The Ref (1994)

Kevin Spacey in The Ref

Before Kevin Spacey took on his Oscar-winning turn as Lester Burnham in American Beauty, he played another frustrated suburbanite tired of his dull life in The Ref, helmed by the late Ted Demme. Spacey and Judy Davis play a couple on the verge of a rancorous divorce who are held hostage on Christmas Eve by a desperate thief (Denis Leary).

Unfortunately, Leary has captured two of the most annoying, constantly bickering people alive. As their extended family arrives, Leary pretends to be the couple’s shrink, and it soon becomes clear the dysfunctional clan has far greater emotional problems than the career criminal. With its hilariously profane dialogue, increasingly awkward situations and memorable ranting and raving,

The Ref is the perfect holiday movie for those whose family Christmas isn’t complete without at least one extended shouting match.

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