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Where does Pompeii stack up against other volcano movies?

Volcano movies occupy an active subgenre within our collective obsession for disaster films. Where will Pompeii, opening this week, stack up? Perhaps it will win a future volcano movie award. Dave McGinn hands out the first annual batch.

Most romantic

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

In the first of his romantic comedies with Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks stars as a man with a terminal illness who’s paid to jump into a volcano. But you know what’s more powerful than a volcano? Love. Actually, not really. But Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks’s chemistry? Look out, volcano.

Most apocalytpic

2012 (2009)

Usually in volcano movies the disaster is bad, but caused only by a single volcano. Get away from it and you’ll be safe. But nothing is usual when you’re dealing the the doomsday predictions of the Mayan calendar. What if there were volcanic eruptions everywhere? Duuuuuuuuude, crazy.

Best volcanologist

Dante’s Peak (1997)

A volcanologist, as you may have guessed, is someone who studies volcanoes. How do you make someone with that amazing job even more amazing? Make them James Bond. Pierce Brosnan took a break from 007’s spy duties to save a town in this action movie that featured some explosions that were clearly firecrackers going off.

Best offscreen controversy

Stromboli (1950)

Ingrid Bergman sent a letter to Roberto Rossellini saying how much she admired the director’s work and that she wished to make a movie with him. The result was this one, about a woman who needs to escape the Italian volcanic island of the title. The actress and director conceived a child out of wedlock during production, and the affair saw Bergman denounced on the U.S. Senate floor.

Most ridiculous

Airplane vs. Volcano (2014)

First came Sharknado, then Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus. Now The Asylum, the studio behind both of those mockbusters, has concocted this piece of over-the-top gold, starring Dean Cain and Robin Givens. It doesn’t come out until late March, but it’s clearly deserving of the award for Best Ridiculousness. Obviously.

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