If there is a favorite Christmas movie for me I have to go with Christmas Vacation, but right behind it (We’re talking milimeters here) is my second favorite holiday flick starring Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey: The Ref.
The story revolves around the Chasseur family. Let me get this out-of-the-way right now. It’s pronounced ‘Shass-Oor’ and as you must know, it’s an 18th century French Huguenot name. But I digress, the Chasseur family is a pretty well off family with a lovely home… from the outside. Look in and there’s quite a bit more going on. Spouses Lloyd and Caroline are in the middle of some terrible marital strife and their son Jesse is a delinquent who enjoys black mailing his commander at military school for money in his off time. So what do they need to bring their family closer during the holidays on Christmas Eve? Gus, the cat burglar played by none other than Denis Leary. Leary essentially makes the movie with his fast talking, foul-mouthed way with people. This guy is a comedic genius but it doesn’t even sound like he’s trying half the time. He’s just pissed and complains and that’s that.
So where does Gus come into play? Well, he and his part Murray are in the process of thieving from one of the richest guys in town when something goes wrong… the guy has an almost road runner like trap set up for thieves which includes spraying cat piss in their face and dropping them down a chute to the basement where waits a very hungry Doberman. With the little community essentially closed off by police in an effort to capture Gus, he does the only thing he can do and that is take Lloyd and Caroline hostage.
This may have been the biggest mistake of his life given the fact that the couple cannot agree on anything and argue constantly. Not to mention they are having relatives over for Christmas Eve dinner, including the bitchiest bitch of mothers, a simpleton brother in-law and nearly as bitchy sister in-law. So the hostage party continues with Gus in the guise of their doctor… Dr. Wong. (Played by Law and Order/Oz alum B.D. Wong at the movie’s start.)
The movie is funny as hell, but actually reflects some real life drama that people have with their in-laws in the real world we live in. I’ve seen some bitchy mother in-laws who should immediately go to hell, let me tell ya. It also makes one wonder if it would work to force people to sit down and talk things out. Just don’t get any thoughts this Christmas season of sitting your family down at gunpoint to discuss their issues. I give the movie 5 out of 5 Christmas Trees.
Perfect movie with all of the right actors, comedy and drama added in. Plus Denis Leary lays out a Santa in one punch worthy of Ryu from Street Fighter. Check it out below:
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