Based on the cult novel of the same name, The Basketball Diaries follows the teenage travails of Jim Carroll Leonardo DiCaprioas he sinks from star high school sports player to smacked-up down-and-out, ultimately finding redemption through his writing. His experiences range from abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, the death of his best friend from leukemia, being thrown out by his mother, and trying to rent out his own body to stay alive. It's not a happy film, but its sensitive portraits of disaffected teens struck plenty of chords in its audience: it deals with abusive authority figures, escapism through drugs and masturbation on a rooftop.
The book, which is generally referred to by its main title alone, had started appearing in excerpt form throughout the late s and early s in various literary publications. Carroll claimed that the diaries were written at the time in which the events related took place. However, some critics wondered how much the diaries were edited before publication, especially since the book includes many outrageous incidents.
At 47, Jim Carroll, with his mop of strawberry blond hair, seemed incredibly boyish standing behind the lectern, in his black jeans, T-shirt and jacket, Saturday at Little Brothers for his sold-out spoken-word performance. Audience members ranged from those in their thirties to those who looked as if they had just turned 18, from the leather-clad and pierced to the baseball-capped and clean-cut. Undoubtedly, very few can captivate an audience with a tale of genital affliction, yet Carroll has his own tongue-in-cheek style that can transform odd, perverse and, at times, morbid subject matter into something humorous and entertaining.
Leonardo Dicaprio taught me to masturbate. Firstly it was the mechanics. I had been told that wanking was depraved and dirty; it was something you accused others of doing, but never did yourself.
Can an acting tour de force redeem a muddled movie? DiCaprio is electrifying in a bust-out star performance that charged the Sundance Film Festival in January and will spark more award talk when Diaries opens nationwide in April. DiCaprio plays Jim Carroll, the Irish Catholic street kid from New York who was 13 years old in when he began writing a diary about shooting hoops and heroin.
Sandwiched in between harrowing depictions of DiCaprio's smacked-up character Jim Carroll experimenting with hard drugs, it's a bit weird that this second episode got all the attention it did. After all, the film is about a high school Basketball Jones who spirals out of control and resorts to shooting up heroin, not a kid who can't get laid. But as for the near-instantaneous spot of self-service?
In the '80s, nobody talked about beating off; masturbation was something to accuse the creepiest, most maladjusted kids in school of practicing. In Parenthooda young Joaquin Phoenix credited as Leaf nails the part. He sneaks out of his bedroom with a furtive look, a mysterious grocery bag under his arm, and a monosyllabic response to questioning.
Chronicles how author Jim Carroll transformed himself into a drug addict and hustler. Leonardo DiCaprio stars. Some peep-show nudity. Teens moon the passengers on a boat.
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