Raising Arizona

Raising Arizona (1987)

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still from Raising Arizona

TOBACCO INCIDENTS 97
AVG PER MINUTE 1.08
EDITION Fox Home Entertainment DVD released May 12, 2009
MOVIE SUMMARY An ex-convict marries a policewoman and they steal a baby. Two other ex-cons visit and they steal the baby. A bounty hunter also tries to steal the baby.
TOBACCO IN SHORT Many of the prison convicts smoke cigarettes, the bounty hunter smokes cigars.
POSSIBLE SMOKESCREENS (?) The baby stealing, the strange dirty evil bounty hunter guy.

TOBACCO INCIDENTS: 97

AVG PER MINUTE: 1.08

First frame at 0:24
Last frame at 90:47
Total visual running time: 90:23

# TIME ANGLE DESCRIPTION
1 1:10 TS A big sweaty inmate is mopping up with a lit cigarette in his hand and brings it right to the center of the frame.
2 1:14 Pan Reveal of John Goodman & another inmate smoking a cigarette at the prison therapy circle.
3 1:32 MD Smoke rises into view from an implied cigarette as the therapy director is talking.
4 3:00 TS Repeat of earlier big sweaty inmate mopping with a lit cigarette in his hand.
5 3:05 ES Repeat of therapy circle with disembodied hand holding a lit cigarette.
6 3:11 ES Repeat of therapy circle with disembodied hand holding a lit cigarette.
7-8 4:45 WS Repeat of same big sweaty inmate mopping and holding cigarette & another prisoner’s hand extending from a cell holding a cigarette.
9-10 6:58 CU Payroll woman’s hand holding a lit cigarette as she rings the bell & ashtray full of cigarette butts sits nearby.
11 7:06 MD Payroll woman holding a lit cigarette right up near her face then almost takes a drag. Funny dialog: “Gubmint do take a bite, don’t she?”
12-13 8:12 MD A doctor motions toward a diagram of a womb with an unlit cigar & a nearby ashtray appears to be a kid’s colorful paint pallette.
* 8:37 WS A man in the background at the adoption agency appears to be holding a cigarette but it was a pencil in the earlier shot.
* 11:37 ES First appearance of the Dr Spocks baby book.
* 14:15 CU Closeup of the Dr Spocks baby book.
* 18:39 MD Nicolas Cage looks at a Playboy magazine.
* 18:49 CU A couple packs of Crayola crayons can be seen next to the kid’s record player.
* 21:27 Dolly in/CU On the tripod is a Nikon brand camera.
14 30:44 ES Some cigarette butts are smashed into a piece of bundt cake on the fingerprinting table.
15 30:46 MD Repeat of cigarette butts smashed into a piece of bundt cake on the fingerprinting table.
16-17 32:22 ES A large ashtray full of cigarette butts & a saucer containing discarded butts are visible on the coffee table.
18 33:08 MD Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth.
19 33:14 ECU Randall Tex Cobb grabs a lit cigar from his mouth and tosses it while exhaling some smoke.
20 33:37 2S A black ashtray on the counter in front of John Goodman & a can of Coca-Cola in front of William Forsythe.
21 33:48 2S Same black ashtray on counter in front of John Goodman & a can of Coca-Cola in front of William Forsythe.
* 33:49 2S William Forsythe reaches his hand off screen and brings it back with a box of Kelloggs Corn Flakes.
22-23 33:52 2S John Goodman reaches his hand off screen and brings it back with a lit cigarette, takes a drag & same black ashtray is visible.
24-25 34:03 2S John Goodman holding a lit cigarette & same black ashtray.
26-27 34:09 WS A wider shot of the room as John Goodman lifts a lit cigarette from the same black ashtray.
* 34:15 WS Continued from previous: Nicolas Cage carries the box of Kelloggs Corn Flakes to center screen.
28-29 34:28 WS John Goodman holding a lit cigarette & same black ashtray are visible behind Nicolas Cage.
30-31 34:41 WS Repeat of John Goodman holding a lit cigarette & black ashtray.
32-33 34:55 2S Repeat of closer shot as John Goodman takes a drag from a cigarette & same black ashtray is visible.
34-35 35:04 WS Repeat of wider shot as John Goodman holding a lit cigarette & same black ashtray are visible behind Nicolas Cage.
36-37 35:17 WS Repeat of John Goodman holding a lit cigarette & same black ashtray.
38-39 35:26 WS Repeat of John Goodman holding a lit cigarette & same black ashtray.
* 36:43 HH Two packages of Oreo cookies & two Chips Ahoy cookies are visible on the counters.
* 37:23 MD Nicolas Cage and Glenn both drink cans of Budweiser beer.
* 43:52 ES/LA Budweiser & Coors neon signs are clearly visible above the doors at the convenience store.
* 43:59 CU Closeup of a rack of Silks brand panty hose.
* 44:01 CU Closeup of several packages of Huggies diapers.
40-41 44:03 ES A Doral cigarette ad is partially visible in foreground. Cigarette rolling papers & Bic lighter display in background.
* 44:09 WS A Coors beer ad is visible along with many beer/beverage coolers in the background.
* 44:38 2S Nicolas Cage holds a package of Huggies as he holds the clerk at gunpoint.
* 44:58 Zoom in Same Budweiser & a Coors neon sign are clearly visible above the doors at the convenience store.
* 45:16 MD Nicolas Cage holds a package of Huggies whilst running down the street.
* 48:30 TS At the grocery store Luvs, Pampers, Huggies & Coca-Cola brands are all visible.
* 49:13 MD Nicolas Cage throws a package of Huggies diapers at a cop & dozens more are visible on the high shelf.
