Mega Millions: Top 10 Movie Tales About the Good/Bad of Winning a Load of Cash

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The Mega Million jackpot is currently up to the obscene and unprecedented amount of $500 million and the most anticipated lottery drawing in years is happening on Friday. (We'll wait for you to run to the gas station and buy a ticket.) Now that you've returned with your quick picks and delusions of grandeur, we should tell you that your odds are slim, one in 176 million slim. Don't despair, though, there is nothing wrong with doing a little fantasizing about all the things you will do once you win. You might think that the first thing you'll do is tell your boss to shove it, but in a poll done of New Zealand lottery winners, 90 percent went right on working. Lame.

Winning the lottery won't just affect you, but your family and the people around you. Extended family will come out of the woodwork to get a piece of the action. Watch out for those 428 Facebook "friends" you have, 420 of them will soon need a loan.

Although it may not happen to everyone, sometimes coming into a lot of money may turn you evil. If we've learned anything from Biggie Smalls, it's that for some, "mo money" equals "mo problems," while for others it's a lifetime of happiness. Then there's Rodney Dangerfield, who, money or no money, just wants some respect.

Whether it makes their lives a wonderful happy land or a total disaster, here are our top 10 movies about being wooed by the dolla' dolla' bill, y'all.

10. Brewster's Millions

Here's the deal, you can take a million dollars right now or you have to spend 30 million in 30 days and then you will receive 300 million. Seems like an easy enough choice. Before you get too excited, though, there are some serious rules as to how you can spend the money such as at the end of the 30 days not having any possessions other than what you started with. Now pretend that you are Richard Prior and nothing ever goes your way (the guy set himself on fire whilst freebasing), would you still try for that 30 mil? Of course you would and

Brewster's Fortune

is the wonderfully hilarious story of how to literally throw money away.

9. It Could Happen To You

It Could Happen To You

is one of those few films where someone comes into a lot of money and uses their powers for good. Nick Cage, a nice-guy cop, promises half his earnings from a lottery ticket in lieu of a tip to his waitress, Bridget Fonda. Oh yeah, we do this all the time at Freebirds. "I don't have any change for a tip. I'm sorry. But if I win the lottery tomorrow, I'll split it with you. Can you check my Fanatic Points?" The difference between Cage and us is that he holds his word and gives a share of his winnings to Fonda as well as giving her some of his heart. Aww.

8. Lottery Ticket

While we won't say we've seen this movie, we will make some wildly uneducated guesses about it. Firstly it stars Bow Wow (no longer Little at this point), so right off the bat we know it's a going to be a winner. By the description we've learned that Bow Wow has just won $370 million and once his nosy and money-grubbing neighbors find out, nothing short of hilarity will ensue. Ice Cube is in it too, by the way.

7. Easy Money

Okay, here is another test that will result in money for you. You have to give up all hard-partying, drinking, gambling, eating junk and smoking for a year and if you do, you will receive the hefty sum of 10 million smackers. Piece of cake, you say? What if you are Rodney Dangerfield and drinking and eating Cheetos are your lifeblood? Naturally, the year is quite a struggle for the guy who gets no respect, but watching him attempt to gain "said respect" is always a good time. Give up wine for a year? I don't know if anything is worth that.

6. Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave

, which marked the directorial debut of Danny Boyle, is a suspenseful little thriller about a group of roommates who find their new roommate dead, and he has left a suitcase full of cash. How does one act in such a situation? Well, in this film, the roommates smash in the dead guy's teeth and saw off his fingers and feet so that he cannot be identified. Then they plot out what to do about him and his money. This is one of those movies where cash, and even just the prospect of it, turns three friends into total psychos, hell-bent on getting their hands on the money at all costs. Just split it, bros.

5. Lucky Numbers

You think you can get away with rigging the lotto? Well, you might be able to, we don't know anything about that, but what we do know is that John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow in the film Lucky Numbers couldn't do it. That's not saying very much, though. The brief premise of this film is that two idiots try and scam the lottery system, and they are wearing sunglasses.

4. If I Had A Million

If I Had A Million is a classic, 1930s film about seven individuals who randomly inherit a million dollars from a dying tycoon who picks them out of the phone book. It is every living person's dream. One day someone shows up at your door and gives you a big check, be it Publishers Clearing House or a lawyer. Each of the seven characters has their own vignette directed by a different director, featuring completely different ways the million is spent. Our absolute favorite is that of W.C. Fields, who, annoyed with "road hogs" gumming up the highways, buys cars and purposely smashes them into bad drivers. Every time we drive on 59 we daydream that we could do this.

3. Waking Ned Devine

The reclusive, off-putting guy in your town just happens to have won the lottery and when you swing by his house to congratulate him, you find him dead. What to do? Pull an all-out, Weekend at Bernie's-style fabrication to make the claims official think the guy is alive and well. Anyone of us would do the same.

2. The Ticket

The Ticket sounds like the greatest concept for a Lifetime Original Movie, but it was actually a USA original. It stars Shannen Doherty and James Marshall (A Few Good Men). A lottery is won, a wife is scorned, and there is an unstable husband and a plane that goes down in the snowy woods...on purpose! Excuse us while we spend the next two hours trying to track this movie down.

1. A Simple Plan

Here's the thing, if you and some of your pals happen upon a crashed plane in the woods and it's filled with millions of dollars in unmarked bills, split it up right then and there. What are you waiting for? Hide the money in your house for a few months and then move to Belize. Don't leave the money there and become increasingly suspicious of everyone around you. What will wind up happening is deceit and murder, and that is exactly what happens in the brilliantly complicated A Simple Plan. No one is safe in this film, not even Bridget Fonda.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.