Retro Movie: Joe versus the Volcano

By Jenny Mason

This is one of those films that when I first watched it back in the 1990, I don’t think I was paying any attention. First of all I didn’t remember Meg Ryan being in this film, and yet I do remember her characters. She acts really well in this film and so does Tom Hanks. While I respect Tom Hanks, I do find him a tad bland at times.

However back in the day, he was not as bland. He was more of a comedy actor, and in my opinion more entertaining. He is a bit of a do-gooder these days, Mr Perfect. On watching this old film again, I was impressed, not just by the script and acting, it is arty, and different and deals with mortality in an off beat way. This film confirmed my theory that films of this era took risks. It made me reconsider the talents of Tom hanks and Meg Ryan.

It is a basic plot Joe (Hanks) works in advertising and is uninspired. He is then told he has six months to live, he falls for a girl at his office. He quits his job, He is asked if (see as he is dying anyway) if he will jump into a volcano. He accepts. Ryan then pops up as several characters.  

Hanks was looser when he was younger and Ryan is beautiful, she was stunning, feminine, and vulnerable, not to forget, convincing. This was a refreshing walk down memory lane and reminded me that films were not always corny, they were creative and different and cool.

Of course Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks worked together again in Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve got mail. They obviously have chemistry, but out of those three films, Joe Versus the volcano, has the most interesting and original script – in my little, old opinion that is. 

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