Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Ref - 1994

Synopsis From Back Cover:

An unfortunate cat burglar becomes trapped in a fate worse than jail when he takes a bickering couple and their annoying relatives hostage.  Before long, they're driving him nuts, and the line between who is whose hostage begins to blur.  His only hope for survival is to act as their referee and resolve their differences - or it's going to mean instate insanity for everyone.

My one Christmas guilty pleasure is watching The Ref with Dennis Leary.  It's crass, vulgar, and overtly crude.  There is a ton of swearing, talks of sex, and just plain naughtiness.

Leary is a cat burglar who, due to a botched job, ends up needing to hide out for a while.  It's Christmas Eve and he takes a couple hostage, makes them take him home, ties up their son, and they all have their lives changed in ways they never knew was coming.

Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis are the feuding couple, and they just ooze disdain for each other.  You can tell the love is still there, but there is so much pain and anger overlaying it, that it's hard to see it.  I can't even begin to fill in all the details and the snarky comments that fly back and forth between the three of them, but it's a supreme pleasure to watch.  It's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen in my life.  I'm not normally fond of crass humor, but the intelligence that this cast, including Christine Baranski and B.D. Wong, does it with, makes up for the childish humor.

Underlying that humor though, is a wonderful commentary on what a family is, and what it takes to keep that family together.  It's about the decisions we make, the sacrifices asked of us, and what happens when those choices aren't fully communicated to everyone involved.  It's about finding the familial center again.  Despite all the pain and recriminations flying through the air, this is a family that truly loves each other, they just need to be reminded of what that means.


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

As you know, this is one of my top five favorite Christmas movies. I have yet to watch it this year, but no worries. I know I will watch it more than once. It's just purely, absolutely awesome. :)

Unknown said...

I'd never heard of this movie, and now I definitely want to see it because I love Kevin Spacey, especially when he's playing a total a--hole. :-) I'll add it to my list. Great review, Ryan!