Joe Versus the Volcano - Over rated or not?

I saw this film a few years ago and it was fairly amusing dark comedy with some clever lines - “You’ve got brain cloud” - ,
but not what I’d call one of the top ten or twenty I’ve seen. Why does this film have such a cult following with some people claiming it’s one of the best and deepest films ever made? Some people practically parse out the script word for word trying to find new patterns and connections.

Joe’s World

Well… surely you can’t really say something has a cult following and then call it overrated?

When it was in the theater I saw it many times, because I loved it. Best and deepest film ever made? No. Unique in many respects? Yes. It has a lovely deep melancholy running through it, yet it has a happy ending. And bits of it still crack me up, like Dan Heyada talking on the telephone in the factory.

Joe Versus the Volcano has a big cult following? News to me.

Anyway, overrated is relative. It’s a term people tend to apply to anything they don’t like that’s popular, so “overrated” has become one of those terms that causes me to automatically tune a person out.

Wasn’t this one of the most universally panned movies ever? Like, Ishtar levels of critical venom?

Well, I hope it’s not the most over-rated movie ever, because for years I’ve been touting it as one of the most under-rated movies ever. I’d hate to think I’ve been misleading people.

Having seen this movie, I must state that it would be hard to under-rate it.

There is a deus ex machina ending that involves floating luggage. It is so surreal that my mother was certain that she had fallen asleep and dreamed the ending.

Hmm. Perhaps we all did and shared the dream…

I wouldn’t really call that a true deus ex machina, robert. The luggage was clearly established as being indestructable and as a functional floatation device when Joe bought it. A real DEM ought to come right out of the blue. Literally, for preference.

Joe Vs. the Volcano I consider to be one of the WORST movies of all time.

I think it really is Meg Ryans greatest film work.

But the third act is a bit silly. I mean the islanders LOVE orange soda. There is no naturally occuring source of orange soda (in almimn cans) on that island so the rich industrialist should have been able to trade orange soda for the ubaru. That and all the mish-mash of cultures they tried to squeeze in really didn’t make me laugh.

But hey, when I owned a movie theatre, during the summer I ran some really cheap movies during the weekdays for kids. I ran JvV as a modern day fairy tale.

The kids loved it.

Oh and Miller, I think the DEM is the volcano blowing them back out

Being a huge Tom Hanks fan since his Bosom Buddies days, I went and saw JvsTV the weekend it premiered.

And I hated it.

I mean, I hated it so bad I almost went to the box office and demanded my money back, I hated it so bad.
But, putting it down to can’t-win-'em-all, I promptly attempted to forget about this movie that i considered a waste of 2 hrs of my life.

Then it hit cable. Suddenly it was on literally 2, 3, sometimes 4 times a day on all channels. Well, maybe I can get some enjoyment out of making fun of it, sort of my own Mystery Science Theatre 300, if you will.

But then a very strange thing happened.

I got it.

Somehow or another I started liking and appreciating everything about this movie, to the point where I know consider it a personal top 10 favorite.

The really weird thing is, I really can’t describe to someone who hates the movie why they should like it. On the contrary, having been there myself I certainly can see why they would dislike it.

All I do know is that I consider the film to be highly underrated and full of great moments, characters and dialogue.

And anyone who has any doubts that Meg Ryan has acting chops should see the three roles she plays in this movie, all different as can be from each other. It’s a pity she hasn’t done more movies like this as she gets older and can’t play the “cute Meg Ryan” character she seems to phone in on every film lately.

This Rant has been brought to you by the letter “M”

Chris W

IIRC, critics hated it…so if it’s overrated - what must it really be?
Still, I love the first two thirds of this movie. It isn’t perfect… but it has something very worth watching. The details are a huge part of what makes the movie for me, but they’re not everything, either.

I still want the soundtrack.
I still can’t find it.

You know riserius1, your post really intrigues me. I know this film is hugely popular. And I am curious about why. I have seen this movie more than once and every time I come away hating it more than I did before. I really would like to know what you and others see in it. If I should be looking for something, can someone let me know so the next time it’s on and I don’t have anything better to do, like pulling out my toenails, I can see if I might like it finally?

Maybe it doesn’t help that I HATE Tom Hanks’ (lack of) acting ability.

I totally love this movie.

My parents took me to see it in the theater when it came out, as a sort of “let’s find something to do with young jackelope while he’s home from college” sort of outing. Seeing it in the theater was, frankly, my first experience of appreciating cinema as art. Since then I’ve tried to engage others in it, but had limited success. (My folks hated it, and probably don’t remember it today.)

I’ve watched it every year or two since then on video, and to this day, at my advanced age (31), I always find something new to appreciate in the cinematography, the editing, the acting, or somewhere. Especially the editing; watch the scene when Tom Hanks comes out of the doctor’s office, having received a death sentence, and hugs the Great Dane and then the little old lady walking it. That is one long, brilliant shot.

