My All-Time Favourite Christmas Movie

Posted November 30, 2016 by Eoin Friel in Blogs

Everyone loves a feel-good Christmas movie like It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story or national lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; in terms of action you’ve got Die hard and Lethal Weapon which are also classics of the genre. But my personal favourite Christmas movie has to be The Ref (or Hostile Hostages as it’s known in the UK) starring Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey and J K Simmons.

The Ref tells the story of a cat burglar called Gus, who is abandoned by his partner in the middle of a heist, and is forced to take a bickering couple (Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis) hostage. He soon finds that he took more than he bargained for when the couple’s blackmailing son and despicable in-laws step into the picture. Before long they’re driving him nuts with their petty bickering and family problems.

What ensues is one of the least feel-good Christmas movies you’ll see but frankly it’s the most realistic as it captures the stress of the season perfectly but also gives us a career best performance from Denis Leary who is absolutely hilarious as Gus; a man who swears more than me…  and I can swear quite a bit.

Needless to say this is certainly not for the kids which is what makes it to appealing; it’s not schmaltzy or sentimental even up until the end credits with snarky dialogue like “You know what, Mom? You know what I’m going to get you next Christmas? A big wooden cross, so that every time you feel unappreciated for your sacrifices, you can climb on up and nail yourself to it.”

Leary has always been known for his hilarious rants and The Ref has a few but the exchange between Gus and Rose (Spacey’s mother in the movie) has me in stitches every time.

The finale has Murray ask Gus when they are going to open presents to which Gus responds “Presents? Is that what you said? Presents? We’ll open them when we get there. No, in fact, I’ll save you the trouble. Your present is a giant fucking canon. And you’re gonna crawl in it. Then I’m gonna get 2 pounds of gunpowder and I’m gonna shoot you right out of Jersey! And then I’m gonna drive to Jersey, and pick up all the parts of your body and put them in a plastic bag. Then I’m gonna drive to my house with you in the bag and toss you into the fireplace. I’m gonna get my glass of whiskey and watch the Charlie Brown special with your ashes burning IN MY FUCKING HOUSE!”!

All of the characters are memorable and Lloyd and Caroline feel like real people with real problems; their marriage is on the rocks, their son is blackmailing people and Lloyd’s mother is basically the Antichrist.

It’s a pretty cynical film but never less than entertaining and the entire cast are hilarious so if you’re looking for one of the funniest movies you’ll ever see watch The Ref, *whispers* it’s better than Christmas Vacation…

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About the Author

Eoin Friel

I started The Action Elite a few years ago; it's grown from strength to strength but now seems like the right time to expand. I've always loved different movie genres like horror, sci-fi and dramas so you'll see a wide range of different movies covered here.


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