Hickey: Coen Brothers’ ‘Raising Arizona’ is an Underrated Classic Comedy

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Carmel Hickey, Staff Writer

From The Big Lebowski to Unbroken, the Coen Brothers have proven they know how to make a good movie. Among their many films is Raising Arizona, the 1987 comedy classic.

Before I go any further, it needs to be said this movie is just plain weird, as anyone who has seen it can attest. However, it is its irreverent nature and odd jokes make it so hilariously charming. 

The plot follows ex-con H.I. (Nicholas Cage) and ex-cop Ed (Holly Hunter), and their mission to steal a baby from a set of quintuplets after finding out that H.I. is infertile. The mission escalates when the father of the baby hires a terrifyingly determined bounty hunter to track them down. While it’s technically a crime film, the over-the-top effects make the crime scenes feel like one big joke. In the car chase scene, for example, H.I. wears a pair of pantyhose on his head as the police shoot at him, and a country tune plays in that background. So, definitely not your classic car chase. 

Nic Cage (left) and Holly Hunter (right) in Raising Arizona.

What I appreciate the most about this movie is that the plot is non-stop the entire time. You’re never waiting for something to happen; it’s fast-paced to mimic the chase that is occurring in the plot.

It’s an exceedingly quotable comedy that deserves serious recognition. I think I’ve heard my dad say, “Y’all hear that? We’re using code names” over 100 times. 

Jokes aside, Raising Arizona also shares a clear message; that having a traditional American family is not nearly as easy as it is made out to be. So if you’re on the hunt for a thrilling comedy that is packed with heartfelt messages, look no further. Raising Arizona is for you.

 

How to watch Raising Arizona.