The Basketball Diaries

"Very Good"

The Basketball Diaries Review


The Basketball Diaries is a gritty film chronicling the adolescent years of poet/writer/musician Jim Carroll (played by Leonardo Dicaprio). Carroll was a star Catholic high school basketball player, presumably headed for the NBA. Unfortunately, his plans didn't quite work out when young Jim fell into the cruel world of life on the street and heavy drug abuse. He kept a vivid journal of his life and times, hence the title.

This is not your typical coming-of-age story. From the beginning, the antics of Carroll and his exceptionally rude punk friends don't help raise a lot of sympathy for their cause. When the boys (including a surprising performance by "Marky" Mark Wahlberg) get into trouble, mugging elderly women and robbing New York shops, in order to raise money for their drug habits, the temptation is to dismiss them as common hoodlums. But the powerfully realistic performance by DiCaprio, full of all the pain and suffering that comes along with heroin addiction and withdrawal, makes this film almost required viewing for any young person not exposed to the drug culture.

Carroll's early life reads like a textbook of what not to do. The film really gets under your skin and never pulls a punch, with Carroll getting badly beaten, begging for drug money, haggling over the price of dope, and violently shaking from D.T.'s. The movie weaves between reality and the drug-infused, nightmarish dreams of Carroll quite well, and inevitably, pity for the boy win out over disgust for his habit.

The filmmakers want you to recognize that none of this is Carroll's fault, and the vast majority of the movie is composed of various scenes of the effects of the drugs: over and over again. The repetition, while effective, gets a little tedious, having the impression more of a music video rather than a movie. Also, the preachiness of the film's theme (Drugs are bad.) isn't exactly subtle, and the unavoidable happy ending gives The Basketball Diaries the flavor of a Public Service Announcement.

Still, it's worthwhile. This film won't encourage you to start that heroin habit any time soon.



The Basketball Diaries

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st April 1995

Distributed by: PolyGram Video

Production compaines: New Line Cinema, Island Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jim Carroll, as Jim's Mother, James Madio as Pedro, as Mickey, as Swifty, as Neutron, as Diane Moody, as Bobby, as Reggie, Manny Alfaro as Manny, Cynthia Daniel as Winkie, as Blinkie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.