Books and Movies Reviews

Basketball Diaries

"Culture is the complex whole which includes all habits acquired by man as a member of society," said Ruth Benedict in Patterns of Culture. I can think of no movie that proves that more than Director Scott Kalvert's 1995 film, The Basketball Diaries. Based on the autobiography of rocker and former heroin addict Jimmy Caroll, the movie describes in horrific detail how the author passed in a few short months from being a Catholic high school basketball star to being a strung-out heroin addict who fantasizes about walking into school and blowing students and teachers away with a shot gun. The Basketball Diaries contains incredibly dark and vulgar imagery, which could possibly lead an impressionable youth into moral and value modification and dangerous decision-making skills. Teen violence, particularly in schools, and drug usage became widespread across the news in the 1990's. The Basketball Diaries seems to be an indication if not contributor to this statistic.
People weren't fully aware of the growth rