It's almost time to crack open a nice cold Jump and listen to a story of a guy who had a lousy job... and maybe learn a thing or two about things like responsibility and the futility of leaving the task of sorting out your own shit to someone or something else. I'm Spider...
...and this week, we're bringing you our review of Joe vs. the Volcano and even I was surprised at just how much of this movie really relates to the things we talk about around here. All kinds of subtleties in narrative that make the point that we can't scapegoat anyone into solving life's problems for us. We will take a look at that theme and others as we go, but first...
That's stealing, do ya copy? Make America stupid again, and the Aussie who cried COVID in a CBB segment I'm calling Fractured Hamilton, Halting Free Speech, and a side of rotten Hamm edition...
“Thou shalt not steal? But what if I have a good reason? Or well, a bad reason? A reason? I mean it's just music and props and costumes, those ideas are invisible....”
Christians give the worst reasons for doing ANYTHING. And they hardly ever get called on it.
It looks like the The Door McAllen in Texas might NOT get off scot-free for stealing AND PERFORMING the musical Hamilton. Not a lame christian parody. This was a fairly high budget production. I saw some of the promo they aired at their church one Sunday morning and it looked SO close to the production on Disney+. The music is EXACTLY the same, the costumes are also exactly the same.
Of course, what ISN'T the same is some of the lyrics because...well, they're christian. It's really really cringey. They insert a scene where Hamilton meets up with a preacher who LEADS HIM TO JESUS right before the song “it's quiet uptown”. And it's not just any preacher. It's the pastor of the Door McAllen Church. (I watched the clip and yeah that's the same guy)
They took some of the most beautiful lines and just...clunkily inserted Jesus into it. Eliza is singing to Alexander about his unfaithfulness and begs him to invite Jesus into his heart. One of the lines near the end of the musical is orignally this: "What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me." And this production makes it into: “What is a legacy? It’s knowing you repented and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ that sets men free. You sent your sinless son of man on Calvary to die for me.”
And then? They end the performance with an anti LGBTQ sermon. Ugh...cringey.
The performance was put on by a Theater Group called RGV productions, who also work with the Ministry of the Door McAllen Church. If you look at their webpage, Hamilton isn't the only work they've ripped off. They've also ripped off Toy Story, Despicable Me, and Beauty and the Beast. I guess those didn't get spread around as much as Hamilton...
I'm not sure they were expecting the blowback they got. The lawyers for the Hamilton production company sent them a cease-and-desist letter after the friday performance. They were told not to put a livestream up on youtube (which they'd done), and to cancel the following night's performance. The church put online that they canceled it, but then sneakily sent emails to the congregation saying the performance was still on.
After more blowback, they took down the first youtube livestream and all of the other links to promotions and clips of their shows.
Chris Peterson of the OnStage Blog, says this:
Ministries receive a very limited exemption from copyright law. During worship services, churches usually are permitted to play or perform any song or reading. Churches are typically permitted to play and perform copyrighted songs during worship services and the law generally only extends to live, in-person performances.
Because there was a sermon at the conclusion of the performance, it’s possible ‘The Door McAllen’ thought they were free and open to do what they did.
They were wrong. This exemption doesn’t cover dramatic secular works like operas or plays.
It also doesn’t matter if they didn’t charge money for tickets either.
I also don’t see a live pit. If they used backing tracks, that’s another issue as well. Backing tracks are often copyrighted: using without permission is also against the law.
The fact they live-streamed and posted the production on YouTube (which they have since taken down) is another issue as well. A license is often required to play, perform, or otherwise use any copyrighted material in a recording or broadcast. That not only will get them into hot water with ‘Hamilton’ producers, but also Disney as well, since they paid $75 million for that. (those rights)
Interestingly enough, for their ad for their illegal production, RGV Productions used the same music cut from Disney+’s trailer for ‘Hamilton’.
These people are in such trouble. Howard Sherman, a longtime theater administrator and producer, had this to say on his Facebook: UPDATE, August 7: multiple reports indicate the second performance did occur. Now it’s wholly for attorneys to address. But thanks to everyone who demonstrated that copyright violations will be discovered. People care about artists’ rights.
