As Ed and Hi leave the baby they've stolen back with the rightful parents, their future is uncertain at best. Nathan Jr.'s dad tells them that they had best sleep on it before they decide to call it quits, as he looks up at the ceiling and ruminates about life without his wife. "I do love her so," he says with so much feeling that you believe he is a real person and that he really does love this woman more than life.

The movie ends with Hi recreating a dream he has that night. It's the greatest voice-over in the history of movies, and one would wonder how in God's name Nicholas Cage failed to win every award in Hollywood for what he does in this movie. He's never been better. He couldn't be.

"That night I had a dream. I dreamt that I was as light as the ethre, a floating spirit visiting things to come. The shades and shadows of the people in my life wrestled their way into my slumber. I dreamt that Gale and Evelle had decided to return to prison. Probably that's just as well. I don't mean to sound superior, and they're a swell couple o' guys, but maybe they weren't ready yet to come out into the world.
"And then I dreamed on, into the future, to a Christmas morn in the Arizona home where Nathan Jr. was opening a present from a kindly couple who preferred to remain unknown. I saw Glen, a few years later, still havin' no luck gettin' the cops to listen to his wild tales about me 'n' Ed. Maybe he threw in one Pollack joke too many. I don't know.
"And still I dreamed on further into the future than I'd ever dreamed before. Watching Nathan Jr.'s progress from afar; taking pride in his accomplishments as if he were our own; wondering if he ever thought of us. And hoping that maybe we'd broadened his horizons a little, even if he couldn't remember just how they'd got broadened.
"But still I hadn't dreamed nothin' about me 'n' Ed. Until the end. And this was cloudier 'cause it was years, years away.
"But I saw an old couple bein' visited by their children, and all their grandchildren, too. And the old couple wasn't screwed up, and neither were their kids or their grandkids. And I don't know: You tell me. This whole dream; was it wishful thinking? Was I just fleein' reality, like I know I'm liable to do?
"But me 'n' Ed, we can be good, too. And it seemed real. It seemed like us. And it seemed like, well . . . our home . . . If not Arizona, then a land not too far away, where all parents are strong and wise and capable, and all children are happy and beloved.
"I dunno. Maybe it was Utah."

An unconventional comedy film brought to you by the now-celebrated siblings of unconventional comedy, the Coen brothers. They were not so well-known in 1987, when this movie was released, but the quirky storyline bears many of the now-familiar hallmarks of their movies, helping this early offering to become a cult classic.

The story concerns an unlikely couple: slack-jawed recidivist Herbert I. (HI) McDonnough (Nicolas Cage in an early role and with outrageous hair) and his police officer spouse Edwina (Ed) (Holly Hunter). Desperate for a child and unable to conceive, they are tempted beyond measure by the birth of quintuplets to unpainted pine furniture tycoon Nathan Arizona, and decide to kidnap one of the babies, for as Nathan plainly says on TV, five is too many. Adorable Nathan Jr. firmly in hand, they head back to their humble home determined not to reveal how they suddenly became proud parents.

Inevitably, things begin to unravel.

First HI's buddies (John Goodman and William Forsyth with pompadours and muttonchops worthy of Leningrad Cowboys) show up, stinking from their unexpected encounter with a sewer main during their recent escape from jail. They loaf on the couch watching TV and snacking and attempting to parry Ed's orders to make them leave by goading HI about who wears the pants around the house (when clearly it's Ed). Eventually they cotton on to the baby's real identity and resolve to steal him and return him for the substantial reward being offered.

HI's boss comes by with his troop of rotten kids and prying wife (Frances McDormand in a wonderful cameo); the wife wants another baby to cuddle and pressures her husband to steal the baby for her.

And then there's Leonard Smalls (Randall "Tex" Cobb) (aka the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse), a filthy bounty hunter bristling with firearms and determined to get the baby and the reward for himself, ain't no one going to stand in his way.

You can imagine the shenanigans that ensue. It's great fun.

Featuring wacky camera angles and slapstick humour, this is a less-mature, but still very enjoyable, offering from the Coens. Recommended.

Ouroboros says: "You must mention the opening music is Beethoven's Ode to Joy played on a banjo", a pertinent detail indeed: in fact, this says it all. Thanks, wurm.

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