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Joe Versus the Volcano
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Product Description

Tom hanks and meg ryan first teamed on this box-office hit that lets laughter romance and charm flow like lava when a hapless working schmoe with an incurable ailment chucks his drab lifestyle to go on a globetrotting escapade. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 04/03/2007 Starring: Tom Hanks Lloyd Bridges Run time: 102 minutes Rating: Pg Director: John Patrick Shanley

Joe Versus the Volcano is a true early-1990s cult film. This fantasy-comedy was the first pairing of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, yet it polarizes viewers like a Blue Velvet or Happiness. As the only directorial effort from John Patrick Shanley (the Oscar-winning writer of Moonstruck), it is something special, and it's hard to resist the film's feather-light heart tugging. Joe Banks is having the life sucked out of him at a dead-end job. Miserable in his gray surroundings with stark fluorescent lighting, Joe dreams of being brave again. A visit to the doctor reveals that he has a "brain cloud." It's fatal, but he'll be fine for a few more months. An eccentric millionaire, Samuel Harvey Graynamore (Lloyd Bridges), hears of Joe's predicament and comes to him with a proposal: The people of the Pacific island of Waponi Woo need a human sacrifice to appease their gods. Why not live like a king for a few weeks, then throw yourself into a volcano? (Graynamore needs a sacrificial victim to offer in exchange for permission to mine the island for a rare mineral.) Joe accepts Graynamore's lavish proposal and on his journey meets three romantic possibilities (all played by Ryan). Joe embraces life; so does the movie. It's packed with smile-inducing supporting performances by Bridges, Ossie Davis, Robert Stack, and Dan Hedaya; playful songs ("Sixteen Tons," "Ol' Man River," Presley's version of "Blue Moon"); and amusing scenes (such as Joe buying luggage). Add the daring, imaginative production design of Bo Welch (Edward Scissorhands), Hanks and Ryan's chemistry, and Georges Delerue's romantic music and you have a film to fall for. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews:

  • Silly concept but hey it's Tom and Meg!
    Joe Versus the Volcano is one wacky film of the '90s. This was the first film with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the other two are Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. This particular film is not as good as the other two but still engaging. Hanks and Ryan have the most amazing chemistry together, you can't take your eyes off of them. The concept is so silly but hey this a romantic comedy, you can call this film a guilty pleasure of sorts. ...more info
  • Joe Versus the Volcano
    This is absolutely the worst movie I have ever seen. It deserves no stars, but this rating system won't allow me to give it less than one star....more info
  • Finally!
    So glad to see this wonderful movie available on DVD. I saw it in it's theatrical release in 1990 and it became an immediate favorite of mine. It tanked at the box office because most people either didn't "get it", or refused to accept it for what it was, an allegorical fantasy. Fortunately there were enough of us who did "get it", Joe vs. became a cult classic (for lack of a better term). This is a beautiful movie, wonderfully acted by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It's every bit as wonderful as "Sleepless in Seattle" and much, much better than "You've Got Mail". One just has to open one's mind and heart to the story and it's deeper meanings - accept it for the fantasy it is, sit back and enjoy. It's a glorious movie with a great soundtrack and beautiful, contrasting images. I hope one of these days it will be appreciated as it should have been a decade ago....more info
  • We're Taking this Luggage
    I love this movie--it picks me up when I'm feeling crappy because of the more lousy aspects of my profession. I picture Granemore coming into my office and bashing holes in the wall with his walking stick: dingy! shabby! We all endure someone like Joe's idiot boss. We all secretly wish that someone would give us a ton of money and put us on a private yacht to a tropical island with a fabulous babe. We just need to figure out how to go about it and that is the message of this movie.

    Too often we forget who we are and what it is that we are to be about. Joe forgets, decides to take a risk, and discovers what is really important. Many people just don't get this movie and nothing you say will change their opinion; however, if you can tolerate some thoughtful lunacy once and awhile, you are in for a treat with "Joe". So, quit the lousy job, put on the Armani tuxedo, grab a cold orange soda and go be a hero.

