Joe Versus the Volcano

Joe Versus the Volcano is a 1990 American romantic comedy film written and directed by John Patrick Shanley and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Hanks plays a man who, after being told he is dying of a rare disease, accepts a financial offer to travel to a South Pacific island and throw himself into a volcano on behalf of the superstitious natives. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with the woman taking him there.


Joe Banks is a downtrodden everyman from Staten Island, working a clerical job in a dreary factory for an unpleasant, demanding boss, Frank Waturi. Joyless, listless and chronically sick, Banks regularly visits doctors who can find nothing wrong with him. Finally, a Dr. Ellison diagnoses an incurable disease called a "brain cloud", which has no symptoms, but will kill him within five or six months. Ellison says that the symptoms he has been experiencing are actually psychosomatic, caused by trauma in his previous job as a firefighter. Ellison advises him, "You have some life left ... live it well." Joe tells his boss off, quits his job, and asks former coworker DeDe out on a date. Their date is a success, but when Joe tells DeDe that he is dying, she tells him she cannot deal with the revelation and leaves.