Editorials & Opinion

Top Ten Not-Christmas, Well Sorta Movies #7 The Ref


Christmas in July, already.  It’s hard to believe that we’re over halfway to the big day.  Time flies when you’re having fun.

Thinking about Christmas in July, it’s fun and it’s practice for some.  The staging point, a milestone and a little innocent fun to be had, but it’s not really Christmas.

That’s what got me thinking about movies set during Christmas, but not really about Christmas.  You know those movies that make a passing mention of the holiday or it’s outdoor scenes that are snow covered or you see the decorations, but it’s not integral to the plot.

So in honor of Christmas in July, I present the Top Ten Not-Christmas but Kinda Christmas Movies, now presenting…..

#7 The Ref

The movie opens with Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur in marriage counseling on Christmas Eve; the session does not go well and the audience quickly learns of their problems. Caroline has had an affair, and Lloyd is miserable and blames the problems with their son Jesse on his wife. The marriage counselor tries to get the two of them to talk to each other, but, behaving professionally, he himself refuses to intercede on either side. The movie cuts to a criminal named Gus (Leary) in the midst of stealing jewelry from a safe in a home he has broken into; however, he accidentally sets off the alarm, a trap door opens, and he lands in the basement. Only after he is bitten on the leg by a guard dog is Gus able to escape the house, but his getaway car, driven by his bumbling, alcoholic, partner Murray, is no longer there.

While Caroline is in the market, Gus spots her and, holding a gun to her back, orders her to take him to her car. He then proceeds to order both her and Lloyd to take him to their house. Along the way the couple continues to argue, with Gus beginning to act as a referee to make them shut up, all the while regretting his decision to kidnap the two.

Back at the house things continue to get worse as the police have set up roadblocks and there is a reward out for Gus. Lloyd and Caroline continue to argue, their neighbor dressed as Santa stops by, and two police officers go door to door looking for Gus. Gus manages to contact Murray, who is at local bar, and orders him to steal them a boat. Soon, Jesse comes home and discovers his parents tied up, and is himself tied up. After breaking loose of his own restraints, he makes a failed attempt at making Gus release his parents.

Lloyd’s family, consisting of Lloyd’s brother Gary, his wife Connie, their two children Mary and John, and Lloyd’s mother Rose, are introduced into the story. Rose is extremely wealthy and is a cold, callous, and arrogant woman. Gus, seeing no other option, decides to pretend to be Lloyd’s and Caroline’s marriage counselor as he cannot hold everyone hostage. Jesse, however, is tied up and gagged upstairs in his parent’s closet.

Things come to head when Caroline and Lloyd are unable to stop fighting. Gus’s pointed comments goad the family on to many realizations, leading Lloyd to finally get up the guts to stand up to his wife and his mother. Everyone finds out who Gus really is after the doorbell rings and Rose attempts to go upstairs; Gus stops her by pointing a gun at her head and ordering everyone to the den. The man at the door is Jesse’s commander from military school, whom Jesse has been blackmailing, as he explains to Jesse’s parents.

Jesse has managed to untie himself and is discovered with his hidden money; when the doorbell rings again his mom tells him to stay there. When Lloyd, Caroline, and Gus get back downstairs, the neighbor from earlier has entered their house and is very drunk and lunges at Gus, who knocks him out.

The state police arrive, and Lloyd tells Jesse to take Gus to the docks using the path through the woods. Gus steals the Santa suit and makes it safely to the docks and escapes. Back at home the couple have managed to get the police out of their home with their bickering and then, having worked through all of their differences throughout the evening with Gus’ assistance, they make up and decide to stay together. (Wikipedia)





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