31 days of festive-ass flicks, day 11: the ref

Monday’s festive-ass holiday bonanza was one of my girlfriend’s favorite Christmas movies, The Ref which I had never seen before despite being in love with Kevin Spacey for basically my entire life. [Calendar.]

I liked it, which is largely a duh at this point. I watch a holiday movie and then I usually like it. (That’s not very exciting, huh? I will try to hate more things in the future.) But it also left me feeling really… ugh, I don’t even know how to explain this without getting into a whole bunch of my psychological issues. BASICALLY, this bitch just hit WAY TOO CLOSE TO HOME for it to be super enjoyable even though it’s funny and smart and real.

It is also SO DATED 90s in such an excellent way. The FASHIONS and the marriage counseling and the weird Enya-esque/acid jazz Christmas score that makes it sound like a movie for 90s sex fiends. There is SO MUCH SHOUTING also, which I don’t like. It stresses me out a lot. Any movie with lots of shouting gets voted a little down for me because it’s so uncomfortable to watch. Which is ridiculous because I am a shouter! Maybe it’s a sign of deep self-loathing. How exciting and 90s psych.

But yeah this was fun to watch sort of? When Mother Rose gets told off it’s REALLY SATISFYING because she’s so terrible and I also really enjoy them all sitting around the table with candle wreaths on their heads because that in itself is SO 90s (not candle wreaths themselves, but awkward, semi-appropriative multi-culturality) and also Christine Baranski who is the most best flawless for forever. Also, Kevin Spacey. Kevin Spacey forever. Perfect beauteous angel of glory.

I always get bummed when I watch Denis Leary stuff though because he’s just playing Denis Leary, I mean really. Shouting and smoking and ranting and swearing a lot. And he’s hot while he does it and good at it, but dang. Let’s see him play something quiet and sensitive and, like, meditative. Denis Leary, make one movie where you never raise your voice even once. I will give you exactly one dollar.

I also wish Robert J. Steinmiller Jr. had kept acting in movies for me to watch because he looks like a poor man’s mash-up of Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix and I would have been real into it had I seen this in my youth/as an adult if he grew into an attractive adult.

My only solidly legit complaint is that this thing ended REAL ABRUPTLY. Like, everything is just about to get exciting/tense/high-stakes and then Kevin Spacey is like, “SON, TAKE THIS THIEF AND RUN THROUGH THE WOODS WITH HIM” and then they do and the movie ends? How is that? What even? IMDB says that originally Denis Leary got caught but test audiences were like, “UGH NO EXCUSE U” and so they changed it and now Ted Demme is still real butthurt over it. Which I totally believe because 1. the end of the movie is totally rushed and 2. Ted Demme strikes me as an ass.