Give Me that Baby, You Warthog from Hell!

Which film is more quotable, Raising Arizona or The Big Lebowski? Lebowski’s quotes are more applicable to daily life -- it’s the Zen element, and the bowling -- but Arizona’s quotes may be a touch funnier. Maybe. The Coen Brothers first comedy, Raising Arizona is as close to a live action cartoon as you can get. Stars Nicolas Cage (back in the good old days, when he was fun and funny) and the amazing Holly Hunter are H.I. and Ed McDonnough, newlyweds who can’t conceive due to Ed’s insides being a rocky place where H.I.’s seed can find no purchase. So, they do what any normal couple would do: They abduct one of furniture magnate Nathan Arizona’s newborn quintuplets. And thus begins a wild chase across a dreamworld version of Arizona, as the McDonnough’s are pursued by a maniacal bounty hunter, the Snoats Brothers (H.I.’s one-time partners in crime), the police and H.I.’s own tortured conscience. “It ain’t Ozzie and Harriet,” H.I. wryly notes during one chase. But as loopy as the film gets, the Coen’s still ground the film with the McDonnough’s decency; “Sometimes it’s a hard world for small things,” H.I. remarks several times. It’s the hard-won wisdom of a desert ascetic speaking the truth, even as he fights to make the world safer for his own dear-held small things. The Webster Film Series presents Raising Arizona at 8 p.m. at the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue; 314-968-7487 or as part of the Strange Brew Film Series. Tickets are $4.
Wed., April 1, 2009
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