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Baker's Dozen

In Wide Angle: Simon Pegg's 13 Favourite Films
Elizabeth Aubrey , August 4th, 2018 09:07

Currently on cinema screens in the role of Benji Dunn in Mission Impossible: Fallout, Simon Pegg picks his 13 favourite films


Raising Arizona, 1987 – Joel Coen

That was the film that really cemented my understanding of comedic cinema. I realised it wasn’t just the script that was funny and it wasn't just the performances, it was also the way the Coen brothers used the camera and how they choreographed their set pieces and their comedy generally; they were saying so much from behind the camera. I know that it is a key movie for Edgar [Wright] as well for the reason and he is extremely influenced by this movie. It’s a film that is so sort of joyously put together by those guys that it makes you want to talk to other people about it because it has so many layers and so much depth: it's crazy, it's like a Loony Tunes cartoon, but at the same time, it’s super sharp and clever.  

It came out in 1987 and I think I was at university so it would have been a couple of years later when I first saw it. I didn’t see it at the cinema, I saw it on video on VHS but I remember it being a revelation, watching it and just not least Holly Hunter and Nick Cage's performances which are just sublime; career bests for both of them. Nicholas Cage is obviously hilariously all over the place with his performances and of course loves being so; Holly Hunter has been brilliant in a million things as well. But I just love them both in that film so much because they pitch their craziness with such precision; that was the Coen brothers informing them and guiding them as good directors do.  

I don't think there is another group of filmmakers, or a filmmaking team as eclectic as the Coen’s that can create something as dark and brutal as Blood Simple and then go on to Raising Arizona and then do something like Barton Fink – they are utterly, utterly amazing. Whatever they do has some merit; there are weaker ones and obviously more successful ones and less successful ones but I absolutely love them.