101 Funniest Screenplays

Joel and Ethan Coen's second film marked a shift from “the mundane, economical dialogue of Blood Simple” to “the kind of eccentric, ‘high hick’ diction that will become a Coens’ staple,” wrote Christopher Orr in The Atlantic. Raising Arizona not only affirmed the brothers’ predilection for true crime, it signaled they could handle it with slapstick and dry humor. It’s the story of an ex-con named Hi (Nicolas Cage) and an ex-cop named Edwina (Holly Hunter) who marry and then kidnap an infant – one of five quintuplets born to a furniture magnate. The movie is a thrill ride of visual humor, with yodeling. In an interview upon the film’s release, Ethan Coen neatly summed up the dilemma for his main character: Hi has to choose between “the unquenchable desire to hold up convenience stores on the one hand and the desire to settle into family life on the other hand.”