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Dancer, Texas Pop. 81

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for language

Reviewed by: Jason Turner

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
107 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Ethan Embry, Peter Facinelli, Eddie Mills, Patricia Wettig / Director: Tim McCanlies / Released by: TriStar Pictures

Keller, Squirrel, Terrell Lee, and John

Gentle and easy going, this movie portrays the good in “small town” Texas. Extremely clean and humorous, “Dancer” may even inspire some deep thoughts about the choices we all make for our lives.

The setting is a small town in West Texas where the graduating class is only five. The four boys of the class made a “solemn vow” when they where eleven years old to escape to Los Angeles after graduation. The movie is about the boys decision to actually go through with the vow.

One is an oil man’s son, one a rancher’s son, one an alcoholic’s son, and one is raised by his grandfather. All four are completely different, yet all have a strong friendship. They have a tradition of watching the sunset together across the beautiful landscapes of West Texas. It shows how small towns can form close bonds.

There are many humorous lines and all of them clean. The movie is rated PG for language, but I don’t remember any profanity at all. It contains little references to God, except one scene where one of the boys uses a quick membership in the church choir to catch the eye of a girl. They movie does not ridicule a Christian faith, but it doesn’t revere it either. The respect of good morals is present all through the movie. There are no references to pre-marital sex and there is respect for commitment in marriage. Respect for parental authority is also prevalent.

Overall, this movie can be called entertaining. It is slow and easy going and very picturesque, consisting mostly of outstanding dialogue. It contains many Christian values, but lacks any Christian inspiration. But how many Hollywood productions do? It’s hard to find a “Chariots of Fire” or “Sgt. York” these days!

Lounging in the hot Texas sun
Squirrel (Ethan Embry), Keller (Breckin Meyer),
Terrell Lee (Peter Facinelli) and John (Eddie Mills)
lounge in the hot Texas sun on the road they hope
will lead them out of their small town
Viewer Comments
Thanks for the positive review of Dancer, Texas Pop. 81. As you noted in your review, the film contains many positive examples of traditional Christian values and does not in any way ridicule the faith. This film was not made as a “Christian film” or even as a “family film” per se. It was made because the filmmaker wanted to tell a good story. Too often we see Christians in particular lamenting the dearth of such fare among their entertainment options.

Well, Christians, now is the time to support a wonderful film that you don’t have to be embarassed to recommend to anyone. You know: it’s great EXCEPT for the language, violence, sex. etc. Please support this film which has received EXCELLENT reviews in the L.A. Times, Daily Variety and other respected publications. All reviews, interviews, etc. are linked at my web site: This is a terrific movie for a youth group outing. That’s what we did at our church. Thanks.
Tommy G. Kendrick, “Rusty” in DANCER, TEXAS POP. 81