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Sep 23, 2008

CAGEFEST: The Nic Cage Film Festival - Raising Arizona

CAGEFEST wants to have a child, too. For previous entries, click here.

Raising Arizona had to be included as a part of Cagefest. Had to. Though, it's not surprising that, of all the films you've seen talked about over the last couple weeks, this is the only one that didn't attract anyone for the CON position. As such, Rachel from, appropriately, Rachel's Reel Reviews (a kickass no b.s. review site and an old-time LAMB) will be the owner of the sole opinion levied today. Who am I to argue? Raising Arizona is not only one of the Coens best, but it's almost without doubt Cage's best film, made in the prime of his acting days.

My mom is really into the British author, Jasper Fforde. She says he is to literature what the Coen Brothers are to cinema: they look at the world sideways. I can’t think of a better way to describe the Coens, and one of the best examples of this assessment is their second film, Raising Arizona.

In what other world would the audience truly root for a couple who kidnaps a toddler? Only the Coens can draw out the compassion for such people. A convict falls for a cop, whom he gets to know better with each arrest after his many failed attempts of robbing convenience stores. She in turn falls for him too. Already the quirkiness begins. He finally gets out of prison and they get married. The next logical step is to have a baby, but as luck would have it they can’t. Adoption is out of the question due to his prior conviction record. What options are left? Steal a baby from the richest family in town that just had quintuplets, of course. Hilarity ensues.

Raising Arizona is full of scenarios that would never happen in reality, but that are done so well that to accept them in this strange world of H.I. and Ed is almost as easy as breathing. It all just flows brilliantly, from beginning to end, never once feeling contrived for oddball characters such as these. The actors flawlessly deliver the laughs through snappy dialogue, facial expressions and eccentric actions. Each performance contains the right amount of farce to keep you in stitches, but holds enough back to keep from dissolving into blatant slap-sticky rubbish.

And even through all the laughter, the characters of H.I. and Ed are so painfully tragic, that you can’t help but feel sorry for them. After all is said and done, when H.I. is having his final dream of sitting down with their children and grandchildren to a beautiful dinner, this is when you realize the true frailty to this married couple. All they wanted was a family and it really isn’t fair that “some should have so many, while others should have so few.” This very human quality in H.I. and Ed is the heartbreaking piece of reality that the Coens flipped sideways to create this exceptionally funny, and touching, cult classic.

10 people have chosen wisely: on "CAGEFEST: The Nic Cage Film Festival - Raising Arizona"

Farzan said...

lol, good post. I have only seen parts of this film when it was showing on tv, but it did look alittle over the top.

THN said...

Great movie, great reviews. Come on, you can't get mad at this movie.

I'm going to rip off his face.

No more drugs for that man!

Joseph said...

Not only does Face/Off work for me as an over-the-top action flick, but I really like the family angle as well.

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

The movie was supposed to be Schwarzenegger/Stalone. The fact that it wasn't is a crime against humanity.

elgringo said...

I agree with Mr. Rodgers 100%.

I feel the need to point out that the forward slash was added so people wouldn't think it was a hockey movie. Yup. It's not like there aren't two million hockey fans that wouldn't ALSO love this movie.

"Suck your tongue like a peach"
"Whoowee I'm good lookin'"
Too many great lines to count.

Plus, like Whitney said, THEY SWITCH FACES!

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

Finally I have found someone that hates this movie as much as I do.

Ibetolis said...

I had no idea that Stallone and the Governator were in line to make the film!

That's totally freaked me out.

It may have even been an improvement.

Fletch said...

Can't get mad at Face/Off, Adam? I sure can.

Woo can take his wannabe pretentious action-art and shove it. He can take his slo-mo bullet fights and his doves and his Judy Garland and shove them all up Cage's ass.

All that said, the thing that bothered me the most was the awful filming of every action sequence, as it pertains to the stuntment. If you've had the disfortune (word?) of seeing Epic Movie, they did a similar thing, but as a joke, where Fred Willard's character is fighting someone else, but they make it blatantly clear that it's an Asian martial arts guy standing in for Fred. That's how bad the stunts for Face/Off were, only they were taking it dead seriously. Ugh.

RC said...

how funny...i love your comment about any movie with a forward slash in the title.

now how about a forward slash film series?

Mrs. Thuro's Mom said...

I am so glad that I am not the only one who hated this movie! These guys go after each other and just keep going and going and going until I was so bored I wanted to scream "Just kill each other already and put me out of my misery". Lame plot. Horrible movie.