New to the Netflix lineup but made in 2013 and nothing but a good time from start to finish, Big Ass Spider! is an arachnophobe’s nightmare.
Directed by Mike Mendez and written by Greogory Gieras, Big Ass Spider! simply wins because of its name. Even if it sucked, that’s an excellent title.
Basic plot: The government fails to contain a spider that got to be the size of a football field because they are developing weapons grade houseplants or something. I didn’t pay too much attention to that part. I was doing something else.
Pest control, lovable guy Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg) chases it from a hospital as the spider takes on mass and victims accompanied by Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar), the hospital security guard.
Boyar has the best lines in the movie. I’m not sure if they were scripted or he’s just the best adlibber out there but either way, awesome.
The military shows up to correct their snafu but Alex knows spiders because that’s his jam – he even speaks spider – and things are weird for a Los Angeles pest control guy on the daily so it’s plausible enough for a movie plot.
Grunberg (Heroes, Star Trek, Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife) and Boyar (Happy Feet, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) are excellent together. I always enjoy Grunberg. He takes the regular Joe gig and makes us remember him. And that’s talent.
But Boyar is the one stealing the show here. He steps right up to those stereotypes and knocks them out of the park. Together, though, Boyar and Grunberg are a thing of beauty. Their elevator scene is one of my favorites.
There’s the obvious cheesiness that goes along with a film called Big Ass Spider! but we like that cheese on our Netflix streaming sammich. And they probably didn’t have the dough to make the spider less CGIy at times. But again, who cares. It’s a fun movie.
Especially when the spider grows to the size of a double wide and plows through Elysian Park goers in one stabby, web-throwing munch fest. That’ll teach those Angelenos to not have jobs and hang out at the park on a weekday. I guess I shouldn’t be so judge. Maybe they were freelancers. Maybe they just got laid off. Maybe it was a weekend. Whatever the case, the takeaway here is that there are more dangerous things in LA than the pollution and high rents.
I especially enjoyed the locals from the toughest neighbors challenging the spider. “If I see that big ass spider, I’m going to whoop its ass!” Says a wannabe YouTube star who also throws in a shout out to Alabama local news sensation Antoine Dodson with a, “Hide your wife. Hide your kids” bit. And that’s probably exactly what would happen in Los Angeles. No matter how big you are, ain’t nobody got time for that here.
Western Exterminator Company, a real SoCal company, gets a huge plug throughout the film as Alex chases and gets chased by the giant arachnid. Besides showcasing the logo and weird undertaker in a top hat icon with a hammer behind its back (Little Man as Western calls him), the company’s name is dropped several times in very on-the-nose ways. It’s a hilarious way to do product placement. And I approve. Plus, the producers probably got free use of a Western truck. Or at least a deep discount.
The rest of the cast is a mix bag of low budget A-listers and unknowns who shine more than the recognizable faces. Bob Bledsoe (Midgets V. Mascots, Black Lewis Is Shitting In My Bathroom and Dystopia) is subtly awesome as hospital director Harris and much more enjoyable for me than Ray Wise (Twin Peaks). Don’t get me wrong. It’s a better world with Ray Wise in it. But he basically shows up in everything just to be Ray Wise. But that’s okay, Ray. You were Laura Palmer’s dad.
Big Ass Spider! is one of those films you put on when your more eclectic friends come over to hang. That group that’s seen all of the weirdest titles from RoboGeisha to Lair of the White Worm and you’re trying to impress them with the most random stuff you can find. Big Ass Spider! will be a hit with this crowd.
There is something very satisfying about seeing a giant spider attack the City Hall and other downtown landmarks. And skewering hot girls as they run from their volleyball game.