Basketball Diaries (1995)
Basketball Diaries is basically about basketball star Jim (Leonardo DiCapprio) and his going off the deep end getting high a lot. He loses his best friend to leukemia, but loses himself to drugs. He also writes. He’s definitely a charmer. Especially when screaming his guts out in pain for a fix. That’s a turn on if I ever saw one. I still can’t decide if I found that painfully obnoxious, or painfully painful (yes i did use that redundancy thank you very much). But basically if I didn’t know anything about drugs before I certainly do now. On the whole, this true story based on the life of Jim Carroll is very harrowing, and agonizing.
It’s also, you know, overdone? Not to bag on people with terrible drug addictions who think their story is just as awful and heart-wrenching as any other (and it probably is…) but we’ve seen this before. Drugs are bad, don’t drop out of school, the end. Plus I am not a drug addict. It looks pretty awful, no lies, but I couldn’t relate.
On another note, it’s ugly. Yeah, it paints a picture and in some ways it contributes to what’s going on but hey. It’s still ugly.
I didn’t totally hate it though. I’m a Leo fan, and this is one of his earliest (he looks like he’s nine…). Though even with his age he’s far from untalented. I like the guy, and he’s basically why I saw this in the first place. He’s showin’ through some realistic teenage angst. Believable is the word I’m looking for, I think. Some argue that he was over the top, but I didn’t think that for the most part. The other acting is pretty good too (Mark Wahlberg, Bruno Kerby, and Lorraine Brocco). The soundtrack is awesome, the title is fitting. And yeah, it’s memorable. I won’t be forgetting all that drugness anytime soon. Its outline is also effective with a very poetic feel. Oh, and my favorite scene is when they play basketball in the rain. Gotta love it.
Basically if you want to teach how awful life with drugs can be, here’s your movie. Though I probably wouldn’t show it to your kids unless, you know, they’re already overboard. 4/10