I. and Ed, so they help themselves to Nathan, Jr. And, as they say in the movies, hilarity ensues.
Lots of great performances in this one. Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter are terrific as the childless couple, John Goodman and William Forsythe are brilliant as escaped convicts who take refuge in the McDunnough’s trailer, and Frances McDormand is typically excellent as Ed’s friend Dot.
But, like most Coen Brothers movies, the script is the real star. Raising Arizona is one of those movies you can’t help but quote. These lines will bring back specific scenes to anyone who’s seen this movie. And the more you see it, the funnier it is.
Ed: You mean you busted out of jail.
Evelle: No, ma’am. We released ourselves on our own recognizance.
Gale: What Evelle here is trying to say is that we felt that the institution no longer had anything to offer us.
Gale: Why ain’t you breast-feeding? You appear to be capable.
Glen: I said, “Healthy white baby? Five years? What else you got?” Said they got two Koreans and a negra born with his heart on the outside. It’s a crazy world.
Evelle: You hear that, you dang hayseeds? We’re using code names!
Dot: What if a truck came along and splattered your brains all over the interstate? Where would that leave Ed and the little angel?
Gale: So many social engagements, so little time.