good back-story, and good acting
It's the kind of movie you'll want to see a second time with someone who hasn't seen it yet, to remember what it was like to watch it for the first time.
Through painfully honest and emotional moments, the movie becomes irresistibly relatable
On Christmas Eve, jewelry thief Denis Leary (as Gus) takes bickering Connecticut wife Judy Davis (as Caroline) and her husband Kevin Spacey (as Lloyd Chasseur) hostage. The captivated couple argues incessantly, driving Mr. Leary crazy. But, through it all, his hair stays perfect. Police are combing the area, so Leary must suffer as Ms. Davis and Mr. Spacey demonstrate their disintegrating marriage. Meanwhile, boozing buddy Richard Bright (as Murray) tries to help Leary from the outside. Juvenile delinquent son Robert J. Steinmiller Jr. (as Jesse) arrives home for the holiday...Steinmiller has been blackmailing a teacher at military school. When young Steinmiller is also gagged, you have to wonder why Leary didn't give his parents similar treatment - but, then there wouldn't have been a movie. Mouthy matriarch Glynis Johns (as Rose) and other family members show up for supper. Christine Baranski (as Connie) is a noticeable asset. Leary must pretend he is "Dr. Wong" the marriage counselor. People swap foul-mouthed insults and wear weird hats with candles in them. Dinner and the movie are distasteful, but cause no permanent damage.***** The Ref (3/9/94) Ted Demme ~ Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey, Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.
Dennis Leary stars as a criminal who decides to hold a dysfunctional family hostage in The Ref. The Ref is one of the better Christmas comedies. It has many laugh out loud moments. It's a lot of fun seeing Dennis Leary, Kevin Spacey, and Judy Davis argue for an hour and a half. The Ref is the story of a criminal(played excellently by Dennis Leary) who decides to hold a rich couple(played by Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis), who are going through problems, and their family hostage on Christmas Eve. The criminal goes through a tough time too. He has to suffer with the most dysfunctional family alive.It's a lot of fun watching this movie. Watching Spacey and Davis argue the whole time is really funny. A lot of the scenes with the family are hilarious. I like all of the main celebrities in this film. I don't like them. I love them. That is part of the reason why I loved this film. Forget films like Four Christmases or The Polar express, and look for The Ref on DVD.
This has to be one of them most underrated Christmas movies ever. Just go up to someone and mention it, and watch them say, "What?" "No, MY favorite holiday special is "It's a Wonderful Life." Try not to pity them too noticeably.Denis Leary plays Gus, a burglar who gets interrupted in the process of completing a job in a well-to-do Connecticut suburb, and winds up taking Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey's couple hostage. Not a good idea, as he quickly discovers. They're so busy bickering that they barely acknowledge Gus, and he must come up with creative ways to keep shutting them up. The main obstacles to Gus escaping undetected are 1) the couple's son is due back from military school, 2) the in-laws are due shortly for a guilt-filled dysfunctional Christmas visit, and 3) the local Keystone Kops are attempting to track Gus down. It's 2) which is really the problem, as the couple's family is even more intolerable than the couple themselves.Sample scene: The in-laws are seen eating at a diner shortly before they're due. "Eat up, kids. Heavens knows what we'll get at Aunt Caroline's." This proves to be a wise move indeed. And if you got a kick out of Kevin Spacey hurling the asparagus in "American Beauty," you'll appreciate the scene where he loses it and starts hitting the Christmas tree. ("Excuse me, the 'corpse' still has the floor!") All I can say, that it's good that Gus came along, because the family definitely all had more than a few grievances to air that had long been festering. Though I'm not sure they got every last drop of venom out (maybe a sequel?).
The subject matter is just one anyone can relate to! The casting selection couldn't have been better. The direction is just on the money. The acting is superb!Everyone here excels;Dennis Leary nails it as the fugitive trying to find his way out of failed robbery attempt!Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis are superb as the dysfunctional and argumentative couple.The lightning is pitch perfect.The dialogue are ordinary and yet, cunning.The music is really cool also.It is not a movie for the faint of heart, its irreverent, and it does celebrates bad behavior, but, it also have a redeeming family lesson towards the end.Ted Demme was without a question, a master of the comedy genre.I never get tired of watching this films, specially during the Christmas season!