Basketball Diaries

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

BASKETBALL DIARIES follows the experiences of Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his friends growing up in Manhattan. Jim attends a harsh Catholic school where he is beaten by the priest. The only thing the boys love is basketball and skipping school. After a while, Jim and his friends begin sniffing glue and then cocaine and heroine. Jim gets kicked off the team, out of school and out of his house. He and his friend Mickey (Mark Wahlberg) live from day to day, trying to "score" more drugs any way they can, including stealing and prostitution. Even when a friend tries to straighten Jim out, he goes back on the streets. Both Mickey and Jim end up serving time in jail, and Jim must then decide whether to change the direction of the life he has recorded in his basketball diary. This movie unflinchingly portrays the evils of drug use so graphically that only very hardy souls will be able to stomach it.

If the filmmaker's purpose is to make an anti-drug movie for teens, it misses its mark. The movie delves as much into the sexual activities of the youths as into their drug abuse. There are frequent references to self-gratification, and one scene depicts Jim and a friend going to see a stripper. One of his favorite pastimes is lying on the roof of his building naked, and for fun the boys "moon" passersby. When he gets desperate enough for money, Jim accepts older men's homosexual propositions. Jim and a friend snort cocaine with teenage girls, and later one couple is shown in bed with sex implied. An old lady is robbed, then kicked and beaten. In a gang fight one boy is hit over the head with a bottle and several are kicked and beaten. Jim is spanked by the school priest with a paddle, and one man gets thrown off a roof. Jim's dreams also become violent as he imagines himself shooting his classmates and then getting shot. Over 100 obscenities and several profanities add insult to injury. The violence, foul language and sexual situations all prove that this diary should have been burned up.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
NewLine Cinema, 575 8th Ave., 16th Flr, NY, NY 10018

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (36) times - Mild 12, Moderate 24

Obscene Language: Many (118) times (f-word 72, s-word 37, others 9)

Profanity: Many (10) times - Regular 8 (JC, G-d, J), Exclamatory 2

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (fight with kicking and beating; old woman kicked; boy severely spanked; dreams about shooting classmates at close range)

Sex: None but implied once (unmarried couple in bed)

Nudity: Several times (breast nudity once, male rear nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (references to intercourse, genitals, and self-gratification)

Drugs: Several times (glue sniffing, cocaine and heroine use)

Other: Anti-drug message obscured by other elements

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Over 17

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