The Basketball Diaries - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Basketball Diaries Reviews

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Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
Will there ever be a market for a movie about a character who hurries past his drug phase because he can't wait to tell you what he did after he pulled his act together? Probably not.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 24, 2008
Significantly, the movie keeps the hero's reformation offscreen as well as unexplained; it's more interested in shock effects than in candor or elucidation.
Jeffrey Westhoff
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
October 4, 2004
| Original Score: 0/5
Nick Davis
Nick's Flick Picks
April 20, 2004
Crushingly over-emoted and internally inconsistent; for Leo die-hards only, and how many of those are around anymore?
| Original Score: 0/5
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
July 1, 2011
What almost saves the muddled pic from fouling out is the raw dynamic performance by Leonardo DiCaprio... .
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
January 1, 2000
DiCaprio has so much presence that he almost saves the day, but this is a movie that'll make you want to opt for Jim Carrey's The Basketball Diaries.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 12, 2001
You leave The Basketball Diaries believing that Leonardo DiCaprio can do anything.
Alex Sandell
Juicy Cerebellum
April 1, 2003
Okay film that unjustly caused its fair share of controversy.
| Original Score: 2/5
Madeleine Williams
January 1, 2000
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Joe Brown
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
A movie for masochists, an unrelentingly ugly 'Just Say No' propaganda movie, it might have been bankrolled by Nancy Reagan.
Marjorie Baumgarten
Austin Chronicle
January 1, 2000
A stepped-on product that never scores.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Chris Hicks
Deseret News, Salt Lake City
January 1, 2000
Instead of trying to deal with this subject in some insightful way, the movie settles for exploiting and wallowing in the degradation of the central character's downward spiral.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
January 1, 2000
Amazingly, though, even with Kalvert's lack of style and vision, the greatness of DiCaprio's performance is undiminished.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Gary Kamiya
San Francisco Examiner
January 1, 2000
The film's complete refusal to explore anything beyond Jim's collapse and redemption is both sentimental and finally uninteresting.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
February 13, 2001
Although it masquerades as a cautionary tale about the horrors of heroin, this epic of teen-age angst is more accurately seen as a reverential wallow in the gutter of self-absorption.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
Scott Renshaw
January 1, 2000
It looks like Kalvert is trying to imagine what a long form Velvet Underground video might have looked like.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/10
Top Critic
Janet Maslin
New York Times
August 30, 2004
The star shines, but the movie is hard to watch.
| Original Score: 2/5
Emanuel Levy
June 15, 2005
You never understand what really motivated this intelligent adolescent, a gifted basketball player and sensitive writer, to descend into the hellish life of a drug addict and hustler on the mean streets of New York.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5

Palo Alto Weekly
May 14, 2003
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic

Time Out
January 26, 2006
The angel-faced DiCaprio is a gifted actor, but he lacks the authority and physical presence to keep us with him.
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