Thursday, August 19, 2010

Joe v. O ('12)

Joe Versus The Volcano (1990) was apparently Tom Hanks' 19th movie, but it doesn't seem to be well known.

"Joe" seems to serve as a morality tale with perhaps a potential prophecy for the politics of our day (not exactly following the sequence of the plot...):

2008 - Joe jumps into a volcano (Patricia: "Nobody knows anything, Joe. We'll take this leap, and we'll see. We'll jump, and we'll see. That's life, right?"): Unknown Barack Obama is elected U.S. president;

2009-2010 - The opening sequence is accompanied by the song "Sixteen tons...and deeper in debt," as we observe Joe and countless other zombie-like workers file into a miserable factory: in the midst of "the greatest recession since the Great Depression," Obama and the Democratic majority manage to increase the federal deficit to $13T, 10% of the U.S. GDP ("Sixteen Tons" refrain: "I owe my soul to the company store");

2010 - Joe realizes he's been suffering from a "brain cloud," and "fires" his boss (i.e., Joe quits; [spoiler alert:] in the movie, it turns out the "brain cloud" isn't real; in any event, Joe's been duped: Patricia, again: "My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement."): midterm elections toss incumbents out as "Tea Party" candidates sweep into power;

2012 - Waking up from "Brain Cloud, Part II" -- hmm, what a coincidence -- it takes Joe 4 1/2 years to wake up: Obama is a one-term president.

Here's the scene where Joe "fires" his boss (Warning: 3 profanities/some crudity):


Spoiler: Joe "wakes up," survives his jump into the volcano, a terrible storm, and has an amazing adventure; he finds true love and meaning in his life (with Patricia, no surprise), and lives happily ever after.

Could fiction repeat itself in real life? I dunno. We'll jump, and we'll see.

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