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The Basketball Diaries (1995)

A teenager finds his dreams of becoming a basketball star threatened after he free falls into the harrowing world of drug addiction.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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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 »

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Details

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Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries  »

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Box Office

Gross:

$2,424,439 (USA)
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Company Credits

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mark Wahlberg was widely felt to look too old to play a teenager. See more »

Goofs

When being picked up from the snow by Reggie, Jim bends his left leg even though he is supposed to be unconscious. See more »

Quotes

Jim: Know this. There's different types of users of junk. You got your rich dilettante square-ass who dabbles now and then and always has enough money to run off to the Riviera if he feels he's fucking around to the danger point. Street junkies hate these pricks, but they're always suckers, and their money makes them tolerable. Then you got your upper-middle-class Westchester preppies... same as the others, basically. What they're good for is opening their mommy and daddy's eyes to this social virus...
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Soundtracks

Coming Right Along
Written by Jon Auer (as John Auer), Ken Stringfellow
Performed by The Posies
Courtesy of Geffen Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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