Ref, The (film)

Ref, The (film) An inept cat burglar, Gus, sets off a booby-trapped alarm system and in his haste to escape, grabs two obnoxious hostages, Caroline and Lloyd Chasseur, both of whom argue incessently, playing one-upsmanship to see who can be the most abusive. His hoped-for heist turns into a visit with the family from hell for Gus. There is a rebel son, Jesse, along with an abominable, money-pinching matriarch, Rose, and a coterie of contemptuous relatives coming over for a Christmas Eve dinner. Soon Gus finds that his survival necessitates that he become a referee for the domestic disputes. Limited release in Los Angeles and New York on March 9, 1994; general release on March 11, 1994. Directed by Ted Demme. A Touchstone film. 97 min. Stars Denis Leary (Gus), Judy Davis (Caroline), Kevin Spacey (Lloyd), Glynis Johns (Rose), Raymond J. Barry (Huff), Robert J. Steinmiller, Jr. (Jesse). Glynis Johns had made her first film for Disney, The Sword and the Rose, four decades earlier. Even though the film was set on Christmas Eve it was filmed in and around Toronto in July, so the filmmakers had to create over 400 feet of snowbanks, using chicken wire and burlap sprayed with insulation foam. They also used 3,200 pounds of dry, bleached wood pulp for flocking. The snowbanks were then moved from location to location. Released on video in 1994.