Tuesday, March 13, 2018
A month at the movies #13: Raising Arizona
In the past week I've seen the helicopter attack in Apocalypse Now three times, and the big shoot-out in Heat twice, because they've both popped up when I was browsing through the movie channels, and I can never, ever restrain myself from watching those whole sequences all the way through. If I'm lucky, I might be able to tear myself away at the end of the scenes, and not watch the films all the way through, but there are no guarantees. (If any Mad Max film or the Michael Mann version of Last of the Mohicans appears, I always end up watching the whole thing.)
The absolute worst scene for this is the first 11 minutes of Raising Arizona, which I always, always have to watch. I was late for a job interview once because I got stuck watching that opening scene and I don't think I got that job and it was still totally worth it.
It's just such a perfect sequence, front-loading a tonne of story information in the most ridiculously entertaining and vibrant way, with more than a dozen all-time great movie lines - I think about 'her insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase' every goddamn day.
It covers a whole saga of backstory that could be a movie in itself, and the rest of the film is really a sequel. It means that Cage can muck around with those darn babies for ages in the next part and it's actually nice to catch your breath after that exhilarating rush of an opening.
Picking a favourite Coen brothers film is fucking hard, because while they share themes and motifs and all that shit, they're all so different. But if you put a gun to my head, I'd say Raising Arizona, and it's all because of this opening. Okay then.