    ...more info
  • If you missed this film, see it now
    Why this film isn't on more top ten lists is beyond me. There are so many reasons to like it. First, it's the quintessential "get up the nerve to quit your job" movie, or maybe just get the nerve to make a fresh start. A fable for adults, it features a shopping spree, a trip to the tropics, a makeover and some philosophical dialogue you can take with you--for example, the "everyone's asleep" speech. The script is penned by the writer of Moonstruck and features some great music by Ray Charles, Sergio Mendes and others. Then there's the cast: the first pairing of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, a sterling Lloyd Bridges, Ossie Davis, Abe Vigoda, an uncredited Carol Kane and see if you can find Nathan Lane. Executive producer Spielberg's hand can be seen in the joke at the end of the fishing sequence. If you need to be reminded about the power of possiblities--watch this film....more info
  • A Short Essay On This Praiseworthy Film
    First of all, I want to say that I love the following things that happen to be in Joe Versus The Volcano: orange soda, Manhattan, stylized Manhattan skylines, stories that take place on tropical islands, teak wood sail boats, fiction films with a philosophical bend, stories that take place on the ocean or right near it, the songs "Good Lovin'" and "Mas Que Nada", and stories about major shifts in people's lives. This is being noted both to release myself from any predisposed unarticulated preferences in this review, and to support any articulated preferences in the same. The concept of this film isn't high in a modern, Hollywood sense, but lofty in a socio-economic one. In summary, it's a simple story about a man who's life takes a sudden, jarring turn and how he chooses to face this unique predicament. But it's so much more than that. The story, the characters, the casting, the settings, the dialog, the contrast between modern city living and a technologically primitive society...it's simply one of the most interesting, and yes, fun, allegory on death ever written. It's not too surprising, in that light, that it was both conceived and written by a screenwriter who was first a playwright.

    The title is both intentionally understated and curiosity raising, and succeeds in achieving both. The volcano in the film actually represents fear, and, interestingly, the title straightforwardly communicates the story before the house lights are cold. The stakes in this film are the second highest, after the threat of death, that they could possibly be: attaining self-respect in the face of certain death. The structure of the movie is linear, which suits this story perfectly. Jumping back, for example, to show Joe's heroics in the fire department or maybe snippets of the two Graynamore (love that character name for a "classy" family) sister's childhoods would have slowed down the film and interrupted the balancing act of character and theme in it. The pace of the film is perfectly medium. In terms of genre, it's not a melodrama or really even a drama about life and death nor is there much physical danger in the entire movie. I think it could be argued that this film is THE definition of a dra-medy, the comedy/drama.

    The first of its two great strengths (both provided by Shanley), the films characters are sharply drawn yet not cliche. Their emotional lucidity (positive and negative) always keeps them from that. "Average" Joe, the lead, is really very interesting as a once truly heroic person who has retreated within himself as to be almost unrecognizable to the audience's collective concept of a hero or himself. The three characters of Dee-Dee, Angelica and Patricia are all crystal clear in unique, simply ways, rarely rendered in major studio films. The incidental characters are just as unique yet realistic as well. It's as if you're meeting the archetype of each of them, and all of them have a hint of objective, slightly philosophical bend (this of course allows Joe to character arc in his interaction with them).

    The second of Shanley's great strengths in this piece is his dialog. The film has the feel of a play without the stage's locale limitation, and the dialogue is probably the one element that creates this. While never either "on the nose" or wasted, it serves the characters, scenes and theme and has that inexplicable, memorable quality. It's probably just Shanley's talent. He is absolutely exceptional at taking a scene to an un-expected ending believably. This can be seen in "Moonstruck", "Alive", "Doubt"...everything. He finds the irony, humor, and pathos in his plot and story, and allows the characters to articulate it in this screenplay with tongues of both crackle and honey. How fun is it that Shanley lets prim Angelica characterize her cracked crab meal as "good little monsters" and then wail away?! Another fun and colorful characterization are invented words like "bubaru" (a mineral) and "Waponi Woo" (the South Pacific island that Joe travels to); little fantastical elements there that add to the style. The romantic and atmospheric words Shanley uses to tell the tales of the bubaru and the Waponi history are well chosen and effective in establishing mood.

