|Directed by||John Payson|
|Produced by||Bonni Lee|
|Written by||John Payson|
|Based on||Joe's Apt.|
by John Payson
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Peter Frank|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Joe's Apartment is a 1996 American musical-comedy film starring Jerry O'Connell and Megan Ward and the first film produced by MTV Films (then known as MTV Productions). The film was written and directed by John Payson, with computer-animated sequences supervised by Chris Wedge through Blue Sky Studios. It was the only MTV Films production not to be distributed by Paramount Pictures until the release of Eli , which was distributed by Netflix, but still had the involvement of Paramount.
The main focus of the story is the fact that, unbeknownst to many humans, cockroaches can talk, but prefer not to, as humans "smush first and ask questions later". They also sing (as they do many times in the movie) and even have their own public-access television cable TV channel. Actors providing the roaches' voices included Billy West (in his feature film debut), Jim Turner, Rick Aviles (in his final film role before his death), and Dave Chappelle.
Penniless and straight out of the University of Iowa, Joe (Jerry O'Connell) moves to New York needing an apartment and a job. With the fortuitous death of Mrs. Grotowski, an artist named Walter Shit (Jim Turner) helps Joe to take over the last rent controlled apartment in a building slated for demolition by convincing everyone that Mrs. Grotowski was Joe's mother. If Senator Dougherty (Robert Vaughn) can empty the building, he can make way for the prison he intends to build there, and uses thug Alberto Bianco (Don Ho) and his nephews, Vlad (Shiek Mahmud-Bey) and Jesus (Jim Sterling), to intimidate tenants.
Joe discovers he has twenty to thirty thousand roommates, all of them talking, singing cockroaches grateful that a slob has moved in. Led by Ralph (Billy West), the sentient, tune-savvy insects scare away the thugs in an act of enlightened self-interest that endears them to their human meal ticket. Tired of living on handouts from mom back in Iowa and after a series of dead-end jobs ruined by his well-intentioned six-legged roomies, Joe finds himself the unskilled drummer in Walter Shit's band. Hanging posters for SHIT, he encounters Senator Dougherty's daughter Lily (Megan Ward) promoting her own project, a community garden to occupy the vacant site surrounding Joe's building.
A gift to Lily while working on her garden is enough to woo her back to Joe's apartment, where the cockroaches break a promise to keep out of his business and a panicked Lily flees, only to discover the garden she'd worked on has been burned to the ground. During a fight with his roommates over his spoiled romantic evening, the building suffers the same fate as the garden. A mutual truce between our hapless and now homeless roommates leads the cockroaches to "call in favors from every roach, rat and pigeon in New York City" to try to make amends to Joe. Overnight, the roaches scour New York to gather materials to convert the entire area into a garden and take care of all the necessary paperwork to ensure harmony reigns over all.
John Payson originally created the short film Joe's Apt. in 1992, which aired on MTV as filler in-between commercial breaks. Payson said he was inspired by a 1987 short film called Those Damn Roaches and the 1987 Japanese film Twilight of the Cockroaches , the latter crossing hand-drawn animation and live action. After the short received a CableACE Award, MTV executives were impressed enough to discuss producing a feature adaptation with Payson. In 1993, MTV made a deal with Geffen Pictures during development to produce films based on the network's properties and release them through Warner Bros.. While Joe's Apartment was put into production with a $13 million budget, a feature film adaptation of Beavis and Butt-Head was also put into development.
Joe's Apartment was the first feature film Blue Sky Studios was involved in, having produced company logos and animated commercials before. Under Chris Wedge's supervision, Blue Sky produced computer-animated sequences of the cockroaches. However, the film also blended them with scenes of puppetry, real cockroaches, and stop-motion animation (including the TV roach porn). Executives at 20th Century Fox were impressed enough with Joe's Apartment to acquire Blue Sky, and eventually the studio became a feature-animation company.
