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Creature Feature Wednesdays: Taking a chance with a 'Big Ass Spider!'

We may be approaching the Fourth of July weekend—aka Jaws weekend—but let’s take a break from the water and throw some love at one land-loving arachnid, endearingly called Big Ass Spider!.

Director Mike Mendez (The Gravedancers and the forthcoming Lavalantula) takes an age-old creature-feature premise (giant bug attacks humans), casts a bunch of his real-life friends, and manages to craft one incredibly solid and unexpected trip in Big Ass Spider!. As enjoyable (or not) as they may be while you watch them, many creature features fall to the wayside. But Big Ass Spider! sticks around, begging you to retake that trip again and often. And we’re happy to oblige.

Now, on to the highlights!

Our hero(es)

The gist of the plot is standard fare. A “special” spider escapes from the military’s clutches, constantly grows in size, and wreaks havoc on Los Angeles. In the end, the government guys must team up with one very cool exterminator, Alex (Greg Grunberg, Heroes), and his security-guard sidekick, Jose (Lombardo Boyar, Murder in the First), to defeat the now Big Ass Spider!. Totally doable Syfy-esque plot, right?

Sure, but Syfy doesn’t have Alex and Jose. For two atypically heroic guys, this duo gets it done right—and shares the best just-found relationship. And—bonus!—it’s like a fun road trip for the viewers, watching Alex and Jose hatch plans, exchange comical dialogue, and become friends. They are the key to this movie’s success.

Big Ass Spider! - Jose and Alex

And the rest of the cast

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Big Ass Spider!‘s supporting cast, featuring horror icon Lin Shaye (Insidious), and the super-cool, super-malleable Ray Wise (Twin Peaks). The movie has even thrown in one big baddie from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Clare Kramer, aka Glorificus. Kramer worked on another Mike Mendez film, The Gravedancers, plus something else (see the Fun Facts below).

Big Ass Spider! - Clare Kramer and Ray Wise

The pace

At a crisp 80 minutes, Big Ass Spider! buzzes by. Because it’s not made-for-TV, there are no allotted commercial breaks, which can often muddle a film’s pacing—or make it painfully obvious that THERE SHOULD BE A COMMERCIAL HERE. Instead, we get one smooth, fast film—chock-full of all the eight-legged carnage and one-liners we desire.

Big Ass Spider!

Fun facts

  • The movie was originally called Dino Spider—and then Mega Spider. See EW’s 2013 interview with Mike Mendez for additional tidbits!
  • CAMEO: Celebrated B-movie director Lloyd Kaufman (Troma Entertainment) makes an appearance as a jogger. Spoiler: The spider gets him.
  • Mike Mendez is a part of this year’s upcoming anthology film Tales of Halloween. And according to IMDb, Clare Kramer and Greg Grunberg costar as—wait for it—their characters from Big Ass Spider!! Who’s excited for a semi-sequel?

View the trailer for Big Ass Spider! below:

Tips for viewing: With the exception of a few, these movies are not masterpieces. Don’t view them as such. Don’t take them seriously. Watch them with friends and create your own commentary—on the acting, editing, bad choices, etc. And remember—have fun!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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