Comically awful films are the equivalent of junk food for cinephiles across the globe. You know the ingredients are unhealthy and consuming it is inadvisable, but the combination proves too tempting and delicious. The most famous film of this nature is The Room, an amalgamation of abominations at every turn. As if under a spell though, the audience embraces the ever expanding list of horrible filmmaking — instead choosing to laugh, perhaps even at its expense.
I recently viewed a film not as glorious as The Room, but one that approached a similar level of infamy for me. The picture in question is Money Plane, released in July of 2020 to grace televisions through on-demand streaming, and is currently available on Hulu.
Money Plane suffers most from its clearly low budget. This limit harshly constrains the extravagant idea the film sets out to accomplish, that being an Ocean’s Eleven-esque casino heist on an internationally hidden aircraft. With this large scale concept in mind, the film’s many pieces — the set, camera work, writing, acting, and production — all fall far short of its aspirations.
So, the movie is confirmed bad. The lines cause cringe, shots are tight to hide the low budget sets, the story makes little sense, and the acting is cheesy at best. Even with all these apparent reasons one should NOT want to watch this film, I can wholeheartedly recommend Money Plane, albeit with an asterisk.
The self-subjection of watching this film must be contained within the context that the film is not good, and the viewing is for purposes other than witnessing a fine piece of cinema. Instead, the viewing is an exploration of the symptoms caused by filmmakers with big dreams and low means.
Money Plane achieves hilarity seemingly on accident; a comedy whose intention was high octane heist drama. That being said, the film never takes itself too seriously, often feeling somewhat self aware of its shortcomings. The main villain, played by Kelsey Grammar of Frasier fame, exudes this concept of tightrope-walking the line between hamming it up and playing it serious.
Grammar gives life to comically rich and powerful Darius Emmanuel Grouch III, also known as “The Rumble.” This is almost a direct quote and introduction Darius Grouch gives the protagonist, a person that given the story’s context Grouch already has history with and has no reason to introduce himself. Grammar seems to enjoy playing the walking cliché that is The Rumble, and absolutely gives the best performance.
A characteristic I noticed Money Plane has in common with other hilariously poor films is its rewatchability. Even on my third viewing of Money Plane I still discovered tiny awkward and hysterical moments I missed on my previous watches. This phenomenon occurs because there are always multiple things going wrong in each scene, and your brain can only recognize so much, leaving plenty more to laugh at the next time you watch it.
One humorous piece pointed out to me during my second viewing was the music, which sounds like it is public domain and just slapped on wherever. At one point, I was convinced I heard a guitar riff that accompanies the end of awkward scenes from Full House.
In fact, Money Plane shares a lot of the same D.N.A. as television shows, the music being only one particular gene. Almost all shots feel simply functional like a television show’s shots may feel, lacking in any cinematic style entirely. Conversations flow boringly from one profile shot to another following along with the horrendous exposition crammed dialogue.
This film is the epitome of “tell don’t show,” the opposite of screenwriting dogma. After all this garbage, the film comes out like fertilizer. It may smell and look like crap, but it has plenty of value if you need it to. I’d recommend Money Plane to anyone who can enjoy bad things for being bad.
Written by Damon Rios
Damon is an amateur writer and professional media consumption artist. Movies, music, games, and books are all on the table. He is working towards a bachelor’s in communications and hopes to go professional in any writing capacity. As stated, Damon’s habits rotate from music consumption, to movie consumption, and everything in between.