In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
Roy 'Tin cup' McAvoy, a failed pro golfer who lives at the run-down driving range which he manages with his sidekick and caddy Romeo in the West Texas tin pot town of Salome, ends up signing over ownership to a madam of 'show girls' to pay off debts. His foxy novice golf pupil, female psychiatrist Dr. Molly Griswold, turns out to be the new girlfriend of McAvoy's sarcastic one-time college golf partner, slick PGA superstar David Simms, who drops by to play into Roy's fatal flaw: the inability to resist a dare, all too often causing him to lose against lesser players, in this case gambling away his car. Falling for Molly, Roy decides to become her patient; in order to earn her respect, he decides to try to qualify for the US Open, after starting off as Simm's caddy 'for the benefit of his experience'. His talent proves more then adequate, but over-confident negligence of risks, while pleasing the crowds, is murder on his scores, while Simms spits on the fans but never wastes a point... Written by
Sports and romance clichés get smothered by the Costner-Shelton swagger
Underdog sports movies walk a fine line with clichés; romantic comedies walk a fine line with clichés. "Tin Cup" is both these things and walks the finest of the fine lines, and though it leans toward the cliché, it never completely loses its balance. Its likable swagger behind star Kevin Costner -- a similar swagger to that of "Bull Durham," also directed by Ron Shelton -- is what makes it one of the more memorable fault-filled sports movies.
Like the previous (and slightly better) Costner-Shelton collaboration of "Durham," this film is a romantic sports comedy about a trashy/washed-up athlete who wastes a lot of talent and somehow manages to attract sexual attention.
Costner stars as West Texan Roy McAvoy, referred to sometimes as 'Tin Cup,' a talented college golfer who somehow ended up a golf pro at a downtrodden driving range with his amigo Romeo (Cheech Marin) while his college teammate David Simms (Don Johnson) went on to be a star. Roy is a betting man who goes with his gut, ignores reason and uses golf metaphors to make sense of life. When an anal retentive psychiatrist named Molly (Rene Russo) shows up at his range for lessons, Roy is smitten, only to find she's with Simms. Of course the only way to win her over is to try and make the U.S. Open, right?
Costner and Russo have forced character chemistry. There's no reason for either of them to be interested in each other, save that Roy wants a challenge compared to the white trash women he's interested in. There's certainly no reason for Molly to leave her tournament- winning boyfriend for a sleazeball. And you know it's true when the dialogue directly addresses why they fell for the other like it's justification or something.
The machismo fueling Roy and his buddies in the movie, constantly betting each other and insulting the other when he lays up and plays it safe is childish, but it brings the film its humor and keeps it from being a straight through underdog movie. Its more interested in its characters than building up plot suspense, which is a good thing, if only the characters behaved in realistic ways.
"Tin Cup" is a giant golf metaphor for life, about how taking risks -- no matter how many times you fail -- is always worth it. Shelton's film is gutsy in the same way, finding different ways of telling a sports story that will make it feel different. It goes about it in an amateur way, but it's the bravado that it will be remembered for. Shelton's films have this miraculous tendency to only let their best parts stick with you. They're the kinds of movies that make for great channel-surfing finds on TV. That's really what "Tin Cup" is.
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