#20: Raising Arizona — dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
As we crack the top 20, it gets harder and harder to choose one film by a favorite director. Honest and true. I mean, if this were a real list, the Coen Brothers would probably constitute at least 4 or 5 of the top twenty. But as per Jon’s rules, I could only choose one. And I pondered this. My favorite Coen Brothers film used to be The Hudsucker Proxy. I know most people are like, “But The Big Lebowski? YOU CAN’T NOT LOVE THE DUDE.” And I do like that film. But for me, I think I’ve finally accepted that this is my favorite film of the Coens.
I know I keep coming back to the Simpsons. But think of how often you inadvertently quote the Simpsons on a daily basis. That’s how I am with this film. It’s become part of my DNA. I’m constantly dropping quotes from this. Not unless round is funny. My friends call me Lenny, only I ain’t got no friends. They were jammies! They had Yodas and shit on em.
But beyond that. Beyond that and the performances, it’s the script. It is an incredibly simple story. A super basic, easy, simple fucking story. But stylistically wrought — like a goddamn John Steinbeck novel, like Tortilla Flat. Where you’ve got these shitkickers, these simpletons, just trying to live their lives honest and true and lovingly. The dialogue is so overwrought, but in the best possible way. It’s PG-13, but hilarious. It’s insane. It’s ludicrous. A biker chases a convict who stole a baby from a rich family that had “more than they could handle.” The convict’s wife was a former “law-enforcement official.” Enter into the mix two ex-cons who are trying to bring H.I. back into the life. And then there’s Glen and Dot. Holy god. You could get a whole goddamn movie out of just them.