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Heh, allow me to put in a good word for J.P. Shanley's "Joe v. The Volcano." First, because it allows me to shill my blog, The Big Woo ( I named it after the Volcano.

Second because it really is a very smart and funny Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic-action-comedic-allegorical extravaganza. I have not seen "Doubt" but I think he displayed what you admire in it even then (1990). Simple plot conceit that gets everything going in the right direction; recurring, themes, ideas and images that tie all the various beats together neatly; and a rather goofy sensibility that ultimately speaks to something deeper about the human condition. At the risk of offending the Ephronites (sorry), I prefer it to either of their later film pairings. Nora, alas, is not on my romcom dais. But that's what makes a market, as they say.


Chris, I'm sure that's generally true. I liked a lot about "Joe"; the difference is, that's a wild comedy that gets pretty far out there, whereas 15 years later, Shanley's really cutting his craft to the bone and playing strict with the rules of realistic drama. As for Nora, I think HARRY was her "lightning in a bottle," and I've had issues with everything she's written since.

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