Tin Cup

No, this is not a film about a blind man. It is one of those laughable, loveable American movies that revolves around the wonderful(?) world of sports. Cinema away from the baseball diamond; this time the location is at the golf course. Have no fear, all you sports-unenthusiasts, the characters and situations of the film make it accessible even to those totally disinterested in sports. On the other hand, anyone who loves sports can look forward both to an enjoyable film as well as getting a gander at such personalities on screen as Peter Jacobson, Craig Stadler, Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Jerry Pate, Phil Mickelson, Billy Mayfair, Lee Janzen, John Cook, Tom Purtzer, Bruce Lietzke, and Steve Ellkington. Quite an impressive list for a Hollywood film (par for the course).

Kevin Costner is the all-American Roy 'Tin Cup' McAvoy, a sort of older, more rumpled version of the character played by Tim Robbins in 'Bull Durham.' Costner is so atypically American that it's no wonder we find him so frequently cast in these kind of films. Is he or is he not the Jimmy Stewart of the 90's? Here he's a guy who didn't play it safe when he had the chance; who had a special star shining in the sky before him; who knew the right way to do things is the only way to do things > is to do them as best you can; who wound up unexpectedly on the rubbish heap of life drinking beers with his buddies and running a practically defunct driving range. McAvoy's best buddy, Romeo Posar (played by Cheech Marin), knows what makes the guy tick and realizes that, if it weren't for inner demons, he 'cudda been a contenda' in the world of pro golf. There's always been one special quality that manages to keep 'Tin Cup' back, however, and that quality is his penchant for self-destruction.

Dr. Molly Griswold (played by Rene Russo), the chic shrink with the swift curve and the long legs, appears on the scene with a bagful of high-tech golf toys, hoping to receive lessons from McAvoy. Needless to say, she does. They get to know and like each other, but there's one awkward glitch: she's already attached to McAvoy's rival, one-time friend and present PGA golf pro, David Simms (Don Johnson).

Looks like 'Tin Cup' McAvoy's gonna' have to give it his best shot if he wants to win the girl. First, he decides, he'll have to try to win the U.S. Open in an attempt to get her full and undivided attention. Yeah, these pre-millennium women need to be bowled over (to use a misplaced metaphor) if you really want them to take you seriously. And the competition is pretty hot and heavy in the person of Don Johnson.

Scriptwriters John Norville and Ron Shelton are longtime golfing buddies who decided to tell a tale that transferred their personal interest in golf to the screen. Shelton had already collaborated with Kevin Costner once before on the aforementioned Bull Durham. Shelton, as director, has chosen a solid cast for his tale. Costner and Russo give flawless comedic performances. Cheech Marin shows, once again, that his talents stretch further than he is sometimes given the chance to show. Linda Hart is striking as the good-natured ex-girlfriend stripper with an economical mind. And last, but definitely not least, Don Johnson is perfect (definitely deserves superb points) as the man so slick and greasy you love to hate him. (He really makes you want to smash him in the head with a no. 9 iron every now and again.)

It's filled with those magic feats and feelings that American films can muster up so well: the audience finds itself cheering and hoping and gasping for the hero as the last and ultimately definitive moments of the climax approach. He's a good guy, he's got his heart in the right place, and he knows what life is really all about, even if he does manage to mess it up for himself every time. He's gotta win. Doesn't he? Go see for yourself. And don't be shy about enjoying a hot-dog and a coke while you're at it.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett