Critic Reviews

46

Metascore

Based on 19 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
88
The tale related here isn't all that original, but the honest presentation lends impact to a wrenching scenario.
75
Rolling Stone
[Kalvert] best serves the movie by simply focusing on DiCaprio, who communicates the spirit and blunt truth of the diaries even when the movie keeps trying to soften the blow.
70
Kalvert and Goluboff overcome predictability by developing the film's characters and atmosphere instead. The result is a turbocharged ode to the lithe bodies and swaggering souls of boys who believe they're invincible - a glorious love song of youthful self-destructiveness.
67
It's an energetic, watchable mess.
60
Without rising star DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg this would have been considerably more turgid and unappealing. But their charm allows sympathy and involvement with the characters, despite their efforts towards self-destruction.
50
Chicago Reader
A sensationalist grunge festival spiked with dollops of poetry on the sound track.
50
The movie is unconvincing. At the end, Jim is seen going in through a "stage door," and then we hear him telling the story of his descent and recovery. We can't tell if this is supposed to be genuine testimony or a performance. That's the problem with the whole movie.
50
The results are more sleazy than insightful.
20
The Basketball Diaries is a stepped-on product that never scores.
20
The Basketball Diaries is a lose-lose proposition. Although it masquerades as a cautionary tale about the horrors of heroin, this epic of teen-age * Angst is more accurately seen as a reverential wallow in the gutter of self-absorption.

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