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film reel image

Sunday, October 16, 2022

TIn Cup 1996 * * * 1/2 Stars


1996's Tin Cup is not quite the antithesis of Caddyshack but it doesn't need farcical gags and broken record, one-liners to get the ball in the hole. And unlike the schmaltz you get in that other golf flick with Will Smith, Tin Cup paints its characters as either golf bums, snobbish PGA Tour pros, or Texas townies. The film is a comedy drama that floats freely and fancy-free, like empty bottles or cork.

Clocking in at well over two hours but not dragging in the least, "Cup" is directed by unconventional pastime monger, Ron Shelton. Like in Bull Durham, White Men Can't Jump, and Play It to the Bone, Shelton waxes profusely in regards to Tin Cup. In other words, he waxes philosophically, he waxes romantically, he waxes offhand, and he waxes ironically. A sports flick is like a quandary or a left-field journey to a director like Ron Shelton. Who cares who wins at anything as long as you conquer those inner afreets.

With wife beater, sweet swing, laissez-faire attitude, and tanned scruff in toto, "Cup's" star (Kevin Costner as Roy McAvoy) becomes Shelton's awoken and broken-down muse. Roy is a humbled slug, with enough buoyancy and chutzpah to beat any pro golfer slickster. In Tin Cup, Costner's McAvoy tries to win the heart of his sexy psychologist (Dr. Molly Griswold played by Rene Russo) while at the same time, trying to beat his PGA Tour nemesis (David Simms played by Don Johnson in playful, baddie mode) as a qualifier at the US Open.

Look for cameos of actual pro golfers (Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler, John Cook, Johnny Miller), some innuendo and strong language (weak R-rated stuff), and an ending that suggests the undying and not the lowest score to par. Tin Cup makes my list of top five sports movies ever. "Fore!"

Written by Jesse Burleson

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