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Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  9 March 1990 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 25,705 users  
Reviews: 193 user | 33 critic

When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Joe
...
DeDe / Angelica / Patricia
...
...
Dr. Ellison
...
Chief of the Waponis
...
Mr. Waturi
Barry McGovern ...
Luggage Salesman
...
Dagmar
...
Marshall
Jayne Haynes ...
Nurse
David Burton ...
Mike
Jon Conrad Pochron ...
Tony (as Jon Pochran)
...
Fred - Guard
Antoni Gatti ...
Italian Tailor
Darrell Zwerling ...
Underwear Salesman
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Storyline

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 <talford@mitre.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | volcano | love | tropical | yacht | See All (27) »

Taglines:

A story of love, lava and burning desire. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Joe contra el volcán  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$39,404,261 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are at least four references to losing one's soul:
  • in the song "Sixteen Tons" played at the start of the movie, the lyric "I sold my soul to the company store"


  • Joe responds to DeDe's question in the factory while inspecting his damaged shoe


  • Patricia's reference to being soul sick the first night on the yacht


  • several lines involving the Waponi's Tobi Chief such as when Joe states that he hopes the chief will not lose his Tobi (soul).


See more »

Goofs

In the morning when the daisy gets stepped on, everyone's shadows are to their right. Later that afternoon, when Joe fixes the daisy, his shadow is also to his right, and from the same camera angle. In the afternoon Joe's shadow would have been of a different angle. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Waturi: But can he do the job. I know he can get the job but can he DO the job? I'm NOT arguing that with you. I'm not arguing that with YOU. I'm not ARGUING that with you. I'm not ARGUING that with you Harry! Harry... Harry... Yeah Harry... but can he DO the job. I know he can GET the job but can he do the job?
See more »


Soundtracks

The Cowboy Song
Written by John Patrick Shanley
Performed by Tom Hanks
used while Joe is adrift on the ocean
See more »

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User Reviews

Surprisingly Good, Unfortunately overlooked
14 December 2002 | by (Richmond, Va) – See all my reviews

Tom Hanks has made many movies, most of which are very funny, emotional, and heartwarming. This movies is different from all his other movies: it is a work of art. Every scene has its own idiosyncrasies. Ordinary characters and settings have subtle emotional undertones that tug at the heartstrings. Dan Hedaya and Sam Waterstone's performances, though humorous, have a tone that is more than the sum of its parts. Color and scenery also have a hidden beauty, such as in the scene with Joe's glowing warm in his cold, blue office, or the scene with the dog and child as he exits the doctor's office, or the scene with him all alone at his table at the hotel. I first saw the movie when I was 11 years old, even then, its beauty struck me. That beauty was well capped off by the montage during the end credits. Apparently, John Patrick Shanley, or someone, put alot of work in an otherwise ordinary movie. Imagine if Stanley Kuprick had directed "You've Got mail." I'm surprised that the movie is not better known, especially that it is a big turning point in Tom Hanks career. Admittedly, his screen presence compensates for Meg Ryan's lackluster acting at times. She was best as a brunette and redhead than acting as herself. Nevertheless, a good movie, one to own and not just rent.


25 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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