    The acting is first rate, with each major, supporting and incidental character interpreted so tight as to be seamless. Meg Ryan's triple performance (right up there with Alec Guinness' multi-portrayal in 1949's "Kind Hearts and Coronets") as Joe's cowardly co-worker and both significantly different Graynamore sisters is my personal favorite work of hers after her interpretation of Sally Albright in "When Harry Met Sally". Lloyd Bridges as the conniving, avuncular Samuel Graynamore is so likeable in his one scene with Joe, it's easy to be horrified later in the film when we find out what he tried to do to him, and what kind of sociopath it would take to attempt it (no spoilers here). The dialogue in his scene is some of my favorite in the movie.

    Arguably the third of Joe Versus The Volcanos' greatest strengths is its casting (a huge nod to Marion Dougherty who, unsurprisingly, also cast Lenny, Batman [1989], The World According To Garp, Ladyhawke, The Lost Boys, Lethal Weapon 1-4, and Immortal Beloved). With walk-on and supporting roles, the filmmakers gathered an absolutely perfect group of lead types and character actors: Dan Hedaya's interpretation of Joe's boss is the epitome of bullying dominance and jealous destructiveness. A pitch-perfect supporting performance, both hilarious and with pathos; Robert Stack as Joe's physician - the perfect voice for "bad news from a doctor"; Ossie Davis as Marshall the company limousine man - again, pitch-perfect portraying a short but meaningful relationship with a stranger. Davis makes you see, hear and feel the family he goes home to from his job every early-evening; Barry McGovern's scene-stealing luggage salesman - sooo memorable; Carol Kane's funky little two-line walk-on as Joe's hairdresser was perfectly filled by her. "Shazam!!" Yeah, baby! The same is done by Amanda Plummer as Dagmar, Angelica's ship navigator with her usual internationally-flavored, "where is that accent from?" intimate quality. Abe Vigoda as the off-put, paternal Waponi Jewish-Polynesian-Celtic chief is both perfectly cast and, again, I have to use this description here, pitch-perfect.

    The production design of Bo Welch (who also did "The Color Purple", "Beetlejuice", and "Wild Wild West") is a slightly exaggerated style of each of the environments in the film - Joe's New Jersey apartment, a factory, New York, Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, and the island of Waponi Woo that are never cartoonish or garish. They're, working with the cinematography, "hyper-realistic". Colors, rarely primary, are extremely muted until Joe agrees to take "the job" from Graynamore. The shift is noticeable starting with the scenes of Joe shopping in New York (vibing as a multi-cultural heaven here; Los Angeles is playfully portrayed as false where image IS substance). Flowers are also used as a symbol of rebirth. The use of romantic symbols in the story such as a stylistically colored Manhattan skyline, a sailor on a corner, a moonlit look-out point, New York and Los Angeles at night, and the tropical island itself suit the story and theme. I think it's possible that the use of the green filter right before the typhoon is used to represent the power of nature or something "alien" (that's right around the corner).