I could talk about this more, but I'm a theater geek and would probably take over the podcast. In the meantime, check out Hemant Mehta's articles about this performance over on OnlySky as well as the OnStage blog. I'm sure updates will be forthcoming.
When I was a painfully awkward Middle Schooler, the public library was my sanctuary. I would go almost every Saturday when the library opened, and stay until the library closed. It was the place I felt most welcome. But now, like everything else good in the world, looks like Conservative Christians are trying to ruin that too. Hemant Mehta on Only Sky has put together just a few stories where libraries are losing staff, losing funding, and having their book choices scrutinized because of Fundamentalist Christians.
Voters in Jamestown Township, Michigan chose to defund the library, depriving it of 84% of its 2023 budget. Unless that decision is reversed, the Patmos Library will be forced to shut down sometime next year. The reason the vote failed? Because conservative Christians in the community didn’t like that some of the books featured same-sex couples.
Library Director Amber McLain resigned this spring, telling Bridge she had been harassed online and accused of indoctrinating children. Interim director Matthew Lawrence resigned later.
Amanda Ensing, one of the organizers of the Jamestown Conservatives group, emerged from the library Tuesday wearing an “I voted” sticker. “They are trying to groom our children to believe that it’s OK to have these sinful desires,” Ensing said of library officials. “It’s not a political issue, it’s a Biblical issue.”
And here's another: The Vinton Public Library in Iowa was forced to close for over a week after its interim director, who’s gay, resigned over the Christian community’s homophobia. Colton Neely had been hired as the children’s librarian in 2020 and did his job well. But between nasty comments said within earshot, and demands to hide or censor books about LGBTQ people, and objections to a summer reading challenge that “encouraged patrons to read books by people of color and LGBTQ authors,” it was clear the people in this town wanted to make the librarians’ lives miserable. Neely only became the director after his predecessor left town to take over a library in a more welcoming community. Before long, he decided he had to go, too: “You could tell half the crowd was just like, ‘Ugh, you’re disgusting,’” he said of the June 8 meeting. “That was the board meeting where I was just like, ‘I’ve had it.’”
He penned a resignation letter to the library board on June 27, writing that despite his hard-earned qualifications, he felt reduced to just “the gay man of the library.”
“It hurts and I am disappointed,” he wrote.
I don't even know what to say about these things. It's happening in more than just these two places. Every so often I'll read my twitter feed and some librarian will have a thread about how Conservative Christians are threatening to defund their library.
I guess to a bunch who only believe one book matters...other books clearly don't.
And this story? This is just funny.
The Creationists at Answers in Genesis and Crosswater Canyon (the parent companies for the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, respectively) have filed a lawsuit against their insurance providers for not covering their losses for three months when they were forced to close due to COVID. They claim they are legally owed that money, despite no physical damage to the properties, because their insurance policies covered it.
In short, the insurers say the infectious disease provision doesn’t apply because there’s no evidence the places shut down due to a COVID outbreak among staffers (whether or not they ever caught it). More importantly, the “interruption by civil authority” provision doesn’t apply because the executive orders didn’t result in the “complete interruption” of operations which denied them access to the premises
:… If ministries are able to continue operations even partially, for example, by offering alternative access via video streaming or conducting e-commerce, they have not incurred a complete interruption of their operations.
That means churches that live-streamed their sermons and took donations online when they couldn’t hold in-person services or pass around a collection hat were also ineligible for recoveries. In the case of these Creationists, the insurers pointed out they were still doing business despite the shutdowns.
The court this case is in has not been open to re-imbursing businesses for COVID-19 claims, so we'll see what happens.
Of course too, these particular Creationists are not precisely known for winning cases. In 2019, Ark Encounter hilariously sued its insurance providers for not covering… rain damage. Both sides settled out of court in late 2020. Details of that settlement remain under wraps.
