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Joe versus the Volcano is a fable which opens with somewhat surrealistic scenes of the dehumanization of Joe Bank's job and work environment (at a company whose product rather literally screws people) with imagery that seems to have been inspired by the classic film Metropolis. Joe is diagnosed with an incurable disease, quits his dehumanizing job, and accepts an offer to briefly "live like a king, die like a man" - but to fulfill his agreement he must willingly jump into a live volcano on the island of Waponi Woo in order to appease the volcano god. En route to the island, Joe meets a series of interesting characters in NYC and LA, then boards a yacht, captained by Patricia Graynamore. During the voyage Joe and Patricia survive disaster, fall in love, and finally arrive at the island where they face their destiny. Written by
It starts dark and dismal. It has to. The lower it starts, the higher the climax at the end when Joe is able to release his fears and live life to the fullest. A man is told he's dying of a "brain cloud" and has 6 months to live. Suddenly a stranger offers him a deal: live like a king for a month, die jumping into a volcano. With nothing to lose, he sets out for a tiny island. Along the way he discovers how wonderful life is. Not even a shipwreck can bring down his spirits. The ending is terrifically happy. The music is great. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are just as wonderful here as in Sleepless in Seattle. Abe Vigoda rocks. Watch for Nathan Lane as one of the islanders. But the ultimate scene stealer is the luggage salesman. All in all, a sweet, wonderful romantic movie.
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