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Joe Versus the Volcano Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Cult classic with smoking, kissing, stereotypes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the plot of the 1990 comedy Joe Versus the Volcano rests on the idea that the main character will commit suicide since he has a terminal illness. Despite the morbid premise, the cult classic is mostly upbeat, but an extended typhoon leaves background characters missing and main characters stranded for a while. One of the characters smokes, and there is some drinking, and a bit of profanity ("s--t"). The island inhabitants are also portrayed stereotypically.

  • Families can talk about romantic comedies. How is this similar and different from other movies in this genre?
  • How are colors and music used in this film to create a mood?
  • Why do you think certain actor pairs have chemistry and some don't? What exactly is "chemistry"?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true0

    Educational value: This film is intended to entertain, not educate.

  • message true3

    Messages: The movie's message is to seize the day and live life to the fullest.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Joe learns to stand up for himself and learns to make the most of each day. The island inhabitants behave in stereotypical exaggerated manners.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: There is an extended scene where characters on a boat sail into a typhoon. Some of the ship's crew do not survive, and for an extended amount of time, two of the main characters struggle to survive on a giant luggage case. A character faced with death debates the virtues of suicide. Hanging over the main character's head is the prospect of ending his life by jumping into an active volcano.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A few romantic kissing scenes between the two leads. One of the characters asks if the other had slept with her half sister.

  • language false3

    Language: A couple instances of "s--t."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: A brief glimpse of a Giorgio Armani store.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One of the characters is shown smoking cigarettes. Characters drink wine, but do not act drunk. During a climactic scene, one of the main characters appears with a bottle of alcohol and a glass.