It’s also worth noting the Creationists didn’t exactly suffer during the pandemic. The Ark’s parent company, Crosswater Canyon, received between $1 million and $2 million from the Paycheck Protection Program. And Ham also raised over a million dollars in a separate fundraiser to offset COVID-related losses. If they were struggling, it wasn’t from a lack of funding. Hell, in June of 2020, when the Creation Museum was on the verge of reopening, Ham bragged about its “Multi-Million-Dollar Upgrade.
Yeah. It really doesn't sound like they're hurting at all.
Next Week: That Voice Again – A Conversation About Bereavement Hallucinations
Two Weeks: Road Tests
The movie starts with an orchestra tuning up
Once upon a time there was a guy named joe who had a very lousy job...
Everything that can go wrong from minute one of his day does.
Lots of surreal imagery all of which has one message: corporate America sucks.
American panascope: home of the rectal probe
A new generation of surgical tools
50 years of petroleum jelly
The revolving door imagery shoving him headlong into his workday
None of these people are happy
The Andy Dufresne moment – not freedom, but lament
The way to the main plant is this long, crooked path that a shot later we learn to be the company logo and this thing is ominous – looks like a foreboding all-seeing eye with a lightning bolt rending the whole thing in two.
Everyone seems to be walking around the daisy until... splat!
Where do these people work? The Death Star?
712765 “satisfied customers” - that's a lot of happy asses!
God damn it's dark in here!
Now it's 712776
Stephen Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy willingly put their names on this...
I know he can get the job... I'm not arguing that with you...
Mr. Waturi is such a pleasant individual – he's a total caricature of American middle-management. No real authority except what he manages to lord over his immediate subordinates.
This is why Nick Tortelli drank...
This office is basically a dungeon and half the ballists in the lights need replacing
The non-dairy creamer won't even mix into the vile coffee. I'm amazed they HAVE coffee.
Artificial testicle prototype
Everyone in this office is just in their own little world drowning out everyone and everything around them...
And Joe has this hideous lamp on his desk. It looks like it came from a 70s porn set...
Dede (Meg Ryan #1)
Joe doesn't even make enough money to get a decent pair of shoes
Now for the catalog controversy... and isn't that corporate america! “I want to make you assistant manager, but you're inflexible”
Joe has a doctor appointment
Nobody feels good – after childhood it's a fact of life
Joe is told to get rid of the lamp
I want those catalogs – then please order them
Why do you let Waturi talk to you like that? What's the matter with you? (Dede)
The Doctor's office is equally depressing
There is very little color in this world – or, more to the point, In Joe's world
Joe was a firefighter - he started “not feeling good all the time” so he had to quit.
Now Rod Steiger (Dr. Elliston) is about to solve a mystery for Joe...
The Brain cloud – it spreads fast and it is incurable
Doc gives him six months to live
Other than that he's a hypochondriac – doc says it was stress from being a firefighter
“I'm not sick except for this terminal disease”
I don't have any savings, I've spent everything I have on doctors
You have some life left... live it well.
And he immediately takes the advice
He goes back to work and lays into Waturi.
5 or 6 months work in 4.5 years
“I promise you, you'll be easy to replace...”
And then Joe snaps...
You look terrible, Mr. Waturi.You look like a bag of shit stuffed in a cheap suit. Not that anyone would look good under these zombie lights. I can feel them sucking the juice outta my eyeballs. Three hundred bucks a week, that's the news. For three hundred bucks a week I've lived in this sink. This used rubber. And why, I ask myself, why have I put up with you? I can't imagine but 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! You're lucky I don't kill you! You're lucky I don't rip your freakin' throat out! But I'm not going to and maybe you're not so lucky at that. 'Cause I'm gonna leave you here, Mister Wa-a-Waturi, and what could be worse than that?
He rage quits but before he leaves he asks Dede out and she says yes. Oh, and he takes a minute to try to straighten out that daisy...
So Joe and Dede go on their date and things go well.
Have you ever been scared?
At the moment, you're scaring me a little... and yet she seems to be having a good time
Joe says he feels great. “I wish I was where you are, Joe...”
Joe bribes the mariachi band at the restaurant to play a song that, by his own admission, is designed to get things to go a step further with Dede... a late night stroll overlooking the NY skyline, then back to his place... come on Joe, don't fuck this up... oh, never mind....
