Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
Today was supposed to be all about Ti West’s latest movie, The Sacrement. I was already a huge fan of the director’s work from The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, both of which I thought were subtle and smart. I expected more of the same from The Sacrament. For at least the first hour, I was convinced I was getting it. I even texted a friend to be all, “Ti West finally broke out of his comfort zone and did a different kind of movie, and it’s good!” But then I realized the whole movie boils down to one of the sloppiest, most haphazard mashups of found footage and mockumentary I’ve ever seen. The story has literally nothing to say that every movie about religious cults hasn’t already said in every way possible. So fuck that movie.
Instead, why not have some fun with Big Ass Spider? (Netflix) Is it a perfect movie? Of course not. There are seams. You can tell it’s stretching its modest budget pretty thin, what with the 60′ spider crushing downtown Los Angeles and all. I listened to an interview with the director of this movie, Mike Mendez. He explained that they were able to get such high quality CG (perhaps not quite studio quality but way better than Syfy Channel shit) on the cheap by farming it out to a company in India. And now you know that.
Greg Grunberg (the chubby cop from Heroes) is really charming and he could totally still have a movie career if he lands the right opportunity. I love that he’s the lead in Big Ass Spider instead of some chiseled Casper Van Dien knockoff. Sure, we all love protagonists who can barely speak in full sentences but have rock hard abs. Alls I’m saying is it’s refreshing to see an ordinary schlub like the rest of us kill the spider and get the girl.
Added bonus: Ray Wise is in this movie, and he is of course super classy in everything he does. (I do not watch The Young and the Restless, which he apparently still appears on despite being a sought after Hollywood actor. I assume his work is totally tasteful.) But for my money the best performance in the movie is Lombardo Boyar as Grunberg’s sidekick Jose. Yeah, he plays a little (a lot) to Mexican stereotypes but he’s really funny and keeps things light, just as a movie called Big Ass Spider should be.