Film & Water #80 – Joe Vs. The Volcano



Rob welcomes his podcasting life-mate The Irredeemable Shag back to the show to talk about one of their favorite, most underrated movies: JOE VS. THE VOLCANO starring Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Meg Ryan, and Meg Ryan!

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9 responses to “Film & Water #80 – Joe Vs. The Volcano

  1. What a great episode! I hate to admit, I don’t think I’ve seen this. I remember wanting to see it, but since my movie-watching back then was dominated by my teenage friends, if it didn’t have gore, explosions or boobs back then, it was usually a pass. There’s this vague recollection in the back of my mind, but I think I just caught part of it on TV.

    I do remember that Goofy short! That may have something to do with my falsely remembering seeing the movie.

    Your dual enthusiasm for this one has me wanting to put it on top of my Film & Water watch pile. I think Cindy would enjoy it too. We may have to try and squeeze it in this weekend!

    Oh, and Robert Stack AND Lloyd Bridges were both in Airplane, so maybe the director was a fan? Bridges was pretty hilarious in the Hot Shots movies, also by the Airplane guys, although the humor in those was hit or miss.


  2. Damn it guys, I listened to half the show walking from work, and you made me put it on when I got home – I SO LOVE 16 TONS, forgot it was the opener! – I guess I’ll finish the ‘cast tomorrow.

  3. Watched the movie again, and finished the episode as promised. It really sits at some kind of intersection between Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, but take some of the Gilliam out of the formula and replace it with some Mel Brooks.

    Thanks for making me revisit it. Unlike you guys, I first saw it less than 2 years ago after buying it off an Amazon sale probably, and it was completely unlike what I was expecting. It speaks to me a lot more today than it would have in 1990, and I loved your insights.

    Remember kids, FEAR IS THE MIND KILLER!

  4. Wonderful episode. Thank you, guys. I was one of the many who thought that no one loved Joe Vs. the Volcano except myself. Well, I take that back. I knew one other person.

    I saw it on opening night with 5 friends. I was on one end of the row. My pal Eric was on the other. Throughout the movie, I couldn’t stop laughing and cheering. And, I could hear Eric laughing and having a great time. The four people between us sat stone faced. After the movie, when Eric and I were talking about how great it was, our friends reacted very unpleasantly towards it, which we couldn’t understand. They thought it was stupid. I said, “It’s written by the man who wrote Moonstruck. So, it may be many things but it’s not stupid.” Eric and I were astounded at how much they disliked it compared to how much we loved it.

    Then, we saw the reviews and the movie bombed so our friends seemed proved right. For years, I didn’t see the movie. Although, every once in a while when I saw Eric, we’d quote something from the film. Mainly luggage related material.

    Three years ago, I discovered that my wife loves the film. So, we got the DVD and we watch it about twice a year. I do everything I can to recommend it to as many people as possible. Maybe it was simply made before its time? I don’t know. I do know that there are very few films that bring me as much joy as this one. And your podcast makes me want to watch it again right now. The office I’m in doesn’t have windows. Maybe I can find a way to project it on the walls?

    (I had a similar experience happen with the movie Toys. But, nobody likes Toys except me so I tend to keep quiet about it.)

  5. I always likened Shanley following the success of Moonstruck with the oddness of Joe to Altman following the huge success of M*A*S*H with the utter weirdness of Brewster McCloud. (Also a favorite of mine.)

  6. A little after the 10 minute mark you start questioning meg Ryan’s acting ability I haven’t listened to the rest of the podcast but prior to Joe versus the Volcano she killed it on guiding light the daytime television program On CBS

  7. Great discussion, gentlemen. I did not see this one in the theaters, but I did catch it later on TV, back when they used to show movies on Saturday afternoons. So, it’s been ages since I’ve seen it, but I remember enjoying its quirky nature. I was surprised to learn from you that it didn’t do well in theaters. It’s good to know that this film has achieved cult status.

  8. I often have the intention of leaving comments for this show, but I’m not great at follow through. I decided to do a quick run through of the many (I think) I’ve missed in bullet point form.

    * Enjoyed the entire run of Star Trek movie episodes. I tend to favor 3, 4, and 6. I remember feeling like 5 was better than its reputation, but I only watched it once on cable and mostly just remember their farting at the campfire. First Contact is the only TNG movie worth watching.

    * I saw Defending Your Life on cable in the early 90s, never since, but its themes stuck with me regardless. Great movie I need to revisit.

    * At my mother’s urging (probably wanted me out of the house for the night) I saw Dick Tracy on its premiere night and wore the bonus movie ticket t-shirt for years afterward. They ran the reels out of order, causing a lot of confusion when the murdered Dick Van Dyke was suddenly resurrected and evil. It didn’t have nearly as negative an impact as one might otherwise imagine, plus I got a rain ticket for another movie as a result. I liked it, but it wasn’t as good as the tie-in comic, and in fact I suspect my own enjoyment was heightened above the average for having been propped up by that prologue. Haven’t watched the DVD since I bought it on sale a decade back.

    * I can’t recall if I saw Joe v Volcano: Dusk of Waponi Woo at the dollar show or home viewing, but I loved it immediately and watched it many times in decades past. I also think I have video recorded about it from that entertainment show Chris Connolly used to have on MTV, The Big Picture. I fell in love with Meg Ryan again over the course of that movie, though I’d been into her since at least the D.O.A. remake, and When Harry Met Sally is a forever favorite. It always bugged me how big Sleepless In Seattle and You’ve Got Mail were while Joe was not only forgotten, but the vastly superior film of the three. Like, I don’t even enjoy the other two a tiny bit, where I live my life through principles partly instilled by Joe levels of disparity. I like plenty of “bad” movies unapologetically, but I never filed Joe V under that heading. It was simply misunderstood by the plebes and too many mainstream, milquetoast critics.

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