Raising Arizona (1987)


Written by Ethan and Joel; directed by Joel; produced by Ethan

Recidivist H.I. and policewoman Ed get married and want a baby, but she’s infertile so they decide to steal one…

Seen before? I honestly don’t know. I either saw it as a child, soon after it came out, or just sitting through the trailer 700 times on various VHS rentals has tricked my brain into thinking I watching the whole film.

Best performance: Holly Hunter as Ed, the smarter but even more deranged half of the couple.

Coen regulars (running total of appearances): Holly Hunter (2). Frances McDormand (2) is unrecognisable from her role in Blood Simple, here playing a loud, OTT mum-of-brats. John Goodman (1) plays H.I.’s prison buddy Gale Snouts. M. Emmet Walsh (2) has a cameo as a boring work colleague.

Best bit: H.I.’s attempt to steal some nappies and the subsequent police chase.

Review: This is exuberant stuff, especially to begin with – a great opening 10 minutes is a banjo-scored montage of backstory, which is pacey and funny. Whereas Blood Simple was po-faced noir played straight, this is cartoon excess. No one in it has even a toe, let alone a whole foot, in reality. We get laughably inept bank-robbers, a Mad Max bounty hunter, and a pair of full-of-themselves swingers. It’s all good fun, but it’s very throwaway: it’s like watching a live-action Family Guy at times. Enjoyable fluff.

Seven packs of Huggies out of 10.


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