He tells her he's going to die and she freaks...
Dude, you need to save these details for... later.
Poor Joe... it was shaping up to be a good night. But, ya know...
So it's the next morning and someone is at the door. Joe puts down his ukelele and answers the door...
A crazy old man wants to come in and talk.
Samuel Graynamore – he knows everything about Joe. Recounts a story of him saving kids from a burning building. He even knows he quit his job...
What do you know about superconductors?
He owns a company that “dominates the world market” for superconductors.
And here's the pitch: this guy comes right out with it: he wants Joe to jump into a volcano.
There's an island in the South Pacific called Waponi Woo. The name means 'The Little Island With the Big Volcano.' The Waponis are a cheerful people who live a simple existence fishing in the lagoon and picking fruit. They have one fear. That's a big volcano, they call it The Big Woo. They believe an angry fire god in the volcano will sink the island unless, once every hundred years, he is appeased. It's been ninety-nine years, eleven months, and eleven days since the fire god got his propers and the Waponis are scared.
Can I pause here and just reflect on the name “The Big Woo” for a moment? I mean, that's what this is, isn't it? Nothing but a big roiling pit of woo...
How's the god appeased?
Of his own free will, a man's got to jump into the volcano. Now as you might imagine, none of the Waponis are anxious to volunteer for the honor of jumping into the Big Woo. And the problem is that whoever does it gotta do it of his own free will so what do you do?
What do you do?
You do some tradin'. There's a mineral on that island, Mr. Banks. It's called bubureau. I don't know anywhere else on the planet where you can find more than a gram of this stuff, and believe me I've looked. Because without bubureau I can't make my superconductors. I've tried to get the mineral rights from the Waponis, but I don't seem to have anything they want. But they do want a hero, Mr. Banks. And they'll give me the mineral rights if I find them one.
Why would I jump into a volcano?
From your exploits in the Fire Department, I think you've got the courage.
Does it take more guts to twice traverse a staircase in flames, or to make a onetime leap into the mouth of a smoking volcano? Damned if I know, kimosabe. All I know is when you're making those kind of calls, you're up in the high country. From your doctor, you know you're on your way out anyway. You haven't got any money. I checked. Do you want to wait it out here, in this apartment? That sounds kind a grim to me. It's not how I'd wanna go, I'll tell you that.
He hands Joe a stack of credit cards with his name on them...
These are yours if you take the job. It'd be twenty days from today before you'd have to actually jump in the Big Woo. You could shop today, get yourself some clothes, you know, for an adventure. Then tomorrow a plane to L.A. First class, naturally. You'll be met. Stay in the best hotel. Then the next day, you board a yacht. My competitors sometimes watch the airports. The yacht's a real beauty. It belongs to me. Gourmet chef. You sail to the South Pacific. Then, fifteen days. The Waponis come out to meet you, a total red carpet situation, you're a national hero. You're Charle Lindbergh. It's wine, women and song in the sweetest little paradise you ever saw. Then you jump in the volcano. Live like a king, die like a man, that's what I say!
All right. I'll do it.
So they have a deal.
And now Joe is going on this totally self-indulgent lap of luxury binge and his chauffeur has loads of advice.
This guy is really intense... he's asking Joe a lot of questions that Joe just doesn't hve concrete answers to. Simple stuff like “where do you want to go?” “I want to go shopping...” for what?” “I don't know...”
Then Marshall pulls over the car and says, “it's not up to me to tell you who you are...”
Seems a little abrupt but he's making a point. Joe's life, even now, is kind of lacking in direction He's stopped thinking too hard about his life because he knows it's going to end soon. So Marshall helps him figure some shit out and things become a little more decisive.
So Joe goes and buys some clothes... and a fuck ton of other shit. He's like Arthur... nine pairs of really expensive boxers... a nice haircut (and he needed one).... even buys Marshall an Armani tux. He buys a shaving kit, a short wave radio, an office putting practice green...
And of course... he needs luggage. The sales guy opens up these doors like he's about to enter the holy of holies and rolls out this really, really, really nice steamer trunk. Joe buys four. Then it's off to the Pierre Hotel
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.
