The Truth About Alex (1986)

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This 1986 HBO movie tackles the subject of homosexuality in a high-school setting. Brad Stevens (Scott Baio), the West Point-bound son of an Army major (Michael J. Reynolds), spends his time at football practice and hanging out with his best friend, Alex Prager (Peter Spence), who's an accomplished pianist as well as an athlete. When Alex spurns a truck driver (Barry Greene) who comes onto him in a service-station rest room, a scuffle ensues, and the guy claims that it was Alex who hit on him. The story gets out around school, but Alex doesn't deny it; he confesses to Brad that he actually is gay. Although Brad's initial reaction is shock and outrage, he slowly realizes that Brad is the same wonderful friend he's always been. Such loyalty doesn't sit well with Kay (Jessica Steen), Brad's status-conscious girlfriend, or with his stern father. Things come to a head the night of the football team's championship game, when the rift between Brad and the rest of the student body threatens the school's chance at going undefeated for the third year running. Adapted from Anne Snyder and Louis Pelletier's 1981 novel Counter Play, The Truth About Alex won a cable-TV Ace Award. In addition to Baio, who was a teen heartthrob at the time of its release, The Truth About Alex starred future sci-fi and TV fixture Steen.