I would not name this as one of the greatest films ever, but I would definitely name it as one of my favorite films ever. I might, if pressed, even call it My Favorite Movie. M is a brilliant film, but frankly I don’t want to watch it over and over. This one I want to watch repeatedly, and isn’t it one of the requirements of art that it entertain as well as affect/educate?.

Miller, I don’t know how it rated generally, but Roger Ebert loved it:

Thanks for starting this thread, astro; I’ve been wondering for years if I were the only devotee of this film.

It isn’t overrated, it’s underrated by most. It’s a good movie and I enjoy it every time it’s on.

I have no response to that.

Actually, I do. I loved Joe Versus the Volcano. I saw it in the theater, mainly because my outrigger canoe paddling coach and some other folks I knew played natives on the island. I haven’t seen it in a while, but as I now work in an office I have more appreciation for the soul-crushing atmosphere of Joe’s workplace. I like the repetition of the lightning bolt/crack throughout the film. And I think John Patrick Shanley is a genius.

amarinth, the link in the OP provides some soundtrack information. Perhaps your quest is over.

Count me as one of those people surprised by the title of this thread – I remember JvtV as being vilified when it came out. It’s probably a better movie than its reputation would have you think.

If your expectations are not great, it’s a fun, amusing, rather weird movie. Maybe it strives just a bit too hard for “quirky”. I like the luggage. I really enjoyed the sequence where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are drifting on the luggage and he is exploring the contents of the luggage – the putting green and the ukelele.

A few months before it came out, I proposed to Mrs. BDGR. She tried to jump out of the van we we were in. I asked her again at least once a day thereafter. She finally said yes during the closing credits of Joe versus the Valcano.

Funny, I cant remember a damn thing about the movie after that.

OK, I love this movie too, but I really don’t know why. I loved it the first time I saw it. I think I might have been the only person in the theater who liked it. My date hated it.

This is a stupid reason, one that I would never accept from anybody else if they presented it to me, but I think what I like about the movie is that it has a big heart.

I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Oh, Finagle just hit the nail on the head for me – it does try a little to hard to be quirky.

I’m rather lukewarm on this movie, but I admit that a few things have stayed with me over the years (“I have no response to that” is useful in a huge variety of situations).

Also, the scene with the hammerhead shark (which lasts all of about three seconds) is quite possibly the hardest I have ever laughed during a movie. I very nearly injured myself.

One interesting thing is that this movie often comes up when people discuss Tom Hanks. I’m sure most people have either had/heard this conversation – the “when the heck did Tom Hanks become a SERIOUS ACTOR?” one. Whether or not one likes Tom Hanks as an actor, it does seem to strike most people that he rather suddenly turned into the heart-warming, inspiring, dramatic actor. He is such a good comedic actor (IMO) that it seemed especially abrupt (my contribution to film criticism – Why do I want to watch Hanks play a sincere, steadfast, too-good-to-be-true dying guy when I could be watching him with a hammerhead shark?). I suspect that had this career shift been more gradual, or if he had alternated between big comedy roles and big dramatic roles, Joe vs. the Volcano wouldn’t be trotted out so often as a contrast to his later career.

So ah, my point is that if Tom Hanks’s career had been different, this movie wouldn’t be in the spotlight so much. I think this also accounts for people’s varying perceptions of whether it’s over-rated or under-rated. It’s not really either, it’s just often-rated.

(Of course, I did show up pretty late in the thread)

The movie knows it’s stupid. It was MADE to be a stupid movie. It still, however, has meaning.

Even though you don’t take the story seriously, the message is clear, and it’s quite enlightening. Sure, the saying; “live each day as if it’s your’ last”, has been around for a long time, I just don’t think I’ve ever seen that logic played out on the movie screen quite like it does in “Joe”. The movie is moody (to begin with), but not dramatic. It’s just fun. The pictures “style” coincides with it’s message. Why do people HAVE to take life, (and films), so seriously? Perhaps John Patrick Shanley wrote the movie with this in mind. I doubt he wrote it thinking it would be labeled an acclaimed masterpiece.

It’s DOES have a big heart. It’s like that one crazy uncle you’ll find in almost and family. He’s goofy, eccentric, and rarely ever serious… yet you can learn so much from his behavior. He cares about others, has a big heart, and is fun loving. What else do you need every last day for the rest of your life? This movie has that.

That’s what I got from out of this charming film!

I hated that movie, but… “overrated”? How?

It didn’t get great reviews, it didn’t earn awards, it didn’t make lots of money, it didn’t make much of an impression on most people. So, how could it be overrated? Just because a few people who DO like it are passionate about it?