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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.5%
Worth A Look: 42.5%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 7.5%

5 reviews, 10 user ratings

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Cup, The (1999)
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by Chris Parry

"Quaint. Monks are amusing. More popcorn please."
3 stars

Bhutan's first feature film is fun stuff. We could pretty much end the review here, because that's the start, middle and ending of things. The Cup is not going to change lives, it's not going to resonate or be held as an example of how to further the art. It's just a guy with a simple story, a camera crew and a bunch of monks who are prepared to play pretend over the course of a film shoot. You watch it like you your granny's slides. They're not enthralling, but you sit with a smile because... well... you're supposed to. Everyone else is. Pass the beer nuts, aunt Ethel.

When a Tibetan monastery in exile gets a few new young recruits amongst it's ranks of monks-to-be, the onset of the World Cup gives the young ones something more important than religion to think about for a while. And as the football fever grows throughout the temple, the older monks find it harder to deal with.

So what's the essence of The Cup? It lives and dies on the strength of "cute value". Yeah, it's cute watching an old monk learning about football for the first time ("Two nations fight for a ball." "When do they do this?" "About midnight I think." "Strange time for a fight.") and yes it's cute watching the lead monk-kid putting it over on his seniors in the pursuit of catching a game. But that's all it is, all it tries to be, all it succeeds in being.

Have you ever been told a joke by a priest? It's kind of odd. You listen respectfully to every word, then when he delivers the punchline you giggle quietly and nod with a big goofy grin as if to say "oh yeah, that was very good, thanks for sharing". It might have been amusing, even funny, but it just doesn't come naturally. You just can't stop thinking to yourself that if this guy just stepped out of the frock once in a while and hit a downtown gin joint he'd soon learn that the one about the rabbit and the chicken was a biggie at the 1903 joke writer's convention and doesn't really have them rolling in the aisles these days.

In comparitive terms, The Cup is like Michael Caine getting the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Cider House Rules. Nobody is going to slag him off because he's a nice bloke and he's achieved a lot. Everyone says "great speech" and "oh, he had it coming for a while" but nobody is prepared to stand up and say "well, he actually just wasn't that good here and Tom Cruise must be pissed."

Perhaps that's being hard on The Cup and even harder on The Cainster. Both have certainly achieved much and respect should go to them for getting done what they've got done. But let's put it all in persective - both of them are little works getting a lot of press that will be forgotten pretty damn quickly.

Thanks for coming, nice one mate, but I'm off to see Gladiator again.

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originally posted: 04/01/00 00:59:03
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User Comments

12/28/04 Monks is playas too Don't hate the playa, hate the game 3 stars
3/29/04 Monks Are Gay Monks are lame, Fuck them in there stupid ASSES! 1 stars
3/28/04 Mark The Cup is The Crap, The End 1 stars
3/24/04 lorraine fun movie 4 stars
10/01/03 Maru A sweet and yet realistic look at this Buddhist monastery in exile. 5 stars
7/15/01 harry monk it's shite. damn monks. they deserve to be butt fucked 1 stars
4/30/00 Bokonan A really fine comedy with an underlying message that is delivered gently. 4 stars
4/25/00 Pix a cleansing experience 4 stars
2/08/00 Jason Russell Sweet and engaging 4 stars
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Directed by
  Khyentse Norbu

Written by
  Khyentse Norbu

  Jamyang Lodro
  Orgyen Tobgyal
  Neten Chokling

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