Number three is a particularly difficult choice for me – I could do a top ten Coen Brothers Films list (hmm – note to self...). In a list like that, I'm not sure which would come out on top. Since I have room for only one Coen Brothers title, I'll go with the first movie of theirs that I saw on the big screen: Raising Arizona.
Nicholas Cage's performance as loveable sad-sack H.I. McDunnough (a convenience store hold-up artist who locks his keys in the car) is a comic tour de force. Newcomer Holly Hunter's face switches in an instant from withering scorn, to unshakeable despair. The entire cast is blessed with a script that delivers funny lines to everyone who shows up on set.
And in a film concerned with family and giving birth, the Coens crack their knuckles and roll out one cinematic pun after another. How nasty is it when two brothers deliver themselves from the muddy ground, like demon-spawn? And how pathetic is it when they chose to return on their own accord? And you just know the baddest guy is the biker who carries his own bronzed baby-shoes, and sports a tattoo that reads, “Momma didn't love me.”
It's a funny, dopey movie, and yet when the McDunnoughs finally return the baby to Nathan Arizona and he delivers his cornball consolation speech ("I sure hate to think of Florence leaving me. I do love her so.") I always get choked up. Of course, then he asks the couple to leave the way they came in: by the window.
I was going to include a few juicy quotes that always get me giggling, but there are too many. You can read a few here, or just resign yourself: get the movie off the shelf, drop it in the player, and enjoy.
Film Fave #2