Tin Cup (1996)
User ReviewsReview this title
"Tin Cup" is all about the dire straits of this character, and Costner is more than up to the challenge of playing this guy convincingly. Costner for once packs everything into his performance: charm, wit, sarcasm, hopelessness, bitterness, and more than a little arrogance. He is funny, laidback and shows remarkable athletic skill. He tops his career-best work in "Bull Durham" here (not surprising, since this is another Ron Shelton film).
The movie also works great as a classic heroic Quest story. McAvoy is on a mythic quest, not for the perfect 18 holes, certainly not for money, but for love. "Tin Cup" could easily have been titled "Quixote Jousts at Windmills in West Texas." Best of all, McAvoy KNOWS he's on a quest; when he refers to it in his dialogue, it sounds pathtically funny, but when you hold this story up to the ancient pattern of the heroic quest as described by Joseph Campbell, it really rings true.
Probably the most interesting aspect of "Tin Cup" is that it also works as a metaphor for what Costner has done with his career. Here's a guy who could have played it safe and easy after all those Oscars, but took off on crazy flights of fancy like "Waterworld" and lost badly. (He continued to play unsafe shots after 1996, with almost every movie that followed this one.) McAvoy plays the game his way, on a dare, on a bet, with outrageous egotism and a willingness to lose it all -- publicly. That's what Costner has done at his own game. Was "Open Range" the dreaded safe shot that corrected his course?
For what it's worth, the riddle the movie starts on has been traced as far back as The Cosby Show.
A definite keeper.
Costner's McAvoy is introduced as a washed up Texan driving range pro, a once prodigious college golfer whose talent was unquestionable, but who was hamstrung by an explosive temperament. Its not until be begins to teach psychiatrist Molly Griswold (Rene Russo), and has a reunion with college rival David Sims (Don Johnson) that his competitive flame is reignited, and he seeks to qualify for the US Open prove his obvious brilliance to both himself and to the watching world. This wouldn't be Costner if he didn't have half an eye on Russo's character as well, and the two plots are interwoven to excellent effect.
I love the golfing action in the movie. While some of the shot making from McAvoy is simply farcical (if anyone's ever got backspin on a 250 yard 3 wood i'd love to hear from you - I trust my inbox will remain vacant), director Shelton racks up the tension, especially on the back nine stretch of the US Open, which inevitably sees McAvoy paired with Sims in a race for the trophy. Costner actually lowered his handicap to single figures whilst shooting the movie, so the action has an air of authenticity to it, especially considering the cameos of well known US Tour pros such as Phil Mickelson, Corey Pavin and Craig Stadler. The familiar voice of legendary commentator Gary McCord adds to the feeling that the proceedings are not that divorced from reality. Ben Curtis (an unknown) won the Open Championship in 2003 - his first tournament win.
The supporting cast is excellent. This was Johnson's last major film for a long time, yet it is textured valedictory performance, and Russo adds radiance with her subtle beauty. Cheech Marin threatens to steal the show as McAvoy's world-weary caddy, yet Costner is the big star here. I was delighted with the film's conclusion, an overt rebellion against sporting conformity.
As a film in this genre, Tin Cup is a brilliant success. Costner has since gone on to bigger and worser things yet signs of a return to form are promising, his new baseball movie The Upside of Anger (in which, naturally, he plays an ageing pro) is released in March 2005. While not everything about the film is good (a little less mawkishness wouldn't go amiss in the romance scenes, combined with as little of Linda Hart as is humanly possible), Costner is on top form, and even if you don't like golf there is enough here for anyone to enjoy. Highly recommended.
And it´s nice to see a golf film with a screenwriter who actually seems to know what the game really is about. For those who are not into golf, just look at Mr. Costner´s every move and how he delivers his lines as a drunken golf pro. In fact the whole cast is excellent. In comparison to films like Bagger Vance, Happy Gilmore and Caddyshack this film is the only one that explains why we men are so hooked on this game. If you see this movie more than five times, the music might start to get on your nerves. But it´s okay, it´s impossible to add music to a golf film, because the sport itself is so timeless and silent.
