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File:Arizona 9716.jpg

Just your typical American family.


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 Ed: I'm not gonna live this way, Hi! It just ain't family life!

H.I.: Well... it ain't "Ozzie and Harriet."

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H.I. (Nicolas Cage), harmless criminal, and Ed (Holly Hunter), a cop, meet and fall in love during a series of mug shots. They get married, settle down, and decide they want kids. There's one problem: Ed's infertile. They try adopting, but H.I.'s criminal past prevents this. Then, when all seems hopeless, an opportunity presents itself: Furniture magnate and local celebrity Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson)'s wife gives birth to quintuplets. An off-handed remark about "having more than they can handle" gives H.I. and Ed the idea to kidnap one of the babies, and raise it as their own. So, H.I. sneaks in, and takes Nathan Jr. (we think), and that's when all hell breaks loose. First, H.I's prison buddies Gayle (John Goodman) and Evelle (William Forsythe) break out, and hole up at their place. Then a demonic bounty hunter (Randall "Tex" Cobb), seems to spring from H.I.'s nightmares to pursue him. And then he punches out his boss. Directed by the Coen Brothers.


This movie contains examples of:

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 Gale: I told you not to use our names. Can't you try to keep from forgetting that?

Evelle: Not even our code names?

Gale: Oh yeah, right.

Evelle: Y'all hear that? We're using code names!

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 So let's go, honey! (cocks gun) Let's go get Nathan Jr.!

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  • Magical Realism: Definitely. The plot is centered around a fairly mundane love story/kidnapping scheme, but it also involves a bounty hunter who may or may not be a demon from Hell. And then there's Hi's tendency to have prophetic and/or clairvoyant dreams, which he doesn't seem to consider unusual.
  • Maintain the Lie: H.I. and Ed after they "adopt" Nathan Jr.
  • Mama Bear: Ed is ready to throw down with Leonard Smalls over Nathan, despite being unarmed.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking:
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 "I want a baby, H.I.! They got more than they can handle."

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  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The biker gives this to H.I. at the end.
  • Not So Different: H.I. and the Biker have the same Mr. Horsepower tattoo, fueling the possibility that he really is Hi's personal demon.
  • Oh Crap: The biker's expression when he realizes H.I. is holding the pin from one of his grenades.
  • Pineapple Surprise: how Hi defeats Leonard Smalls
  • Pin Pulling Teeth: Done by Leonard Smalls.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Ed, played by 5'2" Holly Hunter, is an officer of the law, twice decorated. Her face off against the biker should give some idea of how she achieved that. Also, when she slaps H.I. for robbing the convenience store, he looks like he's been punched by someone bigger than him.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Smalls, to the point he might not even be human.
  • Scary Black Man: Sometimes he gets the menstrual cramps real hard.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Biker's real name is "Leonard Smalls." His friends call him "Lenny"... but he ain't got no friends.
    • The tracking shot, supposedly the POV of Leonard Smalls' motorcycle speeding right up into the Arizona family window, is an homage to Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films. The Coen brothers were early collaborators with Raimi.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: H.I., and everyone in the film, to some degree. An early example of the Coens' fondness for stylization, but Roger Ebert found it distracting enough to pan the movie over it.
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 Evelle: No ma'am, we didn't escape, we released ourselves from prison on our own recognizance.

Gale: We felt we'd reached the limits of what the institution had to offer us.

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  • Stuff Blowing Up: Pretty much everything in the film's climax...including the biker.
  • Stupid Crooks: H.I. is a terrible crook, getting caught every time he tries to stick up a quickie mart. Evelle and Gale are just as bad, thoroughly bungling their bank robbery and constantly "leaving a man behind."
  • Tomboyish Name: Ed, short for Edwina.
  • Too Many Babies: the Arizona quints.
  • Word Salad Title: Discussed in-universe.
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 Cop: Sir, we discovered that you were born "Nathan Huffhines".

Nathan: Yeah, I changed my name. What of it?

Cop: Can you give us an indication why?

Nathan: Yeah. Would you shop at a store called "Unpainted Huffhines"?

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