Every once in a while, a movie comes along that seems too good to be true. How could the former pro wrestler Edge be starring in a movie about a flying casino that also features Kelsey Grammer playing a Scarface-like villain? But Money Plane is real. And after seeing the movie over the weekend, some Ringer staffers chatted about its glory, its Grammer-ness, and whether it qualifies as a Good Bad classic.
1. What is your tweet-length review of Money Plane?
David Shoemaker: If The Fast and the Furious and Sharknado had a baby and put it up for adoption and it was taken in by the Lawrence family and raised as the younger brother of Joey, Matthew, and Andrew.
Alan Siegel: It’s The Room meets Snakes on a Plane. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.
John Gonzalez: A quote from my wife, who had no advanced warning we were watching this movie or that it even existed: Is this The Fast and the Furious … but with Kelsey Grammer?
Miles Surrey: I’m quitting my job to become Kelsey Grammer’s Oscars campaign manager.
2. What was the best moment of the movie?
Shoemaker: Thomas Jane showing up on set with a pipe he bought at a flea market the day before and insisting that it was central to his character. OK, that wasn’t a moment in the movie, but it definitely happened and is my favorite thing to think about. If I have to pick something that’s actually in the movie, it’s Kelsey Grammer in the empty, backlit storefront.
Siegel: My top two: (1) When Edge fights the beefy, 6-foot-6 pilot in a cockpit and (2) the appearance of Al Sapienza, who played Mikey Palmice in The Sopranos.
Surrey: A tie between Kelsey Grammer calling Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock a “bunch of bitches,” and Kelsey Grammer explaining to WWE’s Edge what happens on a Money Plane—which apparently includes being able to bet on, quote, “a dude fucking an alligator.”
Gonzalez: Where to even begin? What is supposed to be a super secret Money Plane is found at a location called ... Money Plane Terminal. Edge’s “guy in the chair” calls abort and pulls out a physical floor plan while wearing a Motorola headset from 2004. Joey Lawrence is in it. And so is Andrew Lawrence. And so is Matthew Lawrence. All of the Lawrences. There are, inexplicably, curtains everywhere all the time. And all of this happens because, yup, Edge has to do one last job. So you ask me what’s the best moment and it’s honestly hard to pick. (Obviously it’s Kelsey Grammer growling, “You want to bet on a dude fucking an alligator?”)
3. What was your least favorite part of the film?
Siegel: That it wasn’t even 90 minutes long.
Gonzalez: I think they could have said the words “Money Plane” a few more times.
Surrey: Watching Thomas Jane, who spent the last few years on my beloved The Expanse, bring as much enthusiasm to this movie (read: none) as Jay Cutler during most of his NFL career.
Shoemaker: Listen, you turn on the movie and within two minutes you get the score on Kelsey Gammer—he’s not really in the movie, he just got paid to shoot for an hour. Same for Denise Richards, same for Thomas Jane. And that’s fine. But the worst moment as a serious Edge fan is when Edge takes over the cockpit and you realize EDGE isn’t even really part of the main cast either. This is a Patrick Lamont Jr.–Katrina Norman vehicle! Frankly, I’m not sure why they didn’t just make the Lawrence brothers the stars, but honestly, by the time Edge started piloting the plane I was beyond caring. In a good way.
4. The all important question: Is Money Plane good bad, or just bad bad?
Siegel: Good bad, because it flew me away from the bad bad real world for (almost) an hour and a half.
Surrey: This is actually a tricky one. There is a lot of Money Plane that is straight-up bad: They ruin a campy premise by not doing anything remotely interesting on the titular Money Plane (why cast a WWE star if he spends most of the run time alone in a cockpit?!). And only Grammer really seems to grasp that this is just dumb as hell and find the sublime state of good badness. On the other hand, maybe that’s enough. I would watch the shit out of a Grammer Cut.
Shoemaker: Money Plane is something else entirely: bad good bad. But it’s a feel-good bad good bad, so that makes it a lot better.
Gonzalez: As part of his cover, Edge’s character decides, “I’m gonna take on the persona of a Mr. Philip Monroe. He is an infamous human trafficker, but he did all his business digitally so no one knows what he looks like.” And then when he sits down to play a regular-ass game of Texas Hold’em on Money Plane—inexplicably deciding not to bet on the alligator fucking—he asks “do you know who I am?” and everyone at the table immediately goes, “Oh yeah, you’re that human trafficker who does all his business digitally.”
If that’s not Hall of Fame good bad, I don’t know what is. I’m genuinely angry at myself for renting this movie instead of buying it.
5. What does Money Plane do to your opinion of Kelsey Grammer?
Shoemaker: He drops a little in the eye test but if you look at the stats, his per-minute numbers actually shot up.
Surrey: Enhances it. The man has terrible politics, but he is a thespian.
Siegel: I love the fact that he chose to be in this movie, and he looked like he was having fun doing his Sideshow Bob–meets-Scarface thing.
Gonzalez: Early on, Grammer’s character, Darius Emmanuel Grouch III, delivers the following speech. The notes I jotted down during it are included in brackets:
“There is a legend in the underworld, for those in the know …”
[Do it, Kelsey. Don’t hold back.]
“... it’s called the [Yes.] Money [YES.] Plane [YESSSSSSSS!]”
I think you know how I feel about Kelsey Grammer after this movie.
6. Rank the best acting performances by professional wrestlers.
1. André the Giant, The Princess Bride
2. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, They Live
3. Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Predator
4. Dave Bautista, Guardians of the Galaxy
5. John Cena, Blockers
Surrey: John Cena and Dave Bautista are in a tier of their own: Cena’s been on a solid run since his hilarious turn in Trainwreck, and Bautista is as proficient in comedies (he often steals the show in Marvel movies) as he is in more dramatic roles (legitimately great in Blade Runner 2049). They have more than a slight edge over … Edge.
Shoemaker: The top-of-my-head Top 10 (no order):
Roddy Piper, They Live
André the Giant, The Princess Bride
The Rock, Hobbs & Shaw
Kola Kwariani, The Killing
Jesse Ventura, Predator
Dave Bautista, Blade Runner 2049
Hulk Hogan, No Holds Barred
Edge, Money Plane
Terry Funk, Road House
John Cena, F9 (I’m assuming.)
7. If there were to be a sequel to Money Plane, what sort of vessel should it take place on?
Siegel: The Concorde is resurrected for one final New York–to-Paris flight, during which the cast engages in a high-stakes poker game. Whoever has the most chips at the end lives—the rest don’t.
Gonzalez: Money Shuttle. It’s a space heist movie. The Lawrences better hurry on this idea.
Shoemaker: Obviously the right answer is a SpaceX rocket, but I’d rather go the prequel route and put Edge and Kelsey Grammer’s great-grandfathers on a riverboat.
Surrey: “It’s called a Money Sub. Some of the baddest motherfuckers on the planet are on that submarine, all craving action. Whatever you wanna wager on, the Money Sub has you covered. You wanna bet on a dude fucking a shark? Money Sub.”