The movie is so accurately acted, especially by Jim Metzler as Mason and Matt Dillon as Tex, that we care more about the characters than about the plot. We can see them learning and growing, and when they have a heart-to-heart talk about going all the way, we hear authentic teenagers speaking, not kids who seem to have been raised at Beverly Hills cocktail parties.
An unexpected but certainly major force in movies at the moment, S.E. Hinton (with four of her novels being adapted for the screen), created in Tex an utterly disarming, believable portrait of a small-town adolescent. Tim Hunter's film version captures Miss Hinton's novel perfectly.
This adaptation of one of the S.E. Hinton novels that became favorites of high-school kids in the 70s has an amiable, unforced good humor that takes the curse off the film's look and even off its everything-but-the-bloodhounds plot. The earnest naivete of this movie has its own kind of emotional fairy-tale magic.
The film probes the pitfalls of growing up, tackling such subjects as sex, boozing, and fighting--three areas the Disney folks have stayed clear of in the past. Dillon, though occasionally annoying, turns in a decent performance, as do Jim Metzler as his brother and Meg Tilly as his girlfriend.
What Tex will probably best be remembered for is breaking new ground at Disney Studios in representing some of the real problems confronting today’s young people. The teenagers are put in the milieu of drugs, alcohol, sex and violence. Family life is not necessarily rosy and well-scrubbed. Where the picture ironically goes awry is in trying to tackle all of these problems in the space of 103 minutes.