Nicolas Cage first introduced himself to movie fans in the cult indie Valley Girl, and has since built a monumental Hollywood career playing characters good and bad, but his first real breakthrough came when he was not-so-good, yet not-so-bad, in Raising Arizona. Joel and Ethan Coen, who have also built monumental careers since this 1987 flick, aimed their satiric barbs smack-dab in the middle of the "family-values" '80s with this contemporary satire, telling the story of ex-con Hi (Cage) and his police-officer wife Ed (Holly Hunter), a couple who cannot have children and thus decide to kidnap a child from a woman who has had quintuplets, only to find themselves pursued by both a sadistic bounty hunter and a pair of Hi's prison pals, all of whom intend to take possession of the hapless infant. Raising Arizona is a very funny movie, but don't expect the Coen Brothers to undertake anything without comment, and such issues as masculinity, motherhood, conformity, and the all-to-common American sense of entitlement are the subjects of their inimitable wit, all set to rapid-fire camera-work that only borders on conventional cinema and at times bears more resemblance to a classic Warner Brothers cartoon. So why are there so many homages in Raising Arizona to the films of Stanley Kubrick? (Exhibit A: "P.O.E.", a Dr. Strangelove reference, is seen several times on the door of a public toilet.) It's a question we've never been able to answer ourselves. Good transfer from a very good source print, the original Dolby 2.0, trailers for Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, and Barton Fink.
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