The Five - Arizona Movies
Written by: Brionna Raum
Compiled by: Brionna Raum & Cameron Galvin
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go to Hollywood to make a successful film. (Okay, maybe that's not really a popular belief anymore. Roll with us). There have been many successful films made right here in Arizona, where nearly 365 days of sunshine provide for great shooting conditions, and our beautiful desert landscape lends iconic settings. On today’s edition of THE FIVE, we have compiled for you the top five films made and set Arizona. Enjoy a bit of filmmaking history in Arizona, as well as a star studded list of films!
5. Everything Must Go (2010)
Starting off our list we have chosen Dan Rush’s Everything Must Go, starring Will Ferrell. This film was shot in Phoenix and Scottsdale, making use of the unique suburban scapes of the valley. The story follows Ferrell’s character Nick, who is fired from his job following incidents related to his alcoholism. His wife leaves him and locks him out of their house, causing him to put his life back together starting with selling everything he has on his porch. This film is an honest story of the journey through addiction, and it’s Arizona setting is a great plus.
4. Raising Arizona (1987)
This hilarious Coen Brothers film has earned a spot on our list, not least because it has “Arizona” in the title. Starring Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter, Raising Arizona is a crime comedy film about an ex-con and an ex-police officer who get married and want to have a baby but are unable to, so naturally, they kidnap one. The Arizona setting is great for this movie and the lawless wild-west themes of its fast-paced crime.
3. Bus Stop (1956)
In what has been called her best-ever performance, Marilyn Monroe stars alongside Don Murray in Joshua Logan’s film Bus Stop. Set in Arizona and shot in Arizona and Idaho, this film is the earliest made Arizona film on our list. Monroe was nominated for the Golden Globes Best Actress for her performance in this film, and was involved with the production of the film as head of Marilyn Monroe Productions. The film was also nominated for the Golden Globes Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical).
2. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Director couple Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris shot Little Miss Sunshine over the course of 30 days in Arizona and Southern California. While technically set in Albuquerque, the fact that it was shot within the scenic backdrop of Arizona combined with its excellent craft as a film has earned it a place on our top five today. Little Miss Sunshine follows the road trip of a dysfunctional yet endearing family on the way to California for the youngest family member to compete in a beauty pageant. This film was met with exceptional critical acclaim, not to mention that it spawned an iconic internet meme (pictured above).
1. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Earning our number one spot today for Arizona films is Cameron Crowe’s film Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise. Jerry Maguire is a story of a sports agent who comes to a disturbing conclusion about his career. This film was shot in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Tempe, but certainly the most Arizona thing about it is its use of the Arizona Cardinals as a major plot point. If you love Tom Cruise, football, and Arizona, this is a great movie for you. If you don’t love all those things….we don’t know what to tell you.