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Raising Arizona

Pic is the Coen Brothers' twisted view of family rearing in the American heartlands and as full of quirky humor and off-the-wall situations as their debut effort, Blood Simple. The film captures the surrealism of everyday life. Characters are so strange here that they seem to have stepped out of late-night television, tabloid newspapers, talk radio and a vivid imagination.

With:
Nicolas Cage Holly Hunter Trey Wilson John Goodman William Forsythe Frances McDormand

Pic is the Coen Brothers’ twisted view of family rearing in the American heartlands and as full of quirky humor and off-the-wall situations as their debut effort, Blood Simple. The film captures the surrealism of everyday life. Characters are so strange here that they seem to have stepped out of late-night television, tabloid newspapers, talk radio and a vivid imagination.

Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter are the off-center couple at the center of the doings. Cage is a well-meaning petty crook with a fondness for knocking off convenience stores. Hunter is the cop who checks him into prison so often that a romance develops.

They soon learn marriage is ‘no Ozzie and Harriet Show’ and when she learns she can’t have kids or adopt them, they do the next logical thing – steal one.

Loosely structured around a voice-over narration by Cage, Raising Arizona is as leisurely and disconnected as Blood Simple was taut and economical. While film is filled with many splendid touches and plenty of yocks, it often doesn’t hold together as a coherent story.

Popular on Variety

While Cage and Hunter are fine as the couple at sea in the desert, pic sports at least one outstanding performance from John Goodman as the con brother who wants a family too.

Raising Arizona

Production: Circle/Pedas-Barenholtz. Director Joel Coen; Producer Ethan Coen, Mark Silverman; Screenplay Ethan Coen, Joel Coen; Camera Barry Sonnenfeld; Editor Michael R. Miller; Music Carter Burwell; Art Director Jane Musky

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Nicolas Cage Holly Hunter Trey Wilson John Goodman William Forsythe Frances McDormand

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