I happened to read a draft of Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Raising Arizona in early ’86, before they began filming. I loved the dark humor, the flirting with absurdity, the Preston Sturges-like tone. But I was envisioning a film that would work against all that with a tone of low-key naturalism.
When I saw the finished film I was horrified. It was pushed way too hard — too pedal-to-the-metal. And I hated, hated, HATED John Goodman‘s Gale and William Forsythe‘s Evelle.
I tried re-watching it a few years ago, just to bend over backwards and give it another try. I couldn’t even get through it.
Simon Pegg once described Raising Arizona as “a living, breathing Looney Tunes cartoon” — that’s precisely what I hated about it. Director Edgar Wright has said that Raising Arizona “is his favorite film of all time.” That’s it — Wright is not on my team.