Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time!
Empire's Guardians Of The Galaxy Cover
Does Star Wars Have A Brain Trust?
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Leonardo DiCaprio
Lorraine Bracco
Marilyn Sokol
James Madio
Patrick McGaw
Mark Wahlberg
Juliette Lewis.
Directors
Scott Kalvert.
Screenwriters
Bryan Goluboff.
Running Time
102 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Norte, The End Of History
4 Star Empire Rating
I Am Divine
4 Star Empire Rating
Grand Central
3 Star Empire Rating
Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon
4 Star Empire Rating
Love Me Till Monday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating

Basketball Diaries
Young talented boys throw away therir B-Ball potential.


submit to reddit


Plot
Four Catholic school boy, whose lives revolve around basketball, find their rebellious natures leading them towards less savoury pursuits.


Review

Although the title conjures up images of another no-hopers-to-world-beaters type movie, this is the very antithesis of the predictable all-you-need-is-team-spirit genre. In fact, it focuses on four rebellious Catholic boys, in particular charismatic diarist Jim Carroll, whose adolesence becomes an inexorable downward spiral into drug addiction and crime.
 
          Of the four, only Neutron hauls his life back on track and gains a basketball scholarship, while the others throw away their sporting talents, descending into hustling to finance their habits. The physical Mickey develops a penchant for violent robbery, Pedro’s carelessness inevitably gets him arrested, and Jim’s diary entries turn surreal as his life collapses into vagrancy and squalor.
 
          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. DiCaprio’s performance is further evidence of great things to come, taking Carroll convincingly from schoolboy pranks to harrowing sequences of addication and cold turkey.
 
          This long-planned adaptation of Carroll’s semi-autobiographical bestseller has suffered somewhat in the telling, not least in the rather hackneyed creation of Reggie Porter as Jim’s worldly wise, one-on-one partner. And while never glamorising the effects of drugs, the message remains slightly ambiguous as Carroll finally emerges a sensitive, thoughtful young man as a result of his experiences. The effect is like a John Hughes movie with a monkey on its back.


Verdict
Not exactly upbeat watching but the charm of an early DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg makes this worthwhile viewing.


Reviewed by Darren Bignell

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Basketball Diaries
Empire Star Rating

. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 02:55, 07 April 2008 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
How To Create Your Dragon: The Inspirations Behind The Creatures
DreamWorks' animator reveals the ingredients for the movie's dragons

Video: Mark Ruffalo On Begin Again, Science Bros And Underpants Acting
Plus Empire meets director John Carney and co-star James Corden

Movie Poster Mashups: The Wes Anderson Edition
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be appalled at the punning...

Film Studies 101: Ten Movie Formats That Shook The World
The pre-digital innovations that formed modern cinema

Exodus: Gods And Kings: Ridley Scott's Trailer Breakdown
The director talks us through his enormous Biblical epic

Jay Baruchel Talks How To Train Your Dragon 2
From The Human Centipede to the origin of 'Useless reptile'

Watch: Industrial Light & Magic's Greatest Hits
From Star Wars to Transformers, we run through some of the best individual moments from the special effects masters

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £18!
Special 25th anniversary offer for one month only! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)