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Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong
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by William Goss

"Dixie Pride"
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2008 CINEVEGAS FILM FESTIVAL: There is a recurring formula in documentary filmmaking, that of those films which seek to prove that “_______ Are People Too”: rural Bigfoot fanatics, dysfunctional matriarchs, your ‘average’ high school student or steroid user, a choir of senior citizens covering modern pop and punk favorites, and any number of niche rappers. Of similar intent are any number of docs that are out to prove that whatever peculiar activity they’re bringing to light should be respected as a legitimate manner of sport and admired as a greater parable for small-scale underdog victory in this big, bad world of ours.

Last Cup: The Road to the World Series of Beer Pong falls firmly within these parameters, meaning that it informs the viewer of a subculture of which they were probably weren't previously aware. It then proceeds to rely on the drama inherent to any competition – no matter how seemingly trivial – to drive its Big Point home: life, inevitably, is whatever you make of it.

Director Daniel Lindsay introduces us to a sampling of teams from across the nation. From New Jersey hails the teams We Own Your Face and Saddam’s WMDs, while Hummel That Shit and Shawn(Squared) represent their home states of Wisconsin and Maryland, respectively. Varying in degrees of geekiness and cockiness, these four teams are en route to compete against nearly 250 other teams for a $20,000 grand prize at the second annual 2007 World Series of Beer Pong in Mesquite, NV, where all competitors share a comparable huskiness of body and arrogance of mind. One half of leading team Foul Mouthed Whores sums up the whole contest with considerable precision: “I’m at a beer pong tournament. This is, like, the bottom of… these are the dregs of society. Who comes to a beer pong tournament except for frat boys and losers who sit at home and don’t make friends, because I feel like this is the tournament for the socially inept.”

And when one of the best of the bunch is sober enough to make such an astute observation, it pretty much negates any “if I didn’t have this, if I weren’t good at this one thing, I wouldn’t have anything” sentiments that go more frequently echoed throughout. Only a frat convention would be eager to compare itself to the likes of Fight Club, with teams who take their names from Dodgeball and Super Troopers in their collective quest to shed societal norms, such as a post-collegiate career, in favor of old-fashioned bragging rights and, wouldn’t you know it, $20K with which to fuel their training regimen for next year.

'Last Cup' is at its most engaging when showcasing beer pong for its fundamental novelty, when players come from all around the world – i.e. the United States and Canada – to distract one another with all manner of peculiar dress and assess themselves by means of strict statistical analysis. However, more often than not, Lindsay offers up a protagonist or two who quite literally live on Dick Street and whose values in waking up to Coors instead of coffee may never go fully appreciated. Some may consider this game to be a sport, but few could actually call it a life, and those who do only seem to make apparent the distinction between a champion and a winner.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17478&reviewer=409
originally posted: 06/24/08 04:35:39
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2008 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/25/09 Joe Fish How about you not give your opinion on a subculture you know nothing about (It's well made) 5 stars
8/28/09 Joe Everyone should see this! Completely opens your eyes to what pong is all about! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  N/A (NR)
  DVD: 29-Dec-2009

UK
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Australia
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Directed by
  Dan Lindsay

Written by
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