And after a cozy night's rest, it's off to LA where we meet Meg Ryan #2 – Angelica. She's the doctor's daughter and self-proclaimed flibbertigibbet. She's been sent to meet him at the airport and she's holding up a sign with his name on it that looks like it was made by a kindergarten art class.
“It's a great town. It stinks but it's a great town.”
So now we're going to have dinner with Meg Ryan for the second time... and this version of her is just this side of sane...
“I have no response to that...”
She's a painter and a poet...
Now they're at some kind of makeout point and Angelica waxes poetic. Twice. With the same poem.
Did you ever think about killing yourself?
Joe is appalled which is ironic in the current climate of things...
Listen to me. If you have a choice between killing yourself and doing something you're scared of doing, why not take the leap and do the thing you're scared of doing?
You mean stop taking money and leave L.A.?
You see? You know what you're afraid of doing. Why don't you do it? See what happens?
Angelica is... a little unstable. Angry, defensive...
There's only so much time...
She basically throws herself at him but he doesn't take the bait. Just agrees to meet her for breakfast on their way to the boat.
Joe is doing what I would be doing – he's down by the shore, at night, contemplating life. And I've been in this spot a few times in my life, oddly enough.
Breakfast is a raucous affair...
Joe is literally dressed like Panama Jack and now it's time to meet Patricia. Meg Ryan #3.
Patricia calls Joe Felix and she does so for a good reason: “because I do what I want.”
But Joe is adamant about her using his real name and she relents. He gives Angelica a li'l peck and then they're off. And I love this boat. It's basically a windjammer and I love windjammers. This one is called the Tweedle Dee.
This whole bit is really idyllic right down to the music. Gorgeous sunset... nice dinner...
Now they're going to talk about the Waponi...
'Eighteen hundred years ago, a Roman galley with a crew of Jews and Druids, got caught in a huge storm off Carthage. They were swept a thousand miles off course, and ended up on the wrong side of the horn of Africa. Thinking they were returning to Rome, they sailed deep into the South Pacific, and finally ended by colonizing a lightly populated, Polynesian island which they named Waponi Woo. Thus was born the Waponi culture - a mixture of Polynesian, Celtic, Hebrew and Latin influences. The Waponis are known throughout Polynesia as having a peculiar love of orange soda and no sense of direction.
Then Joe asks: Why'd you talk to me so snotty back on the dock?
Because you work for my father. And I'm angry with my father. But he's not around to give him a shot. So you work for him, I give you a shot.
Why you angry with him?
Because he's never around.
If you're angry with him, and he's never around, why are you working for him?
I don't work for him. My transport of you is strictly a favor.
You do favors for people you're mad at?
I don't work for him!
He said he'd give me this boat if I took you.
He's got two of them. This is
The Tweedle Dee. There's a
Tweedle Dum, too.
Patricia apologizes for being rude earlier. She likes him. They make plans to do some fishing the next day. For now, it's pretty much time for lights out. Joe's quarters are below decks.
I love my sister. I know she's screwed up. I love my father, even though I never see him and he's not so great when I do see him. I'm very nervous about this trip. My father didn't tell me anything and you don't seem to be telling me anything. But it's more than that. I've always kept clear of my father's stuff since I got out on my own. Now he's pulled me backin. He knew I wanted thisboat and he used it and he got me working for him, which I swore I would never do. I feel ashamed because I had a price. He named it. And now I know that about myself. I don't know who you are. I don't know anything about you. But you're working for him, too, and that makes us two of a kind. I could treat you like I did back on the dock, but that would be me kicking myself for selling out. Which isn't fair to you and doesn't make me feel any better. I don't know what your situation is. But I wanted you to know what mine is. Not just to explain some rude behavior. But because we're on a little boat for a while and I'm soul sick and you're gonna see that. Like my sister. She's soul sick, too. And if you'd slept with her I would've known something about you. But you didn't. You didn't. I believe you.
I'm glad you believe me.
She's falling for this guy in very short form.
