What Does “Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Mean?

Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown Meaning

Definition: Justice is impossible

Origin of Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown.

This expression is a quote from the movie Chinatown, from the year 1974.

In this quote, Forget it means don’t try to fix the problem because it is futile. Jake is just the name of the character that someone is speaking to at the moment in the movie. Chinatown represents any place that has corruption.

Examples of Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown.

quotes about Chinatown In this conversation, a mother and daughter are discussing the new dress code at the school.

Daughter: I need to go shopping for new clothes.

Mother: Why? I just bought you new clothes.

Daughter: I know, but our school just changed the dress code, and now none of my clothes adhere to the new rules.

Mother: What are the new rules? Your brother never had a dress code while he was at that school.

Daughter: There aren’t any rules for boys, but girls aren’t allowed to wear shorts anymore. The school administration says that girls’ shorts are too short.

Mother: That’s not fair! Your school doesn’t have air conditioning. They can’t force you to wear long, hot pants. I’m going to complain to the principal!

Daughter: Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown. They won’t change anything.

what does Chinatown mean In this example, two coworkers are discussing a new policy at the workplace.

Dave: Did you have to sign a non-compete clause today?

Ben: No, I don’t think so. What is that?

Dave: The company just started telling all the employees that they have to sign a new contract saying that if they resign, they aren’t allowed to work at any competing companies for 5 years!

Ben: That’s not fair at all! We should unite and fight against this. This has to be illegal.

Dave: It’s not illegal, and it’s too late. Most employees signed it already, and they are going to make the others sign it over the next two weeks.

Ben: I’m going to fight this.

Dave: Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown. The company doesn’t care about doing the right thing, and they are too powerful for you to win against them.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a book that examines the violent past of Los Angeles, similar to the movie Chinatown.

  • “Forget it Jake,” someone says to Jack Nicholson’s J.J. Gittes at the end of the most famous movie about Los Angeles crime, “It’s Chinatown.” John Mack Faragher’s “Eternity Street: Violence and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles” makes it clear that crime, corruption and murder thrived in the City of Angels long before it even had a Chinatown. –Chicago Tribune

This excerpt is about students who feel they suffer injustices at their school. The author altered the expression to fit the school.

Forget it, Jake: it’s Chapman Law School.

“The curriculum committee didn’t support our proposal, then they passed it over to the [law] faculty to vote,” Salazar says. “The group rejected our proposal.” –OC Register


The quote Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown. is a line from a movie that demonstrates the futility of trying to right a wrong in an uncaring and corrupt environment.