Monday, September 12, 2011

The Basketball Diaries (1995)

As you can see, I had a lot of stall outs with trying to watch "The Basketball Diaries". I think it added an extra half hour or so and I nodded off during the last 40 minutes of the movie. 

I was prompted to put this movie on (since I've never seen it) because I'm rereading "Please Kill Me" and Jim Carroll (whose book this movie is based on) has a few comments in it. He talks about his poetry readings with Patti Smith, the time he was thrown in jail and missed a performance of theirs and how he was "terrible hustler". He was referring to a time when he was 15, and turning tricks on 53rd and 3rd (which many Ramones fans know the song about Dee Dee's experience there) in New York City.
So, I thought maybe the movie was about that period in his life. Nope, I guess not. Sure, there were drugs, but I don't recall seeing him (I mean, Leonardo Dicaprio portraying him) as a prostitute (maybe I missed that part). I mean, he nearly breaks Bruno Kirby's nose when he starts coming on to him. I barely know anything about Jim Carroll and I still feel like I don't from watching this movie.  
I always knew of the "People Who Died" song, but I didn't really hear it beginning to end so it didn't stick.  I remember hearing it referenced in a song by Detention called "Dead Rock'n'Rollers". Now it seems out of date because poor Jim died in 2009 of a heart attack.
I was really annoyed with the time setting in "Basketball Diaries". You know that its supposed to be the 1960's, but its obviously not. I mean, a Terminator reference and an "IHOP" (Not International House Of Pancakes)? What am I, an idiot? Maybe the filmmakers thought that it was irrelevant? Or maybe they just didn't care? It could have been a better movie. 


  1. I highly recommend reading "The Basketball Diaries", WAY better than the movie, esp. if you've alreadsy read Legs McNeil's book. When the film came out I saw it with a then girlfriend who lived in Hoboken (where a lot of the movie was filmed) and we had fun trainspotting the locations and picking it apart. A few months later we saw Jim Carrol on the Lower East Side, looking very much like a grey ghost..

    Funny that you should mention "Dentention", in the mid 80's I worked in Hillsborough, NJ which was sort of their stomping ground and all the guys I worked with who were my age seemed to know them personally as they were sort of the "local misfits"!

  2. The timing of that first "Retrieving" screen shot was perfectly awkward.

  3. haha. Wilthomer, that's so cool. I don't know a whole lot about Detention. That song's just always cracked me up and the Killed By Death comps are great. As always, I figured the book would be better than the movie. Although, I read "The Virgin Suicides" and then saw the movie and was thrown for a loop. I probably need to watch it again.

    Movies Hate You Too: yeah, isn't that hilarious? Like I mentioned in the post, I had a hell of a time watching this movie. I can't complain, I have slow, cheap internet. It works fine and that's all that matters. :)