For my next trick, I will make you believe that Tin Cup isn’t a giant turd of a movie. To perform this death-defying feat, I will require a willing assistant from the audience, two cups of Canola oil and a Boeing 747 sized bucket of suspension-of-disbelief.
Now, to give credit where credit is due, golf lovers and fans of Cheech alike will automatically appreciate this cinematic pothole. It’s got a whole lot of both and further entertains the viewer with gobs of chemistry between Kevin Costner and Don Johnson. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Kevin Costner and Rene Russo.
So, Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy, by all accounts, is a loser. A one-time golf prodigy, we find Roy toiling mindlessly in East Texas as a golf pro with no clients, surrounded by armadillos and a small posse of pathetic disciples. The most lovable of these hangers-on, and my personal favorite character, is Romeo, played by a brilliant Cheech Marin whom I’ve always loved way more than Chong, but for no discernable reason.
Russo’s deftly played, if not titanically annoying, Molly Griswald enters at the front of the first reel as a shrink searching in vain for a clue. This in an effort to impress her boyfriend who we later find out to be Roy’s nemesis. I hope I didn’t ruin anything there. Well, you’ll never see this movie anyway.
Don Johnson is brilliant. He plays the perfect asshole. He’s smug, self-righteous and he drives a Nissan 350Z circa 1996. Only assholes drove that car. Or so I’m told. His first move is to invite Roy to caddy which of course falls to pieces on the 9th green in the most delightful way as the movie takes its inevitable left turn.
Finally, after much sniping and fanfare – and fueled by a newly rekindled animosity – Roy and David Simms go head to head at the US Open where hijinx ensue. By the end of the ordeal, Roy gets the girl and Simms comes out looking like – you guessed it – an asshole.
The thing I love about Wikipedia is that you can find all sorts of stuff you’re probably not supposed to know. In this case, our digital overlords inform me that this “masterpiece” cost a cool 45 billion dollars. That’s billion with a “buh”.
What I can’t decide is if I’m annoyed by the prodigious waste of cheddar or thankful to Warner Bros. for bolstering the local economy. Kinda like Shopping For America. But instead of buying Diesel jeans and Tupperware, you’re purchasing trite dialogue and permission to use the same pseudo-sports story arch they’ve been peddling since the Egyptian Pharos told their cat-headed children about the time Tutankhamen scored the winning touchdown by throwing a slave’s decapitated cranium through a gold hoop with five seconds left on the sundial.
Again, I don’t think you’ll see this movie. Especially now that I’ve given the whole thing away and you can’t rely on brilliant acting as the sole source of entertainment. But I can tell you that it’s shot really well, I continually enjoy watching Kevin Costner (yes, even in Robin Hood) and it’s got some good golf related footage if you like that sorta thing.
I can also tell you that director Ron Shelton, while I very much appreciate his efforts with this, one of my favorite films, also gave us Bad Boys II. I think you’ll agree that that’s reason enough to bring back public executions.