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Copyright, TriStar Pictures, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Dancer, Texas Pop. 81

also known as “Dancer, Texas,” “A semmi közepén,” “Arriscar,” “Dancer, Texas población 81,” “Dancer, Texas, le rêve de la ville,” “Dancer, Texas: Unidos por el destino,” “Filoi gia panta,” “Pop 81,” “Денсър, Тексас,” “Танцор”
MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for language.

Reviewed by: Jason Turner
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Teens • Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
1 hr. 47 min.
Year of Release:
1998
USA Release:
May 1, 1998
Copyright, TriStar Pictures, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment click photos to ENLARGE 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
Copyright, TriStar Pictures, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, TriStar Pictures, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, TriStar Pictures, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment
Relevant Issues

Portrait of Americana

Advantages and disadvantages of living in a very small town in rural West Texas, USA

Quote from film: “Some people aren’t meant to live in a small town. Some can’t live anywhere else.”

4 boys who in junior high school made a “solemn vow” that as soon as they graduated, they were going to get on the next bus to California to make their mark on the world

Bored teenagers

Making life-changing choices

Making good choices

Coming of age

High school friends

Best friends

Ranching

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Featuring Breckin Meyer, Ashley Johnson, Michael O'Neill, Peter Facinelli, Ethan Embry, Patricia Wettig, Eddie Mills, etc.
Director Tim McCanlies
Producer Caribou Pictures
Chase Productions
See all »
Distributor TriStar PicturesTriStar Pictures, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

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!


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
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. 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
Negative—Looked for reviews before watching this movie. Not necessarily looking for a Christian or “church” movie, but have no desire to watch movies with foul language, “sex” or excessive violence in it with my wife and/or children. Had read that language was not an issue in this movie, but would have to say that it was mildly, yet unnecessarily laced throughout the movie, with one outburst at the end. That being said, this was a pretty good movie, with a pretty good message. NOT a Christian movie at all, although there is a church, and even a church service included in the movie. Beautiful backdrop/scenery, and a good ending. For the sake of the “choice dialog” cannot recommend to friends or family.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
Tom N, age 62 (USA)

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