Monday, August 17, 2015

TODAY'S NUGGET: Raising Arizona (1987) - Misunderstandings & Visual Gags

[Quick Summary: A felon kidnaps a baby for his wife, and it all falls apart.]

I liked this script because it isn't trying too hard to be clever or too polished.

I also liked that the Coens didn't shy from anything - visual gags, word gags, over the top characters, etc. - it was all fair game as long as it made them laugh.

Example 1: Misunderstanding

"MOSES: An' when they was no crawdad to  be foun', we ate San'.

HI: You ate what?

MOSES (nodding): We ate San'.

HI: You ate sand?!

MOSES: Dass right..."

Example 2:  Visual Gag

"All of the [five] babies have been replaced in the crib but not lying down: They are seated in a row, staring back at her, lined up against the far crib railing, like a small but distinguished panel on "Meet the Press."

Example 3: Transition to a Visual Gag

"Throughout the speech NATHAN stalks the room, working himself into a frenzy, furiously putting coffee cups onto coasters, generally cleaning up, hectoring the police, and swiping their feet off his furniture.

NATHAN:...Hell, that's your forte, trackin' down them microbes left by criminals'n commies'n shit! That's yer whole damn raison d'i&tre! No leads?! I want Nathan Jr. back, or whichever the hell one they took! He's out there somewhere! Somethin' leads to him! And anyone can find him know the difference between a lead and a hole in the ground!!


Specifically, it is the hole in the muddy patch of earth that GALE and EVELLE climbed out of. "

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I chuckled at the picture of a hole in the ground. (That's how I knew the visual gag was properly setup.)

Raising Arizona (1987)
by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

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