    Speaking of theme, this is the film's greatest non-technical strength. Something near "life is a short adventure, live every day as if it were your last". Joe learns to cherish life, especially HIS life, as he did when he was a fireman dealing with tragedy and joy on a daily basis. Ironically, when traveling to the place where his life will end, he meets people and situations that remind him how much every day of life is not worth wasting. One thing I really like about the film is that Joe forgives Angelica's behavior overnight before their breakfast. Six main thematic symbols are used in the film: 1) the image of a lightning bolt appears 6 times (the factory walkway to Joe's workplace, as part of the factory's logo, as a graphic on Joe's beloved kitschy lamp shade, a crack in the drywall in Joe's apartment, the bolt itself that maroons Joe and Patricia, and the tropical path to the volcano on the island). In these contexts, it can only represent "change" or even "fate", if you believe in that sort of thing. 2), the hypochondiral cough Joe has before he is told by Doctor Ellison "the news" (like how I avoided the spoiler there?) :). Symbolizing fear, the cough disappears and only returns at the end of the film. The volcano itself also represents fear, into which Joe must "jump" from his safe "life", no matter how soon it's ending. 3) As noted in a previous posting above, the mention of the word (or concept of a) soul is spoken in the film 4 times, with one being a play on words with "sole" for "soul": In the film's opening within the lyrics of the song "16 Tons", when Dee Dee questions Joe about his shoe at work (the "sole" play on words), when Patricia tells Joe she is "soul sick", and on the island when Joe asks the chief what the totem he is holding is. By snapping himself out of the fear that was driving his life, Joe has indeed saved his own soul (with inspiration from Marshall, Angelica, and Patricia) by choosing love and community over fear and isolation. 4) Joe leaves his hat behind twice, paralleling the symbol of "change" the lightning bolt represents. This happens once in his factory office and once on the Los Angeles dock. 5) The concept of "jumping": Joe must make an existential "leap" both into the emotional unknown and physically into the volcano (representing fear; he also gives Angelica the advice of "leaping" into a life she's scared of failing at); the orange soda the Waponis have procured is "Jump" brand; plus, more abstractly Joe and Patricia "taking the plunge" or "making the leap" into marriage. 6) Ducks and their image are used in the film to represent "quack" medicine (in the hands of Dr. Ellison and the Waponis), and Samuel Graynamore's underhanded plot connection with Ellison the quack in the form of a cane top. A sub-theme is a socio-economic one of the wealthy "playing god" with the non-wealthy, even to the point of death, to satisfy their "deserved", insatiable economic selfishness.

    Many different things to many people, "Joe Versus The Volcano" is one of those films that is so perfectly itself it seems like it just appeared, like other exceptional films such as "It's a Wonderful Life", "Rear Window" and "E.T.", rather than actually being made. It feels as much like a play as it does a work of cinema (though I'm partial to the latter). I never thought it fair that this film was and is labeled "quirky" basically because it includes the concept of suicide. Spoilers schmoilers...the volcano doesn't kill Joe. Different or uncomfortably taboo in a culture doesn't equate as without merit or unworthy of social admiration. "Joe Versus The Volcano" is a gem of a film that has deservedly gained a much wider home media life since its theatrical release. I suppose it also has a little sentimental appeal to me because I saw it 2, maybe 3 times in the theater on its first run when I was 19 in 1990, and once had a conversation about it with a good friend of mine that passed away in 1993. As Joe thanks even the possibility of a higher power for his life under an enormous harvest moon on a castaway's raft when he assumes he isn't going to live, many filmgoers have a wonderfully talented crew and cast, from Spielberg to carpenters to Shanley to production assistants to thank for this storybookish, wonderful, tropical gem that has enriched so many filmgoer's and filmmaker's lives.
    ...more info
  • Funny
    To this day, me and my brother still recite lines from this movie. Like, "Not a nice place you got here, Joe. You mind if I call you Joe? Dingy!" Then proceeds to put a hole through Joe's wall with his cane. Hilarious! There is nothing I dont like about this movie, right down to the wha-pony woo's. ...more info
  • Charming
    This movie is under-appreciated. I remember when it came out and how comedians and others would mock it. You have to take it for what it is. To me it's just a light-hearted parody about how life can be so mundane and as a society we can get so caught up in the seriousness of life and having to make money at any cost that we forfeit the joys along the way.
    I loved the music too. It was all just fun for me....more info
  • Love Story, Fable, and Comedey all at once
    John Patrick Shanley is best known for writing "Moonstruck". This offbeat movie shares that movie's sense of humor, but it is more of a fable.

    The characters are all wildy inventive and weird. Events play out like a storybook. Many of the gags in the movie are ridiculous. Still, it has a real heart, and there are moments of real passion and pathos in this seemingly silly story.

