Raising Arizona

Poor, dumb Texas jailbird Nicolas Cage is just too weak, or too love-struck, to resist the maternal edicts of ex-cop Holly Hunter in the Coen brothers’ 1987 kidnapping comedy Raising Arizona. My three favorite scenes in the movie, to be screened outdoors, involve variously textured surfaces. The first is when the Dobermans go skittering and careening on a supermarket’s slick linoleum floors while chasing diaper-thievin’ Cage. The second is when he raises his fists overhead in the trailer-home brawl and scrapes his knuckles on the popcorn ceiling. The third is when he claws his fingernails into the dirt while being dragged from beneath a car by the unforgettably evil biker Randall “Tex” Cobb. It’s slapstick, but the Coens understand that for comedy to work, it has to hurt. But in Arizona (only the Coens’ second film), Cage’s dim, sweet felon takes all the abuse because he’s so in thrall to the fierce, child-hungry Hunter. Or, as he says, “I’m in dutch with the wife.” (PG-13) BRIAN MILLER

July 23-27, 7 & 9 p.m., 2008

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