The Beav according to Beav

Still crazy after all these years.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

We're All Regular Joes

I think Joe Versus the Volcano got a bad rap. I've heard and seen it panned in no uncertain terms by everyone from high-profile critics to folks on the street. It seems to me that everyone seems to have missed a lot that is going on under the surface.

Every character in the whole movie, with the exception of Joe and Patricia, is a caricature. The entire movie is almost melodramatic in its setting, characterization, and dialogue. And yet, in the midst of this dry satire of life in many spheres (corporate America, LA, Island native life), there are little nuggets of almost transcendental wisdom.

"We are the children of children, and we live as we are shown," says the Waponi Chief. He needn't be referring to his oddly dressed tribe, but to all of us on planet Earth: arguing, yelling, fighting, and dying for things our parents said were good ideas...or so their parents said.

Patricia tells Joe, "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. " That seems to hold equally true in the non-caricaturistic world we live in. I look around me every day and see people who've obviously never seen the world around them. They've never opened their eyes from their waking slumber and just experienced the wonder that is there for the asking.

And then, of course, the lesson that if you just procrastinate for 2 more minutes, the volcano will spit you out and you can live happily ever after.


Labels: ,


  • At 11:26 PM, Anonymous We Didn't Start the Fire said…

    What a coincidence; I just read an article about Tom Hanks in... I think it was Esquire magazine and in it he discusses some of his movies roles throughout his career. He pointed out that Joe Versus the Volcano was actually a much better movie than it got credit for. I remember seeing it way back when it first came out (not waaaaay back, just way back) and enjoying it. I love the tone of the movie. I remember picking up on the parable but not really analyzing it. Now I'm gonna have to go rent it and rewatch it.

    Very astute analysis, and so relevant for right now, since we are under the leadership of a president who seems to be targeting a foe for the sake of his father.

    And the "children of children" thing - what a gem of a line. So many possible meanings. Aside from the one you pointed out, there is also the idea that no matter how old we become in numerical terms, there is always a part of each of us that still throws a tantrum like a two year old. Our tantrums take on different forms, but we can no more hide our childishness from our children than we can hide our mistakes from them. It is folly to assume that every word out of our adult mouths should be accepted without question.

    Anyway, good post!

  • At 1:54 AM, Anonymous bk30 said…

    you had to go and do it didn't you?
    I was expecting light hearted banter or a I miss my family entry, but nooooo I get an entry I had to read twice to understand it lol. Of course I'm so shallow I never even saw the hidden meaning, I just enjoyed laughing my butt off at the movie :)

  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger MthNrd said…

    I have always thought the depiction of Joe's workplace is a rather good caricature of the American workplace. Bleak, dreary, impersonal, flourescent lights sucking the life out of everyone. And the crooked walkway from the parking lot to the front entrance (which happens to be the company logo)...excellent.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home