* 50:22 CU A package of Huggies is scooped up by Nicolas Cage from a moving car.
* 50:32 ES At least 20 empty cans of Budweiser are visible throughout this scene.
42-43 50:32 ES An ashtray on the coffee table & a bright yellow ashtray on the armrest beside John Goodman.
44-45 50:50 ES Repeat of same ashtray on coffee table & bright yellow ashtray on armrest beside John Goodman.
46-47 50:54 ES Repeat of same ashtray on coffee table & bright yellow ashtray on armrest beside John Goodman.
48 51:08 2S Same bright yellow ashtray on the armrest beside John Goodman.
49 51:20 OTS/2S Repeat of yellow ashtray on the armrest beside John Goodman.
50 51:35 OTS/2S Repeat of yellow ashtray on the armrest beside John Goodman.
51 52:01 OTS/2S Repeat of yellow ashtray on the armrest beside John Goodman.
52 52:12 2S Repeat of yellow ashtray on the armrest beside John Goodman.
53 52:24 2S Repeat of yellow ashtray on the armrest beside John Goodman.
54 52:40 OTS/2S Repeat of bright yellow ashtray on the armrest as John Goodman stands up.
55 52:43 WS Same bright yellow ashtray is visible as John Goodman heads toward the kitchen.
56 53:05 OTS/2S Same bright yellow ashtray is visible on the armrest next to William Forsythe.
57 53:39 2S Repeat of same bright yellow ashtray on the armrest next to William Forsythe.
58 54:02 2S Repeat of same bright yellow ashtray on the armrest next to William Forsythe.
59 54:12 2S Repeat of same bright yellow ashtray on the armrest next to William Forsythe.
60 54:38 2S Repeat of same bright yellow ashtray on the armrest next to William Forsythe.
61-63 55:47 Dolly in Two cigarette ads (Carlton & Lucky) in foreground and same cigarette rolling papers & Bic lighter display in background.
64 57:36 ES/CU Closeup shot of a lit cigar being dropped onto a floor mat & then stepped on.
65 57:50 CU Randall Tex Cobb flips a cigar into his open hand using some sleight of hand magic.
66 57:54 ECU Randall Tex Cobb puts an unlit cigar in his yucky disgusting mouth.
* 57:57 CU Randall Tex Cobb pulls a new match into his right hand using some sleight of hand magic.
* 57:59 CU Randall Tex Cobb lights his wooden match on some furniture.
67 58:03 MD Randall Tex Cobb walks along with a lit cigar in his mouth & exhaling smoke.
68-69 58:13 ES Randall Tex Cobb sits with his feet up and holding a lit cigar & a gold ashtray is visible on the desk.
70-71 58:27 MD Randall Tex Cobb seen from the front now holding a lit cigar & same gold ashtray visible at center screen.
72-73 58:47 MD Repeat of Randall Tex Cobb holding a lit cigar & same gold ashtray at center screen.
74-75 59:57 MD Repeat of Randall Tex Cobb as he takes a drag & same gold ashtray at center screen.
76-77 60:09 MD Repeat of Randall Tex Cobb as he exhales smoke & same gold ashtray at center screen.
78-79 60:20 MD Repeat of Randall Tex Cobb as he exhales smoke & same gold ashtray at center screen.
80 60:39 CU Smoke rises in front of Randall Tex Cobb from his implied cigar offscreen.
81 60:49 WS Randall Tex Cobb Same gold ashtray is visible on the desk as Randall Tex Cobb jumps up from his chair.
82 61:35 MD Randall Tex Cobb has slipped out the door without a sound but his lit cigar rest in the ashtray at center screen.
* 65:00 Various Many empty cans of Budweiser are visible throughout the fight scene.
* 65:53 CU A hand picks up the Dr Spocks baby book.
* 67:58 CU A hand sets a package of Huggies on the counter & Bazooka gum visible.
* 68:02 MD Lots of Ruffles & Lays brand potato chips are clearly visible behind the clerk.
* 68:27 MD Some Whoppers, Bazooka gum, and bottles of Gatorade are visible in the store.
83 68:33 MD An ad for Red Man tobacco is revealed when the clerk steps backward.
* 76:50 CU A hand picks up the Dr. Spock’s baby book which is now covered in blue paint.
84 80:45 MD/LA Randall Tex Cobb lights up a cigar whilst walking.
85 81:05 HH Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth whilst bear-hugging Nicolas Cage.
86 81:12 OTS Repeat of Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth whilst bear-hugging Nicolas Cage.
87 81:14 CU A quick flash of Randall Tex Cobb’s face with a lit cigar in his mouth.
88 81:15 OTS Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth whilst bear-hugging Nicolas Cage.
89 81:18 OTS Repeat of Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth whilst bear-hugging Nicolas Cage.
90 81:21 OTS Repeat of Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth whilst bear-hugging Nicolas Cage.
91 81:25 OTS Repeat of Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth whilst bear-hugging Nicolas Cage.
92 81:27 CU Closeup of Randall Tex Cobb face with a lit cigar in his mouth.
93 81:29 HH Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth as he slaps Nicolas Cage.
94 81:31 HH Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth as he punches Nicolas Cage.
95 81:41 LA Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth as he pulls out matching double-barrel shotguns.
96 81:46 ECU Randall Tex Cobb with a lit cigar in his mouth as he lets out a puff of smoke.
97 81:53 Zoom in Quick zoom into Randall Tex Cobb’s face as the lit cigar drops from his mouth.
* 82:46 CU A hand sets down the Dr Spocks baby book now all charred up.
* 83:04 WS Three packages of Huggies are visible throughout the scene.

