my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Joe Versus the Volcano
Director:   John Patrick Shanley
Year:   1990
Genre:   Comedy
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   02.21.07

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
02.21.07Netflix So a web forum that I frequent has started up a movie club where a rotating member picks a film that we all watch and talk about and this was the first pick. I'm pretty happy because I don't have to spend the first round saying the movie sucks and i've been wanting to see this again anyway after Eric showed his 16mm trailer of it.

I really like this movie. I remember when it came out it completely bombed... actually it was the last bomb before Tom Hanks' run of like 15 mega-hits and i read this interview with him once where someone remarked on that and he said "yeah but why didn't they come to Joe Versus the Volcano?"

So in fantasy scenarios where I find myself with 15 minutes of face time with Tom Hanks, The two movies I'd want to talk to him about are That Thing You Do and this.

The first half hour of this movie stands as timeless classic in my opinion. All the stuff with the office job, especially Dan Hedaya. In fact there's a few lines from this movie that've successfully managed to wiggle their way into my toolbox of everyday phrasings: "I'm not arguing that with you" and "I have no response to that." But all the stuff and especially Hanks' quitting speech is awesome.

I really dig on the expressionistic aspects; the clearly fairy tale aspects. I like that it's not reality... and I suppose that forgives the happily ever after ending but I suspect, with a few tonal changes and a more realistic ending, that there's a great tragedy tale here (...or you can just watch Ikiru). BUT, part of the reason why I like it is because it's light and funny with just hints of darkness rather than the other way around so... it is what it is.

I'm also surprised to see recognisable faces in really small parts... Not only Ossie Davis as the (perfectly portrayed) chauffer but also Nathan Lane as a tribal dude, Amanda Plummer as a sailor, and Carol Kane as the hairstylist. They, like the small thematic or stylistic touches that sparkle throughout the film give it a real sense of design for me. This is really a well put-toether piece of filmmaking. i still feel it's unjustly dismissed.

But... yeah the ending kind of strains me. I really love all the lost at sea part... the weird typhoon with the green lighting, all that stuff reminds me of a less crack-adled Cabin Boy... but once they get to the island it wears pretty thin. Especially when they're up on the volcano and Meg Ryan insists on jumping with him. I just don't buy any of that. To me, he should've jumped and died and become legend to the (non orange soda-loving) tribe... but again, it is what it is.

Glad to see this again though... Love this movie.
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