The Basketball Diaries is an autobiographical account of high school basketball hero, Jim Carroll. It chronicles his experiences growing up on the cold, hard streets of New York and his descent as a teenager from gifted basketball player and writer to drug addict and hustler.
Watch Margaret's entire review in the above video.
Margaret: The problem with stories about drug use and abuse is that they're basically all the same and zonked out people are boring on screen. Jim Carroll's stories about his misspent youth were first printed in the late 1960s. The book of 'The Basketball Diaries' was published 1978. Perhaps the book has an immediacy, a poetry, that just can't be captured on film. Leonardo DiCaprio is a fine young actor, but he's slightly less interesting in this film than his others. However the performances are generally solid. Lorraine Bracco plays Jim's mother beautifully. Director Scott Kalvert, who made his name directing music videos, tends to labour the point with this, his first feature.
Rob Lowing: It feels as though you've seen time and time before, but of course its saving grace is Leonardo DiCaprio who's fantastic in it: he has this impish, mischievous little face, so that you really want to follow him, even when there's this leaping characterisation, whereby he suddenly graduates from sniffing what looks like pure and simple oven cleaner onto hard drugs, which I found in context a little hard to believe, that he would actually get into needles at that point. But he is worth watching, he deserves an Oscar nomination and hopefully he'll be up there for next year. ★★★ ½