And now for a happy, dopey little scene where they engage in the aforementioned fishing and Joe reels in a hammerhead. Of course he freaks. Honey Bunny is having a great time with all of this. I think her name in this is Dagmar...
The boat has a small crew, just four people including Patricia.
And now for another deep convo between Patricia and Joe...
Are you used to this?
The ocean, the stars.
You never get used to it. Why do you think I want this boat? All I want to do is sail away.
Where would you go
Away from the things of man.
Do you believe in God?
I believe in myself.
What's that mean?
I have confidence in myself.
I've done a lot of soul searching lately. I've been asking myself some tough questions. You know what I've found out?
I have no interest in myself. I think about myself, I get bored out of my mind.
What does interest you?
I don't know. Courage. Courage interests me.
You're going to spend the rest of your life on a tiny island in the South Pacific?
She pours them both a drink.
Well, up till now I've lived on a tiny island called Staten Island, and I've commuted to a job in a shut up room with pumped in air, no sunshine, despicable people, and now that I've got some distance from that situation, that seems pretty unbelievable. Your life seems unbelievable to me. All this like life, seems unbelievable to me. Somewhat. At this moment.
My father says almost the whole world's asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says only a few people are awake. And they live in a state of constant total amazement.
They think about that for a while.
I have less than six months to live. The Waponis believe they need a human sacrifice or their island's going to sink into the ocean. They have a mineral your father wants. He's hired me to jump in their
You're not going to make me say that again, are you?
A silence falls.
Aren't you going to say anything?
I don't know what to say. You tell me you're dying, you tell me you're jumping into a volcano, my mind is a blank.
I can understand that
Is this disease catching?
She gets up. As she leaves she says:
Good night. I'll see you in the morning.
She's... a little put off
Next morning... there's a typhoon warning and the way this is shot is wicked hollywood and very overdone... like a lot of things in this movie.
What exactly is a typhoon?
Ya know, Joe... I think you're gonna find out...
And he does. They all do. The weather started getting rough and the tiny ship was tossed... Patricia is sending out distress calls... the crew is holding their positions... you have to admire them for that because, well, you only have a few more minutes TO admire them.
And in the middle of all of this, these two legit fall in love and there's a very hollywood “we've fallen in love” moment between them. Then Patricia gets hit by one of the masts and goes over. Joe goes in after her but he can't find her immediately. In this vast ocean, he finds her and pulls her to the surface. She's out cold.
The boat gets struck by lightning and the lightning bolt is in the same shape as the logo. The ship sinks, but that fuckin' luggage, man... Joe builds a raft out of the steamer trunks, one of which is already keeping Patricia from going under again. Those things were money well spent.
They're adrift on the sea. Patricia is still out. Joe keeps feeding her capfuls of perrier to keep her hydrated.
He uses the shortwave radio to see if he can figure out where they are but stops on some nice doo-wop music and decides dancing is a better solution than panicking. (The Del Vikings – Come and Go With Me). By all accounts a few days go by and Joe is making the best of the situation. Somehow his shaving kit was saved along with his ukulele. Those trunks, man...
He's doing a stellar job of looking after Patricia. Keeping her shaded, pouring perrier down her throat... I was seriously wondering if she was dead at this point but that just seemed a bit too macabre for this particular movie...
Then, in a slightly disappointing moment, Joe watches the moon rise in a very overwrought hollywood way and, unfortunately, he prays. But I kinda like what he says...
“Dear God, whose name I do not know, thank you for my life. I forgot how big... Thank you for my life.”
I can forgive this under the circumstances and because even if his delirious stammering what he says is kinda deep. The problem is that he's doing this the other way 'round from how most people do it. Usually you learn how big the world is and how big life is after you get over the idea of a god, but Joe is a product of his environment like all of us and I find it particularly interesting that he's terminally ill and doesn't blame god for it. He's mastered something that is a real enemy to religion and religious control, and that's a little thing called gratitude. After breaking free of that hideous job, knowing he's going to be dead soon, he takes a good look around and even when his situation seems particularly grim, he's thankful. Found this part very moving the first time I saw it.