    Those who loved "A Princess Bride" would do well to give this cult classic a try. It is more than just am early Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan vehicle....more info
  • Over the Top
    Joe is soul-sick. Once a real-life hero, something snapped and he settles for a grim job in the basement of a horrific factory. Life sucks! That is until he discovers that he is suffering from a terminal disease--a "brain cloud".
    So begins this hugely entertaining modern-day fairy tale.
    A brilliant opening scene features a host of living dead trudging towards
    an impossibly hellish sweatshop to the tune of "Sixteen Tons". Joe (Tom Hanks) is one
    of the multitude.
    Soon, Joe is dancing to the beat of a different drummer. He walks off his job, tells
    his boss just what he thinks of him, embarks on an incredible adventure, meets his
    soul mate and life becomes very interesting, dangerous and special.
    Along the way, Joe runs into some amazing characters.
    "Joe" is refreshingly weird and over-the-top. The sets and settings dazzle the imagination. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are letter-perfect in the leading roles; and, each and every minor role is acted superbly. The screen play is to die for.
    This movie rocks on every level!!! Don't miss it....more info
  • A Nice, Uplifiting Film
    Consistently horrible reviews made me reluctant to watch this over a decade ago but when I finally did, I thought it was pretty good. I actually enjoyed it for the most part. Since then, I don't pay attention to professional critics, only normal folks like here at Amazon.

    Maybe I just liked Tom Hanks' role of a hypochondriac who is thinking of killing himself after he learns he's dying. No, I don't advocate that, but it's actually credible and darkly humorous.

    The film turns out to be a life-affirming, inspiring story in many ways because Hanks meets various people who change his outlook, from one of probable suicide to "life is worth living." Maybe a positive message is the big reason the national critics didn't like it, as they tend to gravitate toward darkness, not light.

    If you're looking for a "cute," lightweight feel-good film for the evening, I'd recommend renting this one. ...more info
  • a diamond in the rough
    not your typical romantic comedy, this one is a bit less traditional, a bit more stylized, but zany and wacky as befits Tom Hanks with some fun Meg Ryan thrown in the mix. I absolutely love it, but must add a disclaimer that 1) if you consider yourself very picky about movies, or 2) only like standard Hollywood fare, you might not enjoy this.

    I suppose you could say it's just plain off-the-wall.
    'Nuf said....more info
  • Tom Hanks as Joe Banks
    "Joe Versus the Volcano" is a fun and imaginative comedy-fantasy from writer/director John Patrick Shanley. It's a very entertaining film; it feels as if Shanley reached into his inner child to create it.

    Sure, the script is very implausible, uneven, and sometimes absurd. But this movie never forgets to be funny, interesting, romantic, and somewhat mysterious: qualities few recent films have offered. There are many great cameo appearances from Lloyd Bridges to Ossie Davis, and Meg Ryan is wonderful playing three different parts.

    This is one of the last and best lightweight comedies Tom Hanks made before he started winning Oscars and became all serious and important on us. It's a treat to be able to revisit a time when movies this fun were made....more info
  • Overlooked Masterpiece
    Great story, dry humor, fine acting, and campy effects. Who knew that sharks growled? As far as the DVD goes, my copy had the disc's picture printed twice; one on top, and slightly askew of the other. Amazon quickly replaced it at no cost to myself. I wasn't about to argue that with them....more info
  • strange flick
    This is a quirky movie, humorous, silly, with a very dark twist, and some interesting truths about evil thrown in.

    Theme: Sick and tired, literally and figuratively, Joe is the chosen victim of a greedy corporate type, whose own daughters (played by Meg Ryan) can't stand him or the fact that they let his money influence whether they work for him or not. To sum, her father is good at manipulating people, so he pays a doctor to tell Joe he has an incurable disorder called a "brain cloud", thus setting him up for his sell: you can have all this money, enjoy your life, but on this chosen date, you have to go to this Island and volunteer to be a sacrificial victim for the Woo Volcano God. The manipulator uses typical "spiritualisms" to make his sell so that Joe feels good about jumping into a volcano, so Mr Evil can get mineral rights to the Island. Joe has a choice of course--death and poverty or a quicker death and great riches. Joe looks forward to the money, but mostly he looks at this as a test of courage, to finally give some meaning to his miserable life, so he takes the offer.