The American Dream is brought nicely down to earth in this gentle comedy drama. Costner plays Roy McAvoy, an underachieving golf-whizz living in a small Texan town, who falls for Molly (Russo), the girlfriend of his arch rival David Simms (Don Johnson). Luckily for him, she agrees to sleep with him after he chips a ball from the clubhouse carpet and hits a pelican sitting outside. Molly gives Roy a good soul-searching pep talk and it isn't long before he's back playing professionally - and, before you know it, swinging his sticks in the US Open.
Tin Cup's big surprise is the film's unconventional ending, allowing us to forgive director Ron Shelton's clumsy, problematic dramatic structure and odd fascination with capturing Costner's highlighted mullet.
The dialogue and characters are convincing and intelligently developed. Russo wears vulnerability and neediness like a second skin, while Costner plays the tragic hero with considerable charm.
BUT NOT WITH TIN CUP. I actually found myself 2/3 through the movie quizzing myself on who the actor was... I could swear I've seen him somewhere before...
Keven Costner totally loses himself in this role... so much so that he wonderfully loses his identity as Kevin Costner.
(spoilers) It's not about the game in Tin Cup, which is good, because that would have ruined the movie. There is a delightfully rich relationship between Roy and Molly Griswold (Renee Russo), who is in an unhappy relationship and becomes the love interest for Roy in the film. Molly has problems of her own that parallel Roy's own struggle with his life as well as his golf swing. She is a psychologist, but she gets hurt a lot. She can always tell when people are lying to themselves, but can't seem to tell when people are lying to her. Roy spends the majority of the film trying to get her to leave an unworthy boyfriend who, of course, turns out to be a total dick, and continually makes awkward advances of his own. Many of his amorous advances resemble something confused and totally wrong that you might expect from someone like Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. Roy just doesn't understand women, and Molly doesn't seem to know what she wants in a man.
Cheech Marin rounds out the cast in a fairly serious role that strongly contradicts his traditional roles, and he pulls it off surprisingly well. He is Roy's close friend and ultimately his caddy in the U.S. Open, in which Roy plays as sort of the thinking man's Happy Gilmore. It seems that his infatuation with Molly has caused him to lose much of his skill (`the shanks,' I believe it was called), and he tries just about everything to get his swing back. He uses all of those ridiculous infomercial devices that he made fun of Molly for using earlier in the film, and even attempts some witch doctor-like stuff, like getting drunk and playing hung over. Oops.
There is very heavy emphasis on the meaning of the golf in the movie, rather than the golf itself. It is made clear in many different scenes that winning or losing or even playing golf are not the things that should be focused on when watching this movie. It is the way that golf is used as a metaphor for life that is important. There is a part in the movie where Roy breaks a golf record, but he still gets no respect afterward, because he had yet to change as a person. Merely beating a record because you took less shots is meaningless what's important is what you learn or how you change as a result. Even more importantly, near then end of the film, Roy takes shot after shot at the final hole, dropping all after ball into the lake, but he keeps taking the shot, rather than attempting to make it to the green safely with more than one shot. When he keeps telling Cheech to give him another ball, it becomes very clear that winning the tournament has become secondary to him. He has set a goal for himself, and even though he knows that it will cost him the tournament, he still seeks that goal.
Notice how when he finally does make that shot, he is way above par, but he still gets a huge response from the crowd. Tin Cup has a sort of Rocky-style ending, in which Roy loses the tournament, but he still wins his conflict with himself. Besides that, the movie doesn't leave us with the feeling that we are seeing a temporary high point that will likely be followed someday with the same troubles that were overcome in the film, which is something that even great movies like As Good As It Gets are guilty of. Roy has not made the most tremendous achievement possible, because he did lose the tournament, but he has also managed to qualify for the U.S. Open tournament for the following year. He lost the golf game, but he has made a significant accomplishment in his life that is especially clear when you compare his character from the beginning of the film to that at the end of the film. Character development is one of the most important things about meaningful film, and it is one of the strong points in Tin Cup. Don't watch it for the golf, watch it for the well-written script, the great acting, and most importantly, for the valuable lesson that can be learned from it as a perspective on life.
Personally I like the ending of the film. A man facing his demons and confronting them head on, even with all odds being against him. I loved this film.
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.
Visit my site at http://moviemusereviews.blogspot.com
OK, I've been reading some of the negative comments on here, and a couple seem to stick out.
