July 18, 2016
Spiders. The Real-Life Alien Monsters of our world. Gotta love ’em!
This week’s retrospective is about the movie “Arachnophobia“.
Originally, I thought “Arachnophobia” was going to be a documentary. Wow, was I wrong! It is a contemporary action thriller that uses the “Man versus nature” struggle in a big way.
Just when you think it’s safe to go back to South America, we meet up with a scientific expedition that leads deep down into a geographically isolated area, where the scientists meet various new species, including a spider that is very hard to kill, and is the size of a dinner plate. And did I mention that they like to jump on and ambush people? So one tries to jump on a worker, misses, and lands on an up-held stretcher full of supplies. Nobody notices. Back at camp, this new spider species says hello to the expedition photographer and hitches a ride in his rough-hewn coffin (it was a rather spectacular “hello”) back to the photographer’s hometown. Then the movie really begins.
Jeff Daniels is the mild-mannered hero of the story, a large-city doctor that has moved his family to Small-Town, USA. The very same small town that the spider is approaching in a coffin. That doctor is about to increase his workload dramatically. Before that can happen, there is some good-natured drama that would make a decent movie all by itself. The aging town doctor who was supposed to retire and surrender all his patients to Jeff Daniels suddenly decides he doesn’t want to retire and die, so he remains the town doctor and doesn’t give up his patients to Jeff Daniels without a fight. This leaves Jeff Daniels’ character in dire straights, worrying about his practice and resulting financial problems.
The coffin arrives, the clueless mortician is not paying attention, and the special spider escapes to the outdoors. At that point, the spider is picked up by a bird. The spider says hello to the bird and the pair drop out of the sky. Right onto Jeff Daniel’s new country home.
I could go into detail on the rest of the movie. You can bet there is a lot of fun action and events that make you want to jump out of your own skin, and then crawl back inside, and go to your happy place.
John Goodman makes an appearance as a fun protagonist who ultimately saves the day. He’s always great. Sure, Jeff destroys the “big bad” of the story, but John would have gotten around to it eventually.
It’s an all-around great movie with lots of fun things going on and a creepy-crawly vibe that makes you look over your shoulder for spiders in the corners.
Arachnophobia is one of my all-time favorite movies.