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The Basketball Diaries (1995)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  21 April 1995 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 65,527 users   Metascore: 46/100
Reviews: 146 user | 38 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 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:

Every punk on the block says it's not going to happen to them... but it does. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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 »
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Details

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Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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

Although this movie is based on an autobiography of a person growing up in the 1960s, it appears that there has been no effort to portray that era in the movie. This is evidenced by the fashions, music, cars and backdrops used, none of which are from that era. The following items would be anachronisms if the movie were in fact set in the 1960s: - 1) only modern-era vehicles seen in outdoor scenes; - 2) numerous skyscrapers that didn't exist in background shots, including the Twin Towers; - 3) modern medical equipment used to treat cancer; - 4) Jim and Bobby are on post porn-littered 42nd Street and reminiscing about the time when the area was filled with adult businesses ... NYC mayor Giuliani had the district cleaned-up in the 1990's; - 5) Bobby refers to one porn movie with the title, The Sperminator, an obvious take from the 1984 blockbuster, The Terminator; - 6) A marquee sign in the background reports "Two US helicopters down over Iraq" in reference to the Gulf War in the early 1990's; - 7) During the basketball game where Jim and Mickey are too high to play, there are championship banners dated 1976 and 1988.; - 8) When the cops enter the ice cream store they are wearing 1990s style police uniforms. See more »

Quotes

Jim Carroll: Time sure flies when you're young and jerking off.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Final Cut: Hölgyeim és uraim (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Dancing Barefoot
Written by Patti Smith, Ivan Král
Performed by Johnette Napolitano
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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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