The Basketball Diaries | Chicago Reader

The Basketball Diaries

A sensationalist grunge festival spiked with dollops of poetry on the sound track, provisionally derived (by Bryan Goluboff) from Jim Carroll's autobiographical book of the same title. Leonardo DiCaprio does an impressive job as the hero-narrator, but the parade of horrors offered by the script and Scott Kalvert's direction sheds a lot more heat than light on the problems of a Catholic teenager in New York City who plays basketball, becomes hooked on drugs, and enters a life of crime and degradation. Significantly, the movie keeps the hero's reformation offscreen as well as unexplained; it's more interested in shock effects than in candor or elucidation. With Bruno Kirby, Lorraine Bracco, Ernie Hudson, Patrick McGaw, James Madio, and Mark Wahlberg (1995, 102 min.).

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