Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Ref


This one ranks up there with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story as one of our favorite holiday movies. Denis Leary is fleeing a botched jewel robbery with a bite taken out of his ass by a guard dog, smelling of cat piss from another anti-burglar device, and is forced to take a couple hostage in their upscale home in their upscale community while he tries to figure out how to get through the police roadblocks and make his escape. The couple, brilliantly played by Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis, are so into their endless bitter arguing that they keep forgetting they are hostages. Leary ends up having to referee as much as threaten, and then the rest of the family shows up for Christmas dinner and they are as bad as the couple … The whole thing is hilarious from beginning to end. It was the first time I’d seen Denis Leary, who later proved to be a sometimes genius and sometimes asshole, but this is one of the genius roles.