Raising Arizona Cover It’s baby kidnapping time in this stylistic comedy of errors, mischief, and mayhem - brought to you by Directors in blood: The Coan Brothers; and Actors: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Randall Cobb, John Goodman, and William Forsythe. It was made in 1987, and lasts for 94 minutes.

Raising Arizona

Do you want to hear something funny? Three times convict, Herbert McDunnough (Nicolas Cage), marries his prison warden, Edwina (Holy Hunter), not so long after he leaves jail.

Now do you want to hear something sad? Edwina is barren, and she can not have any children of her own. Not only that though, oh no, they can’t adopt either, due to Herbert’s prison record.

What about hearing something misguided next? Well, urgent to start a family of their own, both Herbert and Edwina steals a baby from a local famous furniture magnate, Nathan Arizona - one of five children - and start to raise him under the given name, Junior.

OK, so now that as you have heard something that is funny, sad, and misguided, what about something f**ked up, huh? Not so long after Herbert and Edwina steals this baby, two old prison-friends of Herbert's - Gale and Evelle (John Goodman and William Forsythe) - break out of prison, and then turn up at his house seeking shelter.

Pretty f*cked up, right? That's what Edwina thinks too - because of her ‘baby situation’. Herbert on the other hand is a bit of a sap, and manages to persuade his wife to let them stay for a night or two.

However, due to Herbert's current situation – both with the baby and the re-emergence of his old prison chum’s – he feels somewhat confined in both spirit and identity. And that's one of the reasons why he: (1) Punched out his current boss a day or two later - after a dinner party at his house. (2) Try’s to rob a convenience store - with his wife and baby still in the car. And (3) Agrees to a proposition posed to him by Gale and Evelle - to rob a bank out of town.

But wait a God damn minute! It gets worse! You see, the very next day, before Herbert goes off with Gale and Evelle to rob the bank in question, Gale and Evelle discover of the true origins of Herbert’s new baby, prompting them in turn to take his baby, and then proceed to rob the bank without him.

Meanwhile, while all of this is going on, Leonard Smalls (Randall Cobb) – the biker of the Apocalypse – approaches the baby’s biological father, Nathan Arizona, and tries to barter with him a fee for his services to track his baby down. And though Nathan is discouraged by this proposition, this doesn't dissuade Leonard to finds his baby just after Gale and Evelle’s bank raid.

Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right hootenanny of sorts I can tell you. As errors lead to judgments - judgments leads to unions - and unions leads to a prosperous future to one and all.


Honestly, I find that 'Raising Arizona' is one of those movie that is brash in content, bold in reality, vast in character, personal in the telling, and warm within the watching. Well, what I mean by this, is that the Coan Brothers have managed to assemble a cast of fine actors to tell a heightened story in such a way, that it is both true and untrue at the same time.

The Cast of Raising Arizona

OK, I know that this does sound somewhat weird  – because I am the weirdo who wrote it – but what I am trying to explain, in a rather silly way, is that even if the story is a real enough tale – with a beginning, a middle, and an end - the style that this tale is told in, isn't.

Now this doesn't hinder my overall opinion about this film in any way shape or form, no way! In fact, it boldly enhances it to such a degree, that I can not help but become enriched in the majesty in which it is told in. The comedy is bold like a cartoon - the story is both simple and poetic in tone - and on top of that, the style and the pace of this film set's it apart from the rest, making it a captivating watch from the very beginning to the very end.

John and Co from Raising Arizona

You see, I surmise that the use of simplistic voice over narration, sweeping and stylistic camera movements, and ironic sound effects and music, all lend themselves in making 'Raising Arizona' a top class film. Plus, on top of that, as I said before, what a cast! Cage is mannered and extravagant. Hunter is sassy and sanguine. Goodman is confident and animated. Forsythe is charming and creepy. And Cobb is silent but deadly. All in all a great cast of players, all playing merrily together in a great film with a morally corrupt center.

Listen, I am sure that you can tell by now that I really love this film, and I can continue praising it till the cows come home, telling you such facts as: (1) One of the fifteen stand-in babies in this film was sacked because he started to walk. (2) Randall Cobb could not ride a motorbike before starring in this film, and he actually crashed it whilst shooting. (3) Kevin Costner turned down the lead role. (4) Holly Hunters part was developed specifically for her in mind. (4) The baby is the only character that does not cry in this movie, all the others do. And (5) The acronym 'P.O.E.' and 'O.P.E.' painted on the bathroom wall, is a filmic reference to Stanley Kubrics film 'Dr Stangelove' [click here for review].

But you don't want that, do you? You would rather look at this, my favorite scene from this flick...

Class comedy through and though - Viva La Arizona - no flaws - only praise.


RAISING ARIZONA RAISING ARIZONA Reviewed by David Andrews on March 06, 2012 Rating: 5
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