One person says how they hate Kevin Costner and how they hate golf, and they hated this movie. Um, duh?! If you hate Kevin Costner and golf, don't watch a movie with Kevin Costner in it that's about golf!!!
Someone else mentioned how they felt it was predictable ... "he gets the girl and wins the tournament" ... um, if you actually watched the movie, you'd notice he _doesn't_ win the tournament!
I personally loved this film - the best thing Kevin Costner has done in years, an excellent showcase for Rene Russo and Cheech Marin, and a nice turn by Don Johnson. A hilarious script and just the most gorgeous greens you've ever seen. Superb.
Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner), a broke down, once a great golfer, driving range pro deciding to try out for the U.S. Open, to win the heart of the beautiful Molly Griswold played graciously by Rene Russo, grabbed my heart.
Kevin Costner is very funny in this movie, and the few times he doesn't deliver, you can certainly count on the always funny Cheech Marin to add his humor. The last 20 minutes of this movie will have you on the edge of your seat watching Roy McAvoy play the best golf he has ever played, and it will almost certainly put a tear in your eye!
It wrote in another review that all sports films contains many clichés. Well, I have to contradict myself in describing this film about golf. It starts many clichés, and then breaks them in half, sometimes literally! LOL Funny, charming, romantic, and defiant, Tin Cup gives you a bit of everything ... even a realistic ending but with a crumb thrown to the future at the same time.
And the phrase "Tin Cup" made its way into sports talk for an event where a golfer REALLY screws up on a hole, especially if from stubbornness.
TIN CUP is his movie about golf, but, of course, it's also a romantic comedy about the relationship between Kevin Costner as a golf caddy and Rene Russo as a scatter-brained psychologist. Since the golf stuff, though well-presented, was the least interesting part of the movie for me, I focused on the romantic comedy part, and it's sharply drawn. Costner is back in BULL DURHAM form, playing a grungy but likeable character, and he's especially good at pulling off the speeches, which are a Shelton trademark(remember his "I believe in" speech in BULL DURHAM), and can come off florid in other hands but work well here. Russo is his match every way, especially pulling off the shifting moods her character goes through. I'm not a big fan of Don Johnson or Cheech Marin, but they both add solid support.
One thing though; It'd be nice if for once, one of these sports romantic comedies could have women athletes for a change, maybe involved with a male athlete. Tennis, anyone?
He actually took an 18 in a PGA event trying to get over the water. He admitted to it!!
He said he just knew he could get it over the water.
He had no excuses.
This is tough with the rules of ten lines. I actually liked the movie. Odd as I think Costner is over rated. He plays the same part in every movie. I only like Tin Cup and Water world. He has no stretch in his acting. Same character in every movie with different things happening. He has no range in his acting ability. Hopefully this is ten lines......
Tin Cup is unlike any other sports film I've seen. The protagonist is not a hero or great person, but a drunk and unintelligent slob. The only reason that this character is acceptable for the audience to cheer for is the charming and hilarious personality of Kevin Costner. In no way is this a great movie as the writing is sub par and the acting of anyone other than Costner is pathetic. Even Russo is annoying as the overly pompous head doctor.
If it wasn't for the smart story and the acting talent of Costner this movie would not have been even heard of five years after it was released. Yet even today in the year 2006 people on the golf course still turn to me and say, "I'm pulling a Tin Cup" as they strive to make that impossible shot.
The story is really about this talented guy who lets demons in his head short-circuit what he wants to do. He runs a barely profitable driving range in hot and dry west Texas town of Salome. He falls in love when a shrink (Renee Russo) comes for lessons, but he is afraid to act on his intentions. On a dare he tries to qualify for the US Open, and barely does so.
The climax is the US Open, actually filmed at a just-completed but not yet open course in the northeast Houston community of Kingwood. I remember in 1995 when they were requesting "extras" for the filming.
After a terrible 83 opening round, he shoots an Open-record 62 to make the cut. Fourth round, he is tied with Jacobson at 8-under, and needs a birdie to win, or a par for a playoff. Hole 18, par-5, 238 yards from the cup, he hits a 3-wood that lands hole-high, about 4 feet away, but rolls back into the water. Instead of taking a drop at the green, chipping and putting for a par, he just keeps dropping balls and hitting them into the water, until one goes in the cup. Gets a 7-over par 12 on the final hole, but he wins the girl. He smiles and says, "How about that last shot, wasn't it great?"
