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Best Films Set in Arizona

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While it may not be the best holiday destination in mid-summer, Arizona's silver screen love has made it a little more accessible -- from the comfort of a comfy, air-conditioned theater/living room. Just a few film shout-outs include National Lampoon's Vacation, Little Miss Sunshine, Revenge of the Nerds and The Savages.

But that's not it. Here, in no particular order, are a few of our favorite films that take place in Arizona -- with trailers, of course.  

1. Raising Arizona
The Coen Brothers' second film of 1987 has a stupid criminal (Nicolas Cage as Herbert "Hi" McDunnough) and a cop (Holly Hunter as "Ed") fall in love and want a family, only to find out that she is barren. So, they steal a baby. Hilarious and ridiculous, in typical Coen Brothers fashion.


Check out the other eight after the jump.

2. 3:10 To Yuma
This 1957 western stars Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. The premise is simple and practically commonplace after the 2007 remake with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale; however, the tensioned interactions between Ford and Heflin are what make this film great. It has a kickass soundtrack, too.


3. U Turn
A bizarre cinematic experience of 1997 from Oliver Stone, this movie wants to drive home the point that Superior, Arizona is the last place you ever want to visit. The story follows an unlucky Sean Penn who finds himself stranded (perhaps worse, with Jennifer Lopez).


4. Hamlet 2
The movie begins by asking the question, "Where do dreams go to die?" The following screen shot is of a sign saying, "Welcome to Tucson." Need we say more?


5. Held Up
With an amazing running time of 89 minutes, this film stars Jamie Foxx, Nia Long, Barry Corbin (of WarGames and One Tree Hill fame), and Mexican soap opera heartthrob, Eduardo Yáñez. Surprisingly, it's about a hold-up at a convenience store, but the title's cute pun on other plot developments is not lost on anyone.


6. Evolution
We're not sure why, but Arizona is apparently conducive to inane comedies. This one, directed by Ivan Reitman (the man who brought you Stripes and Ghostbusters), centers around David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott, and Julianne Moore trying to stop quickly-evolving aliens from destroying the planet...with shampoo. Not a classic by any means, but for what it's worth, the movie delivers some decent laughs.

7. Tombstone

Continuing the tradition of sentimental 90s flicks with grand scores and landscape shots, Tombstone's about Wyatt Earp and company. It stars Kurt Russell as Earp and Val Kilmer as Holliday, the movie also features Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, and briefly boasts a Billy Zane with a flowing mane that may be a wig.

8. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Directed by

Martin Scorsese

, this 1974 film with

Ellen Burstyn


Requiem for a Dream

) and

Kris Kristofferson

centers around a widow and her son who try to find a better life. Slightly thrown by the wayside over the years, now is a good time to put it back in the spotlight. After all, Burstyn did win Best Actress for her performance. 


9. Psycho
Okay, so most of this movie doesn't take place in Arizona. Still, the beginning does, and the film starts with unforgettable panoramic footage of old downtown Phoenix. Check out Robrt Pela's feature on the Luhrs Building -- featured in Psycho and spared this week from demolition -- in the print edition of this week's New Times.

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