Joe Versus the Volcano

Joe Versus the Volcano

4.6 6
Director: John Patrick Shanley

Cast: John Patrick Shanley, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges

     
 

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Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Patrick Shanley's first foray into the director's chair is a quirky romantic fantasy, featuring Bo Welch's signature production design. Tom Hanks plays Joe Banks, a man who hates his job, thinks the overhead fluorescent lights are making him sick, and quakes at the presence of his boorish boss Frank Watori (Dan Hedaya). He is… See more details below

Overview

Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Patrick Shanley's first foray into the director's chair is a quirky romantic fantasy, featuring Bo Welch's signature production design. Tom Hanks plays Joe Banks, a man who hates his job, thinks the overhead fluorescent lights are making him sick, and quakes at the presence of his boorish boss Frank Watori (Dan Hedaya). He is attracted to the office secretary DeDe (Meg Ryan) but is afraid to speak to her. Then his life changes when he visits Dr. Ellison (Robert Stack). Dr. Ellison tells Joe that he has something called "a brain cloud" that is rapidly spreading throughout his brain. He will feel great, but he'll be dead within five months. Instead of being depressed at this bleak prognosis, Joe suddenly feels free. He quits his job, asks DeDe out, and is contacted by a rich millionaire named Graynamore (Lloyd Bridges). Graynamore owns an island named Waponi Woo, whose natives need to be placated. The natives require a sacrifice to their island volcano, the Big Woo, so that the island won't sink beneath the Pacific. Graynamore offers unlimited wealth to Tom in exchange for Tom's becoming the object of human sacrifice. Joe has nothing to lose, so he accepts the offer. As he heads out to the island, Joe meets Graynamore's daughters -- Angelica, a Los Angeles socialite, and Patricia, Angelica's blonde half-sister (both roles played by Ryan). Joe arrives at the island, and as he stands at the lips of the Big Woo he has to decide whether he really wants to leap into the maw of the fiery volcano.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
The directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter John Patrick Shanley, this quirky comedy is one of the few flops under the belt of star Tom Hanks, its off-kilter brand of loopy charm flying over the heads of most audiences. As a nebbish who thinks he's dying of a bizarre disease, Hanks diverges from his usual role of an intelligent, supremely competent professional, perhaps alienating his fan base, but delivering a winning, funny performance that ranks with his work as a wide-eyed innocent in Big (1988). In her first pairing with frequent co-star Hanks, female lead Meg Ryan loses herself in a trio of roles that rank among her best work and presage the most undeservedly ignored performance of her career in Courage Under Fire (1996). It's the goofball characters and sneaky symbolism of the screenplay by Shanley that make this wacko project the comic delight that it is, however. Whether it's Abe Vigoda as an Orange Crush-worshipping tribal chief, Lloyd Bridges as an eccentric millionaire, or the recurring visual references to fate (keep an eye peeled for hidden zig-zags and lightning bolts), the film is a major cinematic treat. Although trounced by many critics, Joe Versus the Volcano is a woefully underrated film, one of the decade's lost classics and a film that star Hanks has often singled out as the lone, unfairly tarnished gem on his resumé.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/06/1999
UPC:
0085391606031
Original Release:
1990
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Hanks Joe Banks
Meg Ryan Angelica,DeDe,Patricia
Lloyd Bridges Samuel Harvey Graynamore
Robert Stack Dr. Ellison
Dan Hedaya Mr. Frank Watori
Abe Vigoda Chief of the Waponis
Ossie Davis Marshall the Chauffeur
Barry McGovern Luggage Salesman
Amanda Plummer Dagmar
Carol Kane Hairdresser
Marion Dougherty Actor
Jon Conrad Pochron Actor
Jayne Haynes Nurse
Jim Hudson Fred (Guard)
Nathan Lane Ben, the Waponi Advance Man
Jim Ryan Bellman
Tony Salome Clerk (at The Rectal Probe Company)
Lala Sloatman Waitress
Jennifer Stewart Statue of Liberty
Paul Thorpe The (Waponi) God Woo
Darrell Zwerling Underwear Salesman
David Burton Mike

Technical Credits
John Patrick Shanley Director,Screenwriter
Colleen Atwood Costumes/Costume Designer
Ian Bryce Production Designer
Cheryl Carasik Set Decoration/Design
Georges Delerue Score Composer
Marion Dougherty Casting
Thomas A. Duffield Production Designer
Stephen Goldblatt Cinematographer
Richard Halsey Editor
Industrial Light & Magic Special Effects
Kathleen Kennedy Executive Producer
Frank Marshall Executive Producer
Teri Schwartz Producer
Steven Spielberg Executive Producer
Ken Wannberg Editor
Robert W. Welch Production Designer

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