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The Basketball Diaries Movie Review

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Leonardo DiCaprio's tremendous performance as Jim Carroll is the main reason to watch The Basketball Diaries, which otherwise is your standard drugalogue flick, no better and no worse than many others. Two significant elements that might have supplied meaningful context for THIS drugalogue (Carroll's Catholicism and the time period of his addiction) have been given short shrift here. As long as the story stays focused on DiCaprio, The Basketball Diaries remains compelling. When it wanders into the background that contributed to his drug abuse, my eyes start to glaze over. Carroll's faithful diary entries reveal what seems an effortless glide into addiction, with drugs on hand before and after basketball games. Lorraine Bracco is excellent as Carroll's tough-loving mom, packing more into the role than is in the dialogue. The Basketball Diaries was the first of three depressing overnight videos rented by a 13-year-old house guest. Dead Poet's Society and Forrest Gump followed, and I was one very cynical viewer by evening's end. I don't think that I could have watched The Basketball Diaries AFTER those other two.

1994 (R) 102m/C Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Patrick McGaw, James Madio, Bruno Kirby, Ernie Hudson, Lorraine Bracco, Juliette Lewis, Josh Mostel, Michael Rapaport, Michael Imperioli; Cameos: Jim Carroll; D: Scott Kalvert; W: Bryan Goluboff; C: David Phillips; M: Graeme Revell. VHS

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