    The movie has some hilarious moments. A nod to Easter Island, complete with the red top knot on the Chief's head, as well as Easter Island's history of two cultures colliding, the lighter skinned, red haired "long ears" and the darker/polynesian "short ears" (in the movie they are shipwrecked Hebrews and Druids landing on a Polynesian Island). There is also a feel of Wizard of Oz, once the pair reach the Island, as the tribal members have the same otherworldly, playful feel to them as the Munchkins; at this point, the movie takes on a dreamlike joy and surrealism.

    The lightening bolt theme is apropos given the symbol's meaning over time and most recently in films like Harry Potter. It's a symbol that suggests the mark of one who is a chosen victim, a cursed person destined to suffer. In the movies, most people triumph over evil in the end (often after incredible pain and hardship), usually through death, but sometimes, as with Harry Potter, with a "happy ever after". Not quite so in this film. My understanding of the movie is that these two died on top of the floating suitcases right after the shipwreck, and the rest of the movie is a trauma induced vision. Meg Ryan's character never wakes up, Joe becomes increasingly sunburnt, dehydrated and then delirious, until he finally blacks out just before watching a huge moon rise over the horizon, when he thanks God for his life. He then falls into unconsciousness. The rest of the movie takes on the surreal look and feel of a dream.

    I'm amazed by the people who are "inspired" by this film. It's quite a testament to the futility of "mind over matter" when currency rules this world. Even though Mr Evil lost his island (and thus the wealth he would have made mining the minerals), it's only in the stupor of impending death that Joe can finally accept what it means to be between a rock and a hard place. He's now awake, but at what cost is this bleak vision? Grateful for the life he was given, no matter how awful much of the experience. Bravo!... but hardly inspiring....more info
  • My favorite movie when I was a kid
    This was one my family and I rented over and over again. It did not receive good ratings when it came out but we loved it anyway. It's quirky, it's different. It's stupid. But it rocks!!

    My fave scene is where Joe is stranded on his "luggage raft" and the moon comes up all big and shining....more info
  • Sixteen Tons of quirky fun!
    About as far from "Bachelor Party" as Tom Hanks could get..thank goodness. "Joe" is an endlessly weird, imaginative, and achingly romantic comedy about heroism, fear, hope and longing. It has a big heart and an old-fashioned grandeur (like something from MGM in the '50's) that lends it a sparkling kind of mysticism. Hanks and Meg Ryan (in three completely different roles) obviously put a lot of trust in writer-director John Patrick Shanley, and he rewards them by never allowing them to look silly (even while on an island in the Pacific ruled by Abe Vigoda!). The film seems to harken back to a more innocent time--maybe from youth--and it plays with the lead character's innocence and naivete in very sly and funny ways. Beautiful score by Georges Delerue, incredible production, lots of happy chemistry. The DVD has the trailer, a music video and a brief "behind the scenes" featurette with interviews of the leads and director Shanley at the time of the picture's release...but where is that legendary alternate ending which brings back Lloyd Bridges and Robert Stack? ...more info
  • escape to the islands
    male menapause hits tom hanks and off he goes to the islands. Meg and Tom make a great team....more info
  • Joe Versus the Volcano
    A classic movie and must see for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fans. ...more info
  • the second greatest romantic comedy ever
    After The Princess Bride, this is the best romantic comedy ever made. It's Hanks and Ryan together for the first time, so the acting is incredible. It's ridiculously funny. But it's a profound movie as well. It is a serious, critical look at the American way of life, especially life in the corporate world. Beyond that, it's a look at the human spirit searching for meaning. But even if you don't notice (or care for) these levels of meaning in the movie, it's very entertaining. I don't think any other romantic comedy has such depth. This really is a good movie, and I'd say it's worth owning....more info
  • Joe vs. the Volcano
    Joe vs. the Volcano is an excellent "little" movie that defies categorization and is in my all-time top five films. Written and directed by John Shanley this is sort of an adventure, kind of a romantic comedy, and also a spiritual odessy all wrapped up into one entertaining film. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan play their roles well and are surrounded by other notables: Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack,Carol Kane, Dan Hedaya, Ossie Davis, Abe Viggoda, Amanda Plummer, to name just a few who play their minor roles to perfection. Not just a "fun-feel-good" movie, Joe vs. the Volcano will leave you feeling happy, personally challenged, and wanting to watch it again, and again! ...more info
  • You don't have to have a Brain Cloud to love this movie
    This is one of my favorite Tom Hank movies! When I first saw this I enjoyed the plot, the characters, everything about it. And unlike most comedies there's a little bit of philosophy involved in this one. One of my favorite movie lines is in this film too... "I don't know... but we're taking this luggage with us."