In a way this story reminds me of the one in Good Will Hunting, where we want him to use his mathematics talent for something great, but he goes after the girl. Here, we want Tin Cup to discipline himself, be all that he can be, look for the victory instead of always responding only to the challenge. But that is not the point of the story. The point is, golf is only a game, the US Open is only a very high profile game. Tin Cup wants to be a success in life and love, doesn't really care about the game that seems so important, falsely important, to so many people.
Good film. Don Johnson is his golfer rival, and Russo's boyfriend. Uses many real announcers and pro golfers - Venturi, Kostis, Stadler, Mickelson, Miller, Jacobsen. Only in a movie could Peter Jacobsen actually win the US Open golf tournament! :-)
Kevin Costner plays Roy Macavoy, a good IL' boy with a killer golf game who uses his talents to teach the game to others, or hustle the occasional executive type who is half-mark, half-patron. Roy would be a good poster child for what not to do in your financial planning, and his lifestyle is generally overlooked because of his talent and good nature. Cheech Marin is competent as his sidekick, caddy, confidant and co-conspirator.
Rene Russo is typically grating as Dr. Molly Griswold, the girlfriend of Roy's longtime golf rival, David Simms (played by Don Johnson). I can overlook the casting of Russo here, as that was in vogue at the time. She more or less reprises the role she played in Major League, of the career woman who falls for an outcast, believes she deserves better, and struggles throughout the movie until the high-brow jerk shows his true colors.
Tin Cup is not a romantic comedy set to golf, but rather a golf movie set in the context of a love triangle, which is used here as a plot device to set up the all-important golf rivalry that culminates in the US Open, which Roy makes as he finally gains focus, in part because of the pretexted "therapy" from Dr. Griswold to help his mental game (the "therapy" seems to consist mostly of her rejecting his advances and telling him to get his act together), but she begins learning from him to become more carefree. While this bonding occurs, Simms is his smug, assured, and very successful self, and the rivalry reveals sides of him that have Dr. Griswold questioning her choice.
Dr. Simms did play the heavy in this film, but the real battle took place between Roy and "the shot," a 230-yard drive, over a water hazard, and onto a very unforgiving green that spits your ball into the water unless you hit the sweet spot. Roy is faced with this shot over and over again throughout the movie, and each confrontation he has with it reveals more of his character, and the resolution to this movie involves one last confrontation between the two.
Herein lies the movie's premise: do you play it safe and go through life living well, or do you let it all hang out in search of eternal glory in the minds of all who watched? Costner and Johnson do a credible job contrasting the two lifestyles, and showing that underneath it all, there really isn't much difference between the PGA touring professionals and many driving range instructors, except maybe in motivation and mental focus. Like Major League, this film would have been a lot better without Russo, but it's not bad.
It's got a good, simple story, and a plot that's character driven. The film's got a great soundtrack and a some gorgeous Texas and Arizona locations. A female friend, who bears a striking resemblance to Rene Russo, that I showed this film said it made her wanna go out and shoot a few golf balls at the local driving range.
Kev Costner's Tin Cup lives in a charming, laid back world of run down driving ranges, Waffle House restaurants and golf courses. I could relate to Cup's lazy bachelor lifestyle and diet that consists pretty much of beer, hot dogs and Dunkin' Donuts.
But this is a fun movie about lovable screw up who gets his gold life and love life together. One thing that would have made the movie even better, is if the part of Doreen the stripper had been played by Dolly Parton. Dolly and Cheech Marin would have made a killer on screen couple! It would have bagged Dolly an easy Golden Globe or Oscar nomination. The Golden Globes. With an awards name like that, how perfect would it be for someone like Dolly Parton to win one? Cheers!
Costner is awesome. He makes me laugh with his perfect cockiness. Don Johnson is great as well. You have to love Cheech.
The scene where Cheech (his caddy) and Kevin fight over which club to use is PRICELESS.
If you haven't seen this, and you like golf, rent it tonight.