Tonight’s major motion picture is Ron Shelton’s Tin Cup, which is one of my absolute favorite romantic films ever made. But it’s more than a great romance – it’s a great sports movie, it’s a terrific buddy film, and most importantly, it’s a wonderful piece about human beings and all their persistent foibles and inconsistencies, with great dialogue, sensible plotting, and big, organic laughs. You know, the sort of movie that would never be made today. Starring an amazingly relaxed and extra-charming Kevin Costner as a should’ve-been/could-still-become golfing legend, he was paired up with the effortlessly sexy Rene Russo, and bam! Massive screen chemistry! They seriously smolder in this film, looking totally in love, and sharing such a great sense of old-school charm and rapport with each other that I’ve long considered this to be one of the most under the radar movie romances out there. The golfing footage is remarkable on a technical level, there are more than a few major comedic set-pieces, and the final 20 minutes are lump-in-the-throat perfect. I’ve always been a big fan of Costner, and this is easily one of his best performances, if for no other reason that he just seemed so at ease in Roy McAvoy’s skin.
And, if rumors are to be believed, Costner handled most of the golf action on his own, which is probably why the entire film feels so authentic when out on the course. Which is ridiculous because on top of being a total bad-ass and handsome and a great actor, Costner can play golf like a total champ. An impressive supporting cast of colorful character actors were along for the ride, including Cheech Marin as Costner’s faithful caddy, and Don Johnson as the oily romantic and sporting rival; the long-ball challenge is a terrific scene. Shelton has long been an ace in the hole for me as a filmmaker, having crafted some of the A-1 best sports movies of all time – Bull Durham, Cobb, White Men Can’t Jump, and the scrappy and underrated Play it to the Bone are all directorial efforts, while he also mixed in some genre efforts with the cop sagas Dark Blue and Hollywood Homicide, while also contributing to the scripts for Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II, the underrated actioner Under Fire, and William Friedkin’s college basketball expose Blue Chips. But it’s Tin Cup that I find myself continually revisiting; it’s a comfort blanket movie that feels just right.
Review by Nick Clement