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Based on 19 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 2 )
  • 75
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    [Kalvert] best serves the movie by simply focusing on DiCaprio, who communicates the spirit and blunt truth of the diaries even when the movie keeps trying to soften the blow. show more

  • 50
    Edward Guthmann San Francisco Chronicle

    Basketball Diaries is an earnest, botched effort to do justice to Carroll's book. Amazingly, though, even with Kalvert's lack of style and vision, the greatness of DiCaprio's performance is undiminished. show more

  • 88
    James Berardinelli ReelViews

    The tale related here isn't all that original, but the honest presentation lends impact to a wrenching scenario. show more

  • 63
    TV Guide

    Jim Carroll's dreamy, pseudo-poetic memoir of a misspent New York boyhood - standard equipment for alienated adolescents of the 90s - is predictably re-tooled as an anti-drug message vehicle. show more

  • 50
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    The movie is unconvincing. 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. show more

  • 50
    John Petrakis Chicago Tribune

    It's more of a pastiche, a montage of brutality, a slow descent into Dante's Inferno until we reach the subbasement of a boy's soul. [21 Apr 1995] show more

  • 38
    Jay Carr Boston Globe

    It's not boring to watch, but in the end it's too lame and too tame. [21 Apr 1995] show more

  • 25
    San Francisco Examiner

    Imagine if "On the Road" ended with Sal and Dean settling down in the 'burbs. Or if the carnal encounters in Henry Miller's "Sexus" were prefaced with admonitions to the reader not to "objectify" women. The Basketball Diaries is a similar travesty: It turns a celebration of outlaw life into a just-say-no cautionary tale that Nancy Reagan would love. show more

  • 60

    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. show more

  • 20
    Marjorie Baumgarten Austin Chronicle

    The Basketball Diaries is a stepped-on product that never scores. show more

  • May 24, 2014 paulandhisladies
    Report This User

    I saw this movie probably 15 years ago. I felt the mothers pain when she had to refuse her son. I only saw this movie once and it had a lasting impression on me. Its a gut wrenching tear jerker.

  • January 16, 2012 babylez954
    Report This User

    Best movie of all time!

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