    You had to be there.
    ...more info
  • Finally, a modern classic is on DVD
    After more than a decade, Joe Versus the Volcano, perhaps the best romantic comedy movie ever made, has been released on DVD.

    Initially overlooked by many critics and most moviegoers, "Joe" slowly developed a substantial cult following by those of us who "get it."

    This directing debut by John Patrick Shanley is so much more than it appears. People watch it as an ordinary narrative, when, in fact, it's a complete and fantastic metaphor for love.

    The story -- a man who believes he is going to die, so he decides to be a hero and jump into a volcano - isn't as important as the underlying themes.

    This is about a man searching for truth and love, and all of the dialogue and visual cues point toward that.

    Tom Hanks is about as good as he ever has been, and for those for are not Meg Ryan fans (and I understand your complaints), all I can say is she's as good as she's ever been, playing three roles (again, a metaphor for the various aspects of our personalities).

    But don't let this heavy talk dissuade you. This film is loaded with funny moments. When Joe buys his luggage and the lone scene with Lloyd Bridges are hysterical.

    The soundtrack is amazing (still unavailable), and the climax is the stuff wedding vows should be made of. In fact, if I meet a woman who doesn't like this film, it's the same as finding a woman who likes "Pretty Woman." She' s not worth the time.

    It's worth purchasing because the more times you see it, the more of the subtitles you will catch. Just feel your way through this film and see if you don't join the cult of "Joe."...more info

  • I forgot how BIG...
    JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO is one of my all-time favorite movies. But if you've never seen JOE, I need to warn you that most people (and I mean *most*) don't like it. In fact, most of them hate it. Indeed, many of them will tell you it's the worst movie ever made. And that's even after I've given them my big pitch about how to watch JOE to catch its brilliance. I can't even tell you that the people who hate JOE are somehow lesser human beings - many people I really admire hate this movie.

    Still, I think you should see it. Think of it this way - it's like an easy personality test. Instead of answering twenty questions to find out whether you're a Type A personality or a Type B personality, you can just watch JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO. Right away, you'll know if you are a pro-Joe or an anti-Joe. I figure you can't lose either way.

    If you're an anti-Joe, you'll be in the clear majority. You and all the other anti-Joes can get together and roll your eyes about this ridiculous movie with its lame orange-soda jokes and stupid plastic sharks. At the worst, you'll be able to say you saw Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in the movie before they got the chemistry "right" in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE.