Additional Thoughts…

The Coen brothers’ second film Raising Arizona (1987) is a wacky romp full of fun characters infused with hilarious accents and strange plot twists. The negligent baby handling and the pithy dialog all help to make this film a classic comedy that stands out from every other Coen brothers film in a weird way. Raising Arizona (1987) contains only subtle uses of tobacco, but many of these tobacco instances are still worth mentioning.

Firstly and obviously, there’s the dirty disgusting dream figure bounty hunter biker character who chain-smokes cigars whilst talking or murdering friendly little animals on the desert prairies. This evil villain character is kind of portrayed like villains in old western films but the whole tone of Raising Arizona (1987) is obviously more comical. His filthiness and ugliness is almost beyond belief, but this character’s use of match-lighting and smoking cigars is highly emphasized in many scenes. The ultimate effect of the character being a much bigger and tougher biker dude than the other wimpy idiotic little men surrounding him throughout the film.

Let’s look at actor John Goodman’s use of tobacco in this movie… His character is not only a prison inmate slash escape convict slash bank robber slash mentor but also a chain-smoker. You can see him casually smoking at the prison therapy circles and during breakfast time for example.

Raising Arizona (1987) came out shortly before John Goodman’s explosion in popularity surrounding the Roseanne television series, so it is very likely that millions of people watched this film and were extremely entertained by John Goodman’s character in the film despite him being a terrible influence.

Now the legendary actor Nicolarse Cage does not smoke during Raising Arizona (1987), however I want to mention his unique tattoo which happens to exactly match the tattoo of the dirty biker bounty hunter character. The Coen brothers’ choice of tattoo here is extremely curious because this particular “road runner” image is very similar to another famous logo…

tattoo from Raising Arizona Mr Horsepower logo

The only problem is the famous version of this logo is usually seen with a cigar in its mouth — an item which is curiously missing from the tattoos seen on the actors in Raising Arizona (1987). Now, why would the Coen brothers choose to overlook that one little cigar from these unique and cartoonish tattoos which are highlighted several times within the movie… Are Joel & Ethan trying to tell us something by NOT displaying the one thing that is missing from this logo? It’s not like the Coen brothers to skip an opportunity to highlight tobacco.

Consider the Coen brothers’ original screenplay for Raising Arizona and you’ll see that the opposite is usually true… The Coens are actually searching for instances in the story to casually display tobacco. For example in the screenplay for Raising Arizona, the Coen brothers originally wrote: A doctor is pointing a pencil at various parts of a schematic picture of the female reproductive system. However, in the final film starring celebrity actors Nicolas Cage & Holly Hunter, what actually happened was: A doctor points a cigar at the schematic picture of a womb. A cigar, NOT a pencil. In the final movie, a colorful paint palette ashtray (which a kid might love to play with) also sits on the doctor’s desk nearby. As I mentioned earlier, these kind of subtle changes to wholesome storylines appear everywhere inside the Coen brothers’ universe. Sometimes it’s a joke, sometimes it ain’t. I’m guessing it’s never a coincidence, though.

Anyhoo, the slow dead-pan dialogue about home life with or without babies in Arizona accents is absolutely genius and also hilarious when compared to the dry motionless environment outside the walls of these sleepy Arizona homes. The wackiness of the shotgun blasts inside the grocery store and other silly elements gives Raising Arizona a real Bugs Bunny / Looney Tunes kind of feel, so in that regard it’s more alarming that tobacco would be embedded in a film that could be not only viewed but also enjoyed by young adults or impressionable children.

Personally, I remember watching Raising Arizona (1987) as a kid — long before the Coen brothers were a “household name.” Watching the movie, I remember thinking what a weird twisted sense of humor this movie has compared to all of our other favorite comedy flicks from this era. My siblings and I were watching Raising Arizona (1987) probably long before we even understood all of the jokes. The film is a truly unique picture of America life, especially for the time of its release in the 1980s.

More insights coming soon…