Picks and Pans Review: Tex
With Tron, the Disney studios used video games to get at the hearts and pockets of the Pac-Man generation. They met with limited success. Now, with Tex, they're taking a different, more personal route, and if nothing else, this success proves even young men do not live by silicon chips alone. Based on S.E. Hinton's 1979 novel about two Oklahoma teenage brothers getting by without a mother (she's dead) or a father (he rides the rodeo circuit), Tex is the kind of film bound at first to strike most as wholesome, ho-hum, adolescent pandering. Nothing like it. First-time director Tim Hunter and co-screenwriter Charlie Haas (they co-wrote the 1979 gang film Over the Edge) have captured both the grace and grittiness of Hinton's prose. Sex, drugs, violence and racism have rarely reared their heads in a Disney film. That they do so here, realistically, is a credit to all concerned. Playing the title role—a shambling 15-year-old with few interests past his horse, his girl and practical jokes—Matt Dillon is a revelation. His macho hood roles in Little Darlings and My Bodyguard earned him teen hunk status. Tex, in which his face shows the play of thought in fresh, unexpected ways, raises him to the level of a young Paul Newman. Dillon, now 18, finds humor and honesty in the role with a disarming lack of guile. Jim Metzler, as Dillon's ulcer-ridden older and smarter brother, is also excellent. When the plot lurches into melodrama, the actors always wrench it back on track. Tron was an ambitious first attempt by Disney to change with the times. Tex—by showing that you cannot do it solely by computer—is its first triumph. (PG)
On Newsstands Now
- Angelina: Inside Her Brave Choice
- New Details on the Ohio Three
- Prince Harry Takes America!
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine