The Basketball Diaries (film)

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The Basketball Diaries
The Basketball Diaries Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Scott Kalvert
Produced by Liz Heller
John Bard Manulis
Written by Jim Carroll
(Novel)
Bryan Goluboff (Screenplay)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio
Lorraine Bracco
James Madio
Mark Wahlberg
Bruno Kirby
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography David Phillips
Edited by Dana Congdon
Production
  company
Island Pictures
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s)
  • April 21, 1995 (1995-04-21)
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2,424,439[1]

The Basketball Diaries is a 1995 American drama film directed by Scott Kalvert, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, James Madio, and Mark Wahlberg from the non-fiction work of the same name. The film centers around Jim Carroll (DiCaprio), a promising teenage basketball player who develops an addiction to heroin with his misguided friends.

The film was shot in New York City.

Plot[edit]

The film is an adaptation of poet and memoirist Jim Carroll's (Leonardo DiCaprio) juvenile diaries chronicling 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 appetite for cocaine and heroin all 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 cannot 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, which ultimately ends with Jim's incarceration in Riker's Island. After months in prison, he leaves and later does a talk show about his drug life, after turning down free drugs from his old friend, Pedro. The film is set in the early 1990s, while Carroll's actual book recounts experiences from growing up in the 1960s. Jim started out as a practice basketball player, and moved on to write The Basketball Diaries.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film currently holds a 46% "Rotten" rating at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.[2] Roger Ebert gave two stars out of four, concluding, "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."[3] Many critics also praised Wahlberg's performance.[citation needed]

Lawsuits[edit]

After the 1997 Heath High School shooting, activist and disbarred lawyer Jack Thompson brought this film into a $33 million lawsuit in 1999 claiming that the film's plot (along with two internet pornography sites, several computer game companies, and makers and distributors of the 1994 film Natural Born Killers) caused the 14-year-old Michael Carneal to shoot members of a prayer group. The case was dismissed in 2001.[4][5]

The same year, the film became controversial in the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre and the Heath High School shooting, when critics noted similarities between these shooting attacks and a fantasy sequence in the film in which the protagonist wears a black trenchcoat and shoots six classmates in his school classroom. The film has been specifically named in lawsuits brought by the relatives of murder victims.[6][7][8][9]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Basketball Diaries soundtrack was released in 1995 by PolyGram to accompany the film, featuring songs from Pearl Jam and PJ Harvey. AllMusic rated it three stars out of five.[10]

No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "Catholic Boy"   Jim Carroll Jim Carroll with Pearl Jam 3:05
2. "Devil's Toe"   Jim Carroll Graeme Revell with Jim Carroll 0:56
3. "Down by the Water"   P J Harvey P J Harvey 3:14
4. "What a Life!"   Glyn "Bigga" Bush, Richard "DJ Dick" Whittingham, Rob McKenzie Rockers Hi-Fi 4:02
5. "I Am Alone"   Jim Carroll Graeme Revell with Jim Carroll 1:33
6. "People Who Died"   Jim Carroll, Brian Linsley, Steve Linsley, Terrell Winn, Wayne Woods The Jim Carroll Band 5:00
7. "Riders on the Storm"   Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek The Doors 6:56
8. "Dizzy"   Ty Willman, Mari Ann Braeden, Danny K, Bob "Mink" Martin, Steve Ross Green Apple Quick Step 3:10
9. "It's Been Hard"   Jim Carroll Graeme Revell with Jim Carroll 0:53
10. "Coming Right Along"   Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow The Posies 6:17
11. "Strawberry Wine"   Salvadore Poe, Adam Flax Massive Internal Complications 3:59
12. "Star"   Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy The Cult 5:00
13. "Dream Massacre"     Graeme Revell 1:23
14. "I've Been Down"   Flea Flea 4:38
15. "Blind Dogs"   Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil Soundgarden 4:40
Not featured on CD
No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "Dancing Barefoot"   Patti Smith, Ivan Kral Johnette Napolitano  
2. "Watusi Latin Boogaloo"   Joey Altruda The Joey Altruda Latin Explosion  

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=basketballdiaries.htm
  2. ^ "The Basketball Diaries". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Basketball Diaries". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  4. ^ Chalk, Andy (2007-07-07). "Legally Insane: A History of Jack Thompson's Antics". The Escapist. Retrieved August 8, 2009. 
  5. ^ AP (April 13, 1999), Media Companies Are Sued in Kentucky Shooting, The New York Times 
  6. ^ Carter, Nick (1999-05-06). "Linking of 'Basketball Diaries,' Columbine Shootings Upsets Author". CatholicBoy.com. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  7. ^ "Moral Panics and Violence in the Media". Mediaknowall.com. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  8. ^ "Media Companies Are Sued in Kentucky Shooting". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  9. ^ Sink, Mandy (2002-03-06). "National Briefing: Rockies; COLORADO: COLUMBINE LAWSUIT DISMISSED". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  10. ^ The Basketball Diaries (film) at AllMusic

External links[edit]