Raising Arizona (1987)

Raising Arizona (1987), written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

It would be hard to find a funnier or more warm-hearted movie about convenience store robbery, jail break and child abduction. The Coen Bros were really blazing in those years, and are not done yet.

I see some reviews call it forced, with style over substance. To me it's an updating of old screwball formulae: you expect craziness and wry commentary embedded in a general sense of decency and the film delivers.

Fine cast. I've read that her role was written for Holly Hunter. Nicolas Cage deserves particular praise for his comical timing and heartfelt anguished performance. He gets a lot of grief for his films and acting but he's got something that is really rather rare. When we laugh at him we're laughing at ourselves, and his pain makes us sincerely care.

I love his revelatory dreams and his antique, barely literate, yet entirely honest narration and letter writing. That the cons all speak therapy-talk is funny.

Available on Blu-ray.