Raising Arizona

Recently Tivo’d Raising Arizona, which was on CMT recently.

Notes.

  1. Apparently, the word “menstrual” is considered dirty by Country Music Television. They clipped the line to just say “sometimes I get the cramps real hard”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out a clip of the original line.
  2. I noticed that the factory where H.I. works immediately after he gets out of prison (the “salad days”) seems to be one “Hudsucker Industries”, or so H.I.’is uniform says. (A later Coen Bros. film, The Hudsucker Proxy, concerns the fictional company Hudsucker Industries). Also, Hudsucker Industries’ initials? H.I.
  3. I weep like a baby at the ending, during H.I.’s dream. Like clockwork. I’m not generally an emotional guy, but the emotions, they come out in weird ways, and one of those weird ways is that the last scene of Raising Arizona inevitably kills me.

7 thoughts on “Raising Arizona”

  1. The criticism most frequently leveled against the Coen’s work is that their ironic detachment implies that they think themselves superior to their characters and rather than relating to the characters we, the audience, are encouraged to look down on them and laugh.

    Raising Arizona on the other hand is easily their most sentimental work. Despite the bumpkinish characterizations we can laugh at the characters of H.I. and Ed while still identifying with them as human beings who have hopes and dreams and are deserving of dignity. Which is a long way of saying that it chokes me up too.

  2. Interesting coincidence, in today’s post blogger/screenwriter Todd Alcott has some interesting things to say about Raising Arizona.

    “Hi’s dream at the end of the movie never fails to reduce this viewer to pools of salty tears, partly because I wish his dream to come true and partly because I’ve seen that Hi’s dreams do, in fact, have a tendency to come true.”

    You can read the rest of the article here:
    http://toddalcott.livejournal.com/147454.html#cutid1

    He recently did a write up on Blood Simple and judging by his past posts we can probably expect a series of Coen Brother film analyses.

  3. I get a kick out of the background music in the first clip – a banjo/Stravinsky combo. I recognize Petroushka after playing it many times this weekend…

  4. Marco, I know what you’re getting at, but I think ‘sentimental’ carries a connotation of kitsch, or false emotion. A better word doesn’t spring to mind immediately (and I’ve been huffing solvents for the last hour, so I don’t expect one to just now).

    But let’s run with sentimental. I don’t think that sentiment and irony are necessarily exclusive. I just think they’re two ingredients to a film/whatever. Another good example that we’ve talked about at length is Rushmore: heavy on both genuine sentiment and irony. You know Max is a doofus and you are detached enough that you can see all his flaws, but you just love him anyway. And to continue the comparison, Anderson’s later films also over time have started to go heavier on the irony and lighter on the emotion.

  5. I think you are right that ‘sentimental’ is not exactly the right word. A better choice of words to describe the characterizations of Hi and Ed might be ‘warm’, ‘generous’ or ‘affectionate.’

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