Joe's Apartment

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There is one thing that matters—to set a chime of words tinkling in the minds of a few fastidious people.
Logan Pearsall Smith
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Joe's Apartment is a 1996 film about a recent college graduate who moves into an apartment inhabited by thousands of talking cockroaches.


  • (thinking about a letter he wants to write) Dear Mom, I arrived in New York, safe and- (a mugger jumps out from behind a bus, beats up Joe and takes some of his belongings) Dear Mom, I arrived in New York- (another mugger a short distance away does the same thing) Dear Mom- (a third mugger points a gun at Joe's head) please send money!
  • (finding a cockroach on a half-eaten sandwich) That is the biggest, greasiest bug I've ever seen. (The cockroach flies off and Joe shrugs before taking a bite out of the sandwich)
  • (trying to find the address where he is assigned to collect urinal cakes) East 161st Street and River Avenue? East 161st Street and River Avenue! (he finds it only to realize it's Yankee Stadium)

Walter Shit

  • I need you to fill in for my drummer this Saturday. He's dead.
  • (after Joe fails to impress anyone with his drumming skills) I'm sorry, there's not gonna be any rock n roll tonight. This is all that's left! This is all that's left of the rolling thunder of America's heartbeat!
  • A rent-controlled apartment is one where the rent's been frozen since like the forties. But places like that are hard to find because no one ever leaves them. Unless their landlord's give them a little help.

Ralph Roach

  • Your apartment? I believe we were here first. And we'll be here last too. We've gotta long-time lease on this planet.
  • Giving up?! What made roaches outlast the dinosaurs? Because roaches never give up! They can stomp us, they can chomp us, but they'll never ever stop us! And one day, the Grade-X bomb's gonna drop, and we'll have the whole stinkin' planet to ourselves!
  • (trying to distract a cat with a comedy act) Anyone hear from Jersey? What exit? Bada-bing!


Roach: (comes out of the pocket of Joe's shirt holding a condom) I think you'll be needing one of these, Joe! (Joe hastily pushes the roach and condom back down)


Walter Shit: The only way you're gonna get a rent-controlled apartment is if it's your mom's and she croaks! Hi, Mrs Grotowski! (Mrs. Grotowski has a heart attack and throws her keys, which land in Joe's hand) Joe! This is perfect! Mrs Grotowski doesn't have any kids. If you pretend to be her son, you can take her apartment.

Joe: I can't do that!

Walter Shit: (faking grief) Joe, it's your mom! And she's dead!

(Joe walks out of the apartment building wearing a suit for a job interview. Suddenly, a bucket of paint drops on top of him.)

Walter Shit: Congratulate me. This is the first of my works of art to involve paint.

Joe: But Walter, people are white or black or brown! NOT PURPLE!

Walter Shit: It's periwinkle!

Joe: Walter, I have a job interview to go to. I can't show up like this.

Walter Shit: I need a favor, can you play the drums?

Joe: No.

Walter Shit: Good. I need you to fill in for my drummer this Saturday. He's dead.

Joe: Dead?

Walter Shit: Yeah, it's actually a funny story. You see what happened- (a thief runs in front of them, turns and fires a handgun, drowning out Walter's story while Joe watches in shock) So then- (two cops chasing the thief run up and start firing down the street at him, drowning out the rest of the story as Walter finishes laughing) I'm gonna miss that guy.

(After Joe unsuccessfully tries killing the roaches)

Ralph: (pointing a can of bug spray at Joe's face while he's tied down) Any last words, Joe?

Joe: Don't kill me.

Ralph: (Disappointed) Those are your last words, Joe?