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Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

PG | | Comedy, Romance | 9 March 1990 (USA)
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1:54 | Trailer
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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4,001 ( 146)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hanks ... Joe
Meg Ryan ... DeDe / Angelica / Patricia
Lloyd Bridges ... Graynamore
Robert Stack ... Dr. Ellison
Abe Vigoda ... Chief of the Waponis
Dan Hedaya ... Mr. Waturi
Barry McGovern Barry McGovern ... Luggage Salesman
Amanda Plummer ... Dagmar
Ossie Davis ... Marshall
Jayne Haynes Jayne Haynes ... Nurse
David Burton David Burton ... Mike
Jon Conrad Pochron Jon Conrad Pochron ... Tony (as Jon Pochran)
Jim Hudson ... Fred - Guard
Antoni Gatti 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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joe Versus the Volcano See more »

Filming Locations:

Hawaii, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,252,232, 11 March 1990

Gross USA:

$39,404,261

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,404,261
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Joe goes shopping (supposedly in New York City) was actually filmed on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. You can see the familiar Gucci sign. See more »

Goofs

The Medical League Building - Long Island City Branch has a street address of 941. Addresses in Long Island City, Queens are hyphenated, such as 25-81. See more »

Quotes

Luggage Salesman: Have you thought much about luggage, Mr. Banks?
Joe Banks: No.
Luggage Salesman: It's the central preoccupation of my life.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The movie was re-shot to change the ending, which was unpopular with test audiences. In the original ending, after Joe and Patricia are expelled by the volcano, they are rescued by the Tweedle Dum (the sister of the yacht that was sunk, the Tweedle Dee.) On board are the rescued crew of the Dee, as well as Graynamore and "Dr. Ellison", who turns out to be Graynamore's tax accountant (and hatchet man) by the name of Kenneth Hindmick. Graynamore reveals he had Hindmick pose as a doctor to make Joe think he had a fatal disease. Hindmick pulls a gun on Joe to protect Graynamore from Joe's anger, and to allow Graynamore to keep the yacht. Joe, having stared into the mouth of a volcano, calmly swipes the gun from Hindmick, then announces to Graynamore that he and Patricia had gotten married by the Chief. They both banish Graynamore and Hindmick to the boat's dinghy in the middle of the ocean. Graynamore tells Hindmick that he likes Joe, and admits being banished in a small dinghy in the middle of the ocean is his price for being too greedy, and tells Hindmick to help him row home. Back at the Tweedle Dum, Joe and Patricia see the four steamer trunks popping to the surface, with the Chief riding the last one, brandishing his Tobi, happily telling them he didn't lose his soul after all. Joe replies he didn't lose his either. The only remnant from the original ending is that in the end credits, you see an artist's rendition of the Tweedle Dum sailing off into the distance. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kung Fu and Titties (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

I Cover the Waterfront
Written by Edward Heyman and Johnny Green
Performed by The Ink Spots
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A misunderstood film explained
3 August 2004 | by cj-scrivenerSee all my reviews

Most people didn't "get" this film. But each of us has a different sense of humour and depth. JVTV is a subtle, witty film with morals, not like the bash 'em and blow 'em up Hollywood films of late. Meg Ryan shows her versatility as three separate, wonderfully funny characters and Tom Hanks (think of his character in The Money Pit but amusingly depressed) as Joe Banks trapped in a dead end job and is told he has a terminal illness. He is offered the chance to "live like a king, die like a man" by jumping into a volcano as part of a business deal where Joe gets to spend as much money as he likes before the big deed. Along the way Joe meets many characters who awaken him to the fact that life is worth living. This film is loaded with wonderful observations, a great score and songs, and standout performances. JVTV is one of those rare films you can easily watch again and again, and always makes me smile every time I see it.


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