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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16%
Average: 7%
Pretty Bad: 1%
Total Crap: 3%

6 reviews, 64 user ratings

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Raising Arizona
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by Chris Parry

"For most this is the Coen's 2nd best. I rank it higher. Only one higher."
5 stars

Unless you've been living in a cardboard box under a bridge since the 80's began, you'd know already that the Coen Brothers are pure directorial genius. The movie that laid that opinion as gospel was Barton Fink. I mean Blood Simple. I mean Fargo. I mean.. oh, to hell with it. All of them did. But Raising Arizona is the fat mama of the bunch.

Nic Cage was coming up at the time he took the role of H.I. McDonnough, an in-and-out of jail type who finds true love with one of his jailers, a woman called Ed (Holly Hunter). He'd yet to become the action movie/hair club for men posterboy he is today, and his roles were actually credible. Mostly. Ah, the halcyon days...

So anyway, H.I. and Ed wed, and the only thing they're missing is a child.

Ed is unable to have kids, being as her womb is rocky, and thus gives H.I.'s seed no place upon which to find purchase.

H.I. is unable to adopt, being as his past is rocky, and thus not the primo basis on which to allocate a man as father.

So the only thing left to do is to steal a kid. When they read of a family that just had quintuplets, Ed and H.I. figure that there's no way the parents could give them all the love they deserve, so H.I. snatches one and they raise it as their own.

At least until a few old buddies of H.I.'s. bust out of prison and decide that H.I.'s abode would do nicely for a little refuge, despite what the missus has to say about it.

Then comes the family who wonder where this kid came from.

Then comes the lone biker of the apocalypse.

If you haven't figured it out, this is a comedy. A damn fine comedy. It's also a nice look at hicktown Arizona americana, Coen style. The characters are individually hilarious, yet altogether real. They're certainly exaggerated, but all you need to do is drive down Route 66 a little while to find people who could easily be confused as those on screen.

Cage is great in the lead - A role that suited him perfectly and, sadly, a role we'll never see him go back to. He's goofy enough, vacant enough and, if you forget his body of work from 1995-now, talented enough.

Hunter is, as always, Hunter. She never waivers in style, pacing or talent, and always delivers just what's needed to bring a character that could be one dimensional in amateur hands into the fully flushed realm of thespianic brilliance.

With a support cast of John Goodman, Sam McMurray and Frances McDormand, the talent is all there, and the comedy is smart enough to satisfy the critics, while simple enough to keep any audience a-chuckling.

But the real star of the piece is the story. Fluttering from high slapstick to action/adventure to surrealism, there's something there for all tastes, and when it ends you wish it didn't have to. This is one hell of an entertaining few hours. There's absolutely nothing to gripe about, and you know I need no excuse to gripe.

If you loved Fargo, Raising Arizona wil be right up your alley. If you appreciated The Big Lebowski, well what are you waiting for? RENT THIS FRICKIN' FILM! And if you don't know a cuss word from shinola, well I can't help ya.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/27/98 00:06:08
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User Comments