    On the other hand, the gods might smile upon you and you might find yourself among the small but happy band of pro-Joes. It's like being in a secret society! When you find one of those precious few pro-Joes, you can mutually bask in the glow of having enjoyed this amazing fable of spiritual awakening. You can argue with one another about whether the best part of the movie is the opening sequence of Joe's really lousy job; or his diagnosis with a brain cloud; or Lloyd Bridges' over-the-top performance as Mr. Graynamore (Gray No More, get it?) the man who hires Joe to jump into the volcano; or Ozzie Davis' memorable chauffeur; or the LUGGAGE SCENE; or (my personal vote) the scene where Joe falls to his knees before the giant rising moon and says "Dear God, whose name I do not know. Thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG!" You'll marvel at the richness of the screenplay in which it seems every line is laden with meaning. You'll find yourself watching the film over and over and over again, finding new details hidden within each scene. Just read the many five-star reviews below to get a feel for the richness that awaits you if you turn out to be a pro-Joe.

    If you are already a pro-Joe and you are wandering through this review wondering whether or not you should get the DVD, the answer is obvious. Since you're a pro-Joe, your videotape is going to wear out pretty soon anyway, right? Plus, you'll want to have the widescreen version. There are a few minor extras (a brief interview piece; a music video; a preview) - but those are just bonuses. The main thing is that you'll have a copy of JOE that will last you a lifetime!...more info

  • How to make a small movie big.
    Being anything but a big budget movie "Joe vs the volcano" with its' theatrical effects (it's like watching a stageplay at times, for example the "lost at sea"-scenario, and some of the shots of the town) -in fact it's a bit tricky to explain the movie, difficult to categorize it being some kind of a peculiar witty fablish drama. I find the soundtrack of the movie beautiful and haunting with its' fabolous main theme, but in fact I have no idea if it was intended to have that effect, giving a melancolich-feel (half sad, half dreamy). This story being as unrealistic and (as mentioned) "fablish" as it may be, well, I still can't help taking it serious based on the fact that the story is containing the deepest emotions around the tragedy of loneliness in the characters we get introduced here to. The movie is full of personality and charm. But this including also the despair (this is about a man who is lost in life) -and the lead character (Joe) first learns to appreciate his life when he is told he has only six months left to live. he becomes the young man he used to be "full of piss and vinegar" as he himself says it. He somehow wakes from a nightmarish state of mind, and to be frankly of the US. Some traumatic events working as a fireman in his past made him become a worried and hypocondriac (correct spelled?) man until this.

    The movie and the story being so different, gripping in its' "surrealness" -and so well acted by the entire cast is what makes it so great!

    As you might have realized I find it far more than being just a peculiar comedy, it takes you out of the dark and tells us there is far more to this life, this world, than the machineries of mankind, the buildings and the work. There is more to life than all this, and it's out there, and it shouldn't go to waste. The beauty of this movie lies in the dialogue between the people that meet for real, and also in the nature around them (the ocean and the stars), characteristic and amazing filming to capture all this, it's like watching a dream at times.

    A fantastic, and different movie-experience; One of my absolute favorites! Not like anything else I've ever seen!...more info
  • BAD!
    WOW! Another movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in which they have the exact same conflict as they did in "Sleeples in Seattle". There was no point in making another "Sleepless" with a different location. I hated this movie. Don't see it if you have already seen "Sleepless in Seattle", it's a waste....more info
  • But the timing's off.... and that ain't all.
    This is about the dumbest movie ever written. I'm only giving it two stars because that's who's in it, two stars (Hanks & Ryan).

    First off, who is Tom's character in love with? The first Meg Ryan (the first character she plays), the second Meg Ryan (the second character she plays) or the last one who just so happens to be the Boss' daughter (the boss who sent him to a quack doctor (or is he) to convince him to jump into the volcano)?

    Then miracle of miracle Hanks & Ryan are saved at the end, by a volcanic "belch" and thus un-appeased the island pulls an Atlantis.

    Face facts, Tom Hanks is a hypochondriatic who even at the end shows no signs of a cure from that disease. Except for the comical hijinks from Abe Vigoda and the other islanders what the heck does this movie offer?

    Sure some reviewers allude the opening scences of poor Hanks character's life as Metropolisque, but really in a movie that's supposed to be a comedy? I don't think this movie knew what it wanted to be so it just drifted, much like Joe's interest in all of Ryan's characters. ...more info



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