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. Writers Charlie Haas and Tim Hunter (latter making his directing debut) seem intent on incorporating every conceivable adolescent and adult trauma into their script [from the novel by S.E. Hinton], thus leaving the film with a very overdone, contrived feeling.
Story primarily centers on 15-year-old Oklahoma farm boy Tex, played admirably by Matt Dillon. Growing up with his older brother, while his father is ‘traveling’ with the rodeo, he must deal with family skeletons, school, friends, class distinctions, drugs, love, sex, death, responsibility, etc.