Tom Hanks Archives
Joe Versus the Volcano

Character: Joe
Directed by: John Patrick Shanley
Written by: John Patrick Shanley
Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Teri Schwartz, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall
Other cast: Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Abe Vigoda
Release date: March 9, 1990
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Running time: 1h 42min

Joe Banks is dying, apparently. This is good news, since his life was not much worth living anyway. On the upside, a strange millionaire offers Joe a way to die with meaning and dignity: by hurling himself into a volcano. With plenty of spending cash and an ensemble of new luggage, Joe embarks on an absurdist journey to his demise, guided by two very disparate sisters, and trying to puzzle out the meaning of existence.


→ An Average Joe. An Adventurous Comedy.
→ A story of love, lava and burning desire.

Character’s Quotes

• Dear God, whose name I do not know – thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG… thank you. Thank you for my life.
• Don’t you think I know that, Frank? Don’t you think I am aware there is a woman here? I can smell her, like, like a flower. I can taste her, like sugar on my tongue. When I’m 20 feet away I can hear the fabric of her dress when she moves in her chair!
• I have less than six months to live. The Waponis believe they need a human sacrifice or their island is going to sink into the ocean. They have this mineral your father wants so he hired me to leap into their volcano.
• I love you, too! I’ve never been in love with anybody before, either! It’s great! I’m glad! But the timing stinks.
• And why, I ask myself, why have I put up with you? I can’t imagine, but now I know. Fear. Yellow freakin’ fear. I’ve been too chicken shit afraid to live my life so I sold it to you for three hundred freakin’ dollars a week!
• And Frank, the coffee. It stinks. It tastes like arsenic. These lights give me a headache; if they don’t give you a headache, you must be dead, so let’s arrange the funeral!
• And then I’ll be staying on a tiny island and I don’t know if I’ll be living in a hut, or what.
• I bribed them to sing a song that would drive us insane and make our hearts swell and burst.
• Because some things take care of themselves. They’re not your job; maybe they’re not even your business.
• Who am I? That’s the real question, isn’t it? Who-who am I? Who are you! What other questions are there? What other questions are there, really! You want to understand the universe? Embrace the universe. The door to the universe is you.
• No. But there are certain times in your life when I guess you’re not supposed to have anybody, you know? There are certain doors you have to go through alone.