9/03/12 Courtney The Coen brothers one true comedy. Hilarious. 4 stars
11/18/11 Golden J. Williams Jr. Laughing all through this movie; did wonders for me. Cage and Hunter-what a team. 5 stars
7/03/09 brian Okay then. 5 stars
9/17/08 Stu Very funny (and sometimes poignant). The Coens rock. 4 stars
10/24/06 R.W.Welch Inspired lunacy. 5 stars
8/23/06 Sepi53 nice suprisingly good film 4 stars
2/19/06 VC so weird so funny 5 stars
2/04/06 Kankasaur clever and kooky Coens' classic 5 stars
8/20/05 Indrid Cold A little out of control in places and not wall-to-wall hilarious, but still very memorable. 4 stars
7/12/05 Jake This is a wacky film with a bizarre, ironic and hilarious sense of humor! 5 stars
1/28/05 Charlie Hilarious? Extremely Entertaining! 5 stars
10/02/04 Daveman Despite the maudlin final reel, it's simply bursting with ideas, wit and imagination. 5 stars
7/27/04 MyGreenBed One of the great comedies in movie history (with After Hours and Take The Money And Run). 5 stars
6/15/04 T. Maj Whimsical classic--the Coens' best film 5 stars
6/11/04 Kevin Farkas It doesn't get any funnier or more fun than this! 5 stars
6/11/04 jason nimtz 1 stars
3/13/04 James Kustes One of the Coens' best 5 stars
2/10/04 HorrorScribbler Would you buy furniture from a store called Unpainted Huffheinz? 5 stars
11/22/03 adguy If you don't like this movie, you must have a panty on your head. 4 stars
6/22/03 cochese Another "classic" I cant love. Is it just me? 2 stars
6/19/03 John Aster Habig classy stab at white trash cliches but not as great as O Brother 5 stars
5/17/03 George Jung People who hate this movie can suck diseased monkey cock...or a cock of some kind...I guess 5 stars
11/09/02 Stevo 'When there was no crawdad, we ate sand.' 'You ate whut?!'?!' 5 stars
9/30/02 hoboe joe i agree with Erik 1 stars
9/30/02 Charles Tatum Your'e a flower you are 4 stars
9/11/02 Francofile This one sticks in your craw, and tickles, for a good long time. Nic Cage's finest hour. 5 stars
9/08/02 Jim The Coen brothers' funniest movie 5 stars
9/08/02 Kyle A damn good surprise. 5 stars
7/11/02 Film Dude No Andrew, this was NOT A BAD MOVIE. FUCK, I hate you... 5 stars
3/06/02 Veronica Foxx aka The Raven-Haired Temptress Quirky little film that makes for an entertaining and delightful viewing. 4 stars
2/02/02 the scarecrow Do you hate every movie you see, Andrew Carden? 5 stars
11/18/01 Andrew Carden It's Very Rare When A Movie Like This Comes Out. It's That Bad. 1 stars
10/23/01 Soggy Bottom Boy One of the best comedies of the 80s, this one will live on as a classic! 5 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean A brilliant comedy 5 stars
8/09/01 moviegoer What else to say but, I LOVE THIS MOVIE! 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk This was my first Coen bros.'s hard to top. 5 stars
6/15/01 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe Coens are genuises. Period. 5 stars
3/18/01 hum if, like me, you adore the coens work, its awesome. for others... 4 stars
2/12/01 john d(THE DUDE) my second all time favorite movie 5 stars
1/15/01 John Nelson One of the funniest movies, ever!!! 5 stars
1/13/01 zippernek Son, there's a panty on your head 5 stars
12/04/00 Cristopher Revilla quirky but awesome action/comedy flick 5 stars
10/27/00 Liz S Funny, but not a movie i would choose to watch on my own time 4 stars
10/22/00 Hartman Nic Cage's best role ever. Holly Hunter's one of the best actresses around. Perfect movie 5 stars
10/12/00 Phil hilarious chase, hilarious movie 5 stars
10/02/00 Zeitgeist "Would you buy furniture from a store called 'Unpainted Hufheinz'?" 5 stars
8/11/00 Elvisfan Turn to the right 5 stars
10/19/99 The Bomb 69 classic, the late,great Tex Cobb was icing on the cake 5 stars
9/25/99 alyssa Great movie - love the music. 4 stars
9/16/99 Ratso The best comedy ever made. John Goodman is unstoppable. 5 stars
9/09/99 Haden maybe my favorite movie ever. If you don't like it-you suck 5 stars
9/03/99 Elizaveta Yodas and Shit! 5 stars
7/25/99 Josh Radde Magificent movie 5 stars
7/22/99 PhilmPhreak Son, you got a pantie on your head. 5 stars
6/28/99 Jim Armstrong Only incredibly anal and unimaginative people could dislike this movie. 5 stars
1/20/99 C Dub Exceptional comedy, great performances and of course, the phenomenal fight scenes! 5 stars
11/20/98 Emma brilliant 5 stars
10/30/98 Silent Rob A quirky comic extravaganza. You'll either get it, or you like Friends... 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo Classic Coens movie. Better than Fargo in my opinion. 5 stars
9/30/98 Nate Dogg EXCELLENT FLICK!!! I live near that motorcycle guy with the grenades too... 5 stars
9/29/98 {{{OZ}}} Great fucking film. It all went down for Cage after this. What a shame. 5 stars
9/29/98 Johny A true landmark comedy 5 stars
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  02-Feb-1987 (PG)



Directed by
  Joel Coen

Written by
  Ethan Coen
  Joel Coen

  Nicolas Cage
  Holly Hunter
  Trey Wilson
  John Goodman
  William Forsythe
  Sam McMurray

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