MJ Monday-Movies: The Ref

The Ref, a 1994 flick (Dennis Leary, Kevin Spacey, and Judy Davis)has become one of my favorite Christmas movies.

This is not a movie for children.

A thief whose heist goes awry takes a bickering couple hostage on Christmas Eve. Much comedy ensues as we see the underside of family holiday gatherings. The visiting in-laws (including Glynis Johns in a completely different portrayal of the mother-in-law than she was in While You Were Sleeping), the criminal child, a drunken Santa Claus, and an inept sidekick all come together for a laugh fest.

For those who think just because a movie is set at Christmas doesn’t make it a Christmas movie will probably argue that The Ref is in that category. But the underlying story is what matters, and although this is a black comedy, the story is deeper than laughing at a dysfunctional family.