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Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

PG | | Comedy, Romance | 9 March 1990 (USA)
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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.
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:

An Average Joe. An Adventurous Comedy. 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 contra el volcán 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, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$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 cab seen taking Joe's steamer trunks to the sailboat belongs to Neil Abercrombie, who at the time was a Congressman from Hawaii. Abercrombie drives a refurbished plantation-era taxi. The graphic on the side of cab is Abercrombie, a small nod to the residents of Hawaii, where some of the movie was filmed. See more »

Goofs

Mr. Graynamore sets out the credit cards atop Joe's stereo, orientating them so Joe can read them. Joe takes one and turns it over as if it were turned upside down. See more »

Quotes

Joe Banks: Who am I? That's the real question, isn't it? Who-who am I? Who are you! What other questions are there? What other questions are there, really! You want to understand the universe? Embrace the universe. The door to the universe is you.
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 Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Rent-A-Kube (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

I Cover the Waterfront
Written by Edward Heyman & Johnny Green
Performed by The Ink Spots
used during Joe's derlilium on the raft
See more »

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User Reviews

Surprisingly Good, Unfortunately overlooked
14 December 2002 | by scipioUofRSee 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.


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