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Dancer,Texas Pop. 81

starring Breckin Meyer, Peter Facinelli, Ethan Embry, and Eddie Mills

written and directed by Tim McCanlies


In the first scene of Tim McCanlies' DANCER,TEXAS POP.81, four boys about to graduate high school (they make up the entire class)read a letter they wrote to Rand McNally asking them to please put their small town on the map. That first scene sets the mood for the charming yet overly sentimental film. These four boys made a solemn vow at age 11 that after their senior year, they would leave Dancer for Los Angeles. Well, they have now graduated, and they have two days to weigh the reasons to stay and to leave. They are pressured by folks with sayings like:"My cousin left to Los Angeles and was murdered in a jail cell". In a moving sequence, one boy is saying how much they've missed out on by living in a small town their whole life. But then another proclaims that L.A.'s millions have missed out on the pleasures of a small town. Our minds are built up so much that we really care in the movie's final scene who will go and who will stay. McCanlies, a Texas native, doesn't give us much in the characters (which include CLUELESS's Breckin Meyer, EMPIRE RECORDS' Ethan Embry, THIRTYSOMETHING's Patricia Wettig, and GROWING PAINS' Ashley Johnson), but what he does provide is a heartfelt film. But we have seen a film about people deciding whether to leave a small town or not. It was last year's SUBURBIA. B

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Akiva Gottlieb

Los Angeles, CA
United States