Now, he's giving up for sure. Things aren't looking good here. Patricia is still out, he's giving her ALL the potable water they have and he is starting to succumb to the environment. But the next morning, Patricia wakes up and starts tending to him.
And in true Hollywood fashion, they have somehow been drifting toward the island the entire time. And in a way this makes sense seeing as the seas kinda directed the Waponi there, too...
They arrive to the great delight of the Waponi and the music is a reflection of their very hybrid culture. Their garb is a mix of extreme stereotypes and the Jump soda flows like water.
Now we get to meet Abe Vigoda and he's playing the same role he plays in everything. He's only ever refered to as the Big Chief and he carries his soul around in a voodoo doll.
The plan is laid out: there's going to be a big feast that night and then Joe is going to take his dive. Remember, they were supposed to be there a while ago but circumstance has sort of sped up the timeline. He's not going to have the three weeks he was supposed to have to enjoy the surroundings. The volcano is about to eruot and they have to do this tonight.
This next scene is like arrival at emerald city. Primping and pampering abound. Joe isn't digging it as much as Patricia.
Night falls and the ritual begins. Joe is dressed to the nines. He is dressed in his best and is prepared to go down as a gentleman.
I like the chief's speech in the script better than how they edited it in the movie...
Joe Banks. We are the children of children and we live as we are shown. Now a change has come. The Waponis like this soda, and no one among my people will jump into the Big Woo. They trade with this man, your father, for a hero. We have no hero-of our own. I am the Tobi. I cannot be the hero. It is my place to hope for my people. But the Woo calls and no one from among my people says, I will go to my end for the rest of you.
I have no people of my own, Chief. I'm my only hope for a hero.
Joe lets out his battle cry: TAKE ME TO THE VOLCANO!
And they do. And Patricia follows them. She's trying hard to catch up with him. The path to the volcano? That same crooked path we've seen before.
Don't do it! Please don't do it, Joe! I love you! I've fallen in love with you! I've never loved anybody! I don't know how it happened! And I've never even slept with you or anything and now you're going to kill yourself!
Joe pulls her to her feet. The Chief takes a step away,
to give them privacy.
You love me?
Yes, I love you! I can feel my heart! I feel like I'm going crazy! You can't die and leave me here on this stinking earth without you!
I've got to do it. I've wasted my whole life. And now I'm going to die. I've got a chance to die like a man and I'm going to take it! I've got to take it!
I love you!
I love you, too. I've never been in love with anybody, either. It's great. I'm glad. But the timing stinks.
He's about to jump... but then Patricia makes a request. She wants to get married. She calls over the Chief who marries them in the most unceremonious way possible then turns to the camera and makes his very Abe Vigoda exit.
The newly married Joe makes his way to the edge of the paltform and Patricia follows him...
No one knows anything. We'll take this leap and we'll see. We'll jump and we'll see.
What are we hoping for here?
They decide to jump together. We'll just jump and see what happens.
This scene was changed a bit from the script and I love how much.. better it makes the scene.
The volcano spits them out. They get catapulted back into the ocean where they watch the Big Woo crumble along with daddy's hope of harvesting any more mineral. Sadly it's also the end of the Waponi.
Joe says they're gonna drown, Patricia is more optimistic. Out of nowhere.... there's the fucking luggage. Again.
The brain cloud conversation...
Dr. Ellison... it gives Patricia pause...
Wherever we go, whatever we do, we're gonna take this luggage with us...
Watching this movie again after a lot of years, I seriously started to wonder if, maybe... just maybe... there was more depth to the messaging than I gave it credit for.
Let's start with Joe and his role in the plot. What was Joe to the Waponi? Well.. he was their savior, wasn't he? He was going to jump into that volcano of his own free will. His sacrifice was completely on him. He saw a need and decided to meet that need. Even knowing that it had everything to do with one person's selfish intent. But he saw two needs: he saw Graynamore's need to keep harvesting this mineral so his business could thrive and he also saw the fate of these people if he didn't take action. And it was the same kind of selflessness that he displayed as a firefighter. Joe's entire life (or at least the life he chose) was that of a savior already. So whether it's running into a burning building to save a family or jumping into a volcano to save an entire culture, he was beyond willing to do it.
