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The Basketball Diaries (1995)

R  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  21 April 1995 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 72,420 users   Metascore: 46/100
Reviews: 151 user | 39 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's epistle about his kaleidoscopic free fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Marilyn Sokol ...
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Roy Cooper ...
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Construction Worker (as Vinnie Pastore)
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Jimmy Papiris ...
Nick Gaetani ...
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Bobo (as Alexander Gaberman)
Ben Monk ...
Tommy (as Ben Jorgensen)
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Storyline

Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's epistle about his kaleidoscopic free fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school basketball squad, Jim's life centers around the basketball court and the court becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. A best friend who is dying of leukemia, a coach ("Swifty") who takes unacceptable liberties with the boys on his team, teenage sexual angst, and an unhealthy appetite for heroin -- all of these begin to encroach on young Jim's dream of becoming a basketball star. Soon, the dark streets of New York become a refuge from his mother's mounting concern for her son. He can't go home and his only escape from the reality of the streets is heroin for which he steals, robs and prostitutes himself. Only with the help of Reggie, an older neighborhood friend with whom Jim "picked up a game" now and then, is he able to begin the long journey back to sanity. Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of the death of innocence and the birth of an artist See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic depiction of drug addiction with related strong violence,sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross:

$2,424,439 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many links to The Sopranos - Lorraine Bracco (Dr Melfi) plays Jim's mom. Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) plays the friend who dies of Leukemia. Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy) is the guy that gets vomited on whilst on the ferry. See more »

Goofs

In the "dream" scene, when Jim is shooting his classmates, the one who gets shot in the back has a visible string attached to him which pulls him to the blackboard. When Jim has a vision on the basketball court and gets blown by explosion, the string is visible again. They were dream sequences, but it seems unlikely that he would dream of strings. See more »

Quotes

Mickey: I'll tell you what, if our school was this nice I would go there more than once a week.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Absence (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

What A Life
Written by Glyn Bush, Richard Whittingham, Robert McKenzie
Performed by Rockers Hi-Fi (as Rockers HiFi)
Courtesy of 4th & Broadway / Island Records Ltd.
Sample: "Da Bridge Beats" courtesy of Nubian Cracker Productions on Slammin' Records
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User Reviews

 
Another heroin-addict diary...
22 August 2004 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

When you've watched plenty of movies based on some drug-addict life story you can't help compare them... I mean, the story is always the same: a guy begins having drugs for fun, or because he's boring, or just because he's young and wants to try new experiences, then he gets hooked, starts to rob or to prostitute himself, and eventually ends up in prison. That's what we see in Christiane F., El Pico, Trainspotting, Drugstore Cowboy... There may be differences in the form, and in the characters, but the content is always the same.

The dinstictive feature of Basketball Diaries is that the main character actually exists: Jim Carroll, a writer-singer-performer born in NYC in the 50's. And this is supposed to be his autobiography (or the cinema adaptation of some diaries he wrote when he was a teenager, heroin-addicted). Because of that, Basketball D. is more poetic than the rest of the movies I named before, the voice over of DiCaprio's character is present all along the film, telling us about his thoughts (rather nihilistic's) , with a style near to Burroughs or Jack Kerouac, urban poetry, tough and without ornament. Maybe that's the strong point of Basketball Diaries, because movies such as Christiane F. or El Pico recreates much better what it means to be a drug-addict, they're much more explicit, more dirty, much harder...

DiCaprio's performance deserves a new paragraph, 'cause it's simply astonishing. His best performance EVER, plenty of different shades. As he did in Gilbert Grape or This Boy's Life, he shows us how versatile he can be. If only he'd choose better the films he works in.

My rate: 7/10


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