After being imprisoned for six years on a grand theft auto charge, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) is days away from release as is his cellmate Nick (James Frain) who is is serving a two year sentence on a separate charge.
Nick has a number of pictures from a romantic correspondence with a woman named Ashley he has never met but is waiting for his release.
Rudy is looking forward to returning to his family and having a fresh cup of hot chocolate.
Nick is killed defending Rudy during a prison riot.
When Rudy Is released the next day from prison he recognizes Ashley waiting outside the prison for Nick and Rudy takes his place and pretends to be Nick.
Nick had spoken of his previous employment in security with an Indian casino and Rudy finds himself involved with Ashley's criminal gun runner brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise).
Rudy is violently coerced to cooperate with a Christmas Eve casino robbery scheme that Gabriel and his gang have been planning with Nick's casino knowledge as the key.
Things...] To tell ya the truth, I never was much for the holidays. [...] See more » In the commentary on the "Director's cut" DVD it is mentioned that an alternate ending was filmed where Dennis Farina's character lives.
It's been forever since I'd known a holiday, since I'd seen my family, since I'd been with a girl, since I'd driven a car. It was later changed after they decided he would have been a witness to everything and it would not have worked.
You see, cars are what put me here - Iron Mountain, Maximum Security Prison. Meanwhile, most of my esteemed raping and murdering colleagues were up for parole in three. Also several scenes were mentioned to be changed or heavily cut.
One of them being a big reshoot right as Ben Affleck is going back to his hotel room after he finds out about Monster and Ashley not being brother and sister. (BMI) and Stone Agate Music (A Division of Jobete Music Co., Inc.) (BMI) Courtesy Motown Records Under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more » Ben Affleck plays Rudy, a con just trying to go straight (are there other kinds in the movies? He and his cellmate Nick each have plans of enjoying themselves once they get out of stir.
See more » What Christmas Means to Me Written by George Gordy, Allen Story and Anna Gordy Gaye Performed by Stevie Wonder Published by EMI April Music, Inc. Nick's involves meeting and spending the rest of his life with a woman he's never met, a pen pal named Ashley (Charlize Theron).