But, in the end, the volcano rejected him. Why?
The message here, I think, is that you can't rely on other people to fix your problems. You can't just lay it all at the feet of an individual. You have to take responsibility. You hav to deal with reality. And the reality was that this volcano was going to swallow up the island and take all the people with it. None of the Waponi were willing to be their own people's paschal lamb even after being given multiple opportunities. And I found it comical that the chief gave them one last opportunity while their tuxedoed savior was standing there minutes from taking care of things himself.
The volcano didn't want a scapegoat. It wanted the Waponi to take responsibility for their situation and they didn't. They were too selfish and too scared. So they looked to an outsider – one who seemed neither selfish nor scared, and they laid the burden at his feet. Well... we know how that turned out.
I find Joe's anger as he rage quits his job to be a lot like how I felt the first time I rage quit God.
“I've been too chicken shit afraid to live my life so I sold it to you for three hundred freakin' dollars a week!”
Likewise, I was convinced that my life was unmanageble and I was, in a lot of ways, afraid to go it alone. So I sold it to Jesus and just went about the business of doing his bid while all the while knowing just how dismal the prospect was. And yes, I knew. I was anything but happy and I felt slighted. When Joe was met with the reality of his mortality, he stopped looking at the safety nets and figured out that things like happiness and contentment with life weren't unattainable. Lots of people have these kinds of epiphanies when they're diagnosed with terminal illnesses. I'm not at all a country music fan, but this song kinda did have an impact on me when I heard it. A little song called Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw. I could deal without the line about the Bible and faith, but I found it interesting how it changed the person's perspective on life so radically.
I went sky diving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying"
"Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying"
And this is kind of what Joe did. He had the chance to enjoy his last days and he jumped on it. Getting the diagnosis didn't make Joe a better person, but it did bring out the best of him in a lot of ways. His unwavering nonchalance through all of it was enough to make me wonder if he really “got” what was about to happen to him, but plenty of the lines in this movie confirm that he did. And even when shit turned completely sour he couldn't help thinking about Patricia before himself. He's perfect savior material, but there's no such thing as a perfect savior and acting the savior almost never works out in our favor. For Joe, however, it did and I think he deserved that acknowledgement from the Big Woo. For once, the savior was rewarded and the hapless sheep got their wake up call. I don't wish ill of people of faith but I sure don't see the bad in having them watch their faith crumble around them if that's the wake up call it takes to understand a thing or two.
So as a final takeaway here, take a few cues from Joe. Be selfless. Be a giver. Do good things for others. It has rewards you might not ever see. Be grateful for the life you have. There's no need to thank a deity for it; it's just kinda here and we have our lives despite the insurmountable odds that exist in this universe that, by all accounts, are completely hostile to our very existences. In the end, though, understand that you matter, too, and that in your efforts to do for others it's important to see to your own needs and wants once in a while. I'm glad that Joe found someone who was able to point out his value. I'm glad he found love. And I'm glad it wasn't just a 30 second marriage.
In the end, we all need to take Particia's advice when it comes to life, tough choices, and facing the unknown. Life does not grant us any guarantees. I think her words are kind of the foundation for Life 101: No one knows anything. Take the leap and see what happens. There is no peace or resolution of conflict in letting someone else make sacrifices on our behalf. We live within the structure of our situations and things can change drastically, either for the better, or for the worse, at any time. You can't guarantee a good future by saying a prayer and waiting to die. Nor can you escape death by letting someone else die for you.
We have to deal with the uncertainties and eventualities of life and we can't put the burden of our problems on other people's shoulders, not even a deity's. Because as the Waponi learned the hard way, it just doesn't work that way. And as Joe put it, wherever we go, we're taking this baggage with us. Forget any notion of someone or something saving you. Face life head-on, be grateful for the life you have, and deal with the raging volcanoes you face in life understanding that if YOU have the means to change your situation, it's YOU that needs to do it. Learning to think about life and the problems we face from that perspective gets things done. Moreover, it keeps us on the path to getting and staying unbound.