Even with the enthusiastic billing as "MTV's first feature movie" and the support of the company, Joe's Apartment bombed when it opened on July 26, 1996. Opening to 1,512 theaters but earning a dismal $1.8 million, the film closed all screenings in the middle of August and finished with only $4.6 million. Warner sold distribution rights for later MTV Film productions back to MTV's parent company, Viacom, not long after.
Reviews were almost universally negative, mostly distaste at the blending of grimy gross-out gags and up-beat musical humor. Roger Ebert gave the film one star out of four, stating "Joe's Apartment would be a very bad comedy even without the roaches, but it would not be a disgusting one. No, wait: I take that back. Even without the roaches, we would still have the subplot involving the pink disinfectant urinal cakes."Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B+" on a scale of A+ to F. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a rating of 19% from 27 reviews with the consensus: "Audiences will want their security deposit back from Joe's Apartment, a lame comedy whose dancing cockroaches are more charming than the human characters."
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Jeremiah O'Connell, known professionally as Jerry O'Connell, is an American actor, director and talk show host known for his roles as Quinn Mallory in the television series Sliders, Andrew Clements in My Secret Identity, Vern Tessio in the film Stand by Me (1986), Joe in Joe's Apartment (1996), Frank Cushman in Jerry Maguire (1996), Derek in Scream 2 (1997), Charlie Carbone in Kangaroo Jack (2003), and Detective Woody Hoyt on the drama Crossing Jordan. He starred as Pete Kaczmarek in the single 2010–2011 season of The Defenders. He also had a starring role in the comedy horror film Piranha 3D (2010). Currently, he voices Commander Jack Ransom on the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks.
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Blue Sky Studios, Inc. was an American computer animation film studio based in Greenwich, Connecticut. The studio was founded in 1987 by Chris Wedge, Michael Ferraro, Carl Ludwig, Alison Brown, David Brown, and Eugene Troubetzkoy after their employer, MAGI, one of the visual effects studios behind Tron, shut down. Using its in-house rendering software, the studio had worked on visual effects for commercials and films before completely dedicating itself to animated film production. The studio's first feature, Ice Age, was released in 2002 by 20th Century Fox. Blue Sky produced 13 feature films, its final film being Spies in Disguise, released December 25, 2019.
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Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is a 1996 American animated comedy film based on the MTV animated television series Beavis and Butt-Head. Co-written and directed by series creator Mike Judge, the film stars the regular television cast of Judge with guest performances by Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Robert Stack, and Cloris Leachman. The film centers on Beavis and Butt-Head trying to find their stolen television, but later end up traveling across the country in an attempt to "score".
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Because of their long, persistent association with humans, cockroaches are frequently referred to in art, literature, folk tales and theater and film. In Western culture, cockroaches are often depicted as vile and dirty pests. Their size, long antennae, shiny appearance and spiny legs make them disgusting to many humans, sometimes even to the point of phobic responses. This is borne out in many depictions of cockroaches, from political versions of the song "La Cucaracha" where political opponents are compared to cockroaches, through the 1982 movie Creepshow and TV shows such as The X-Files, to the Hutu extremists' reference to the Tutsi minority as cockroaches during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and the controversial cartoons published in the "Iran weekly magazine" in 2006 which implied a comparison between Iranian Azeris and cockroaches. In Dutch Soccer the term "kakkerlakken" is used as a colloquial, often derogatory term for the supporters of Feyenoord.
Twilight of the Cockroaches is a 1987 anime/live-action film written and directed by Hiroaki Yoshida that combines live-action footage with animation. The plot concerns a society of cockroaches who live peacefully in the apartment of a bachelor named Seito, until a woman moves in and the humans begin to exterminate the cockroaches. The cockroaches are depicted through animation, and the humans are depicted through live-action footage. Famed Japanese illustrator Yoshitaka Amano worked on the film as an art director and character designer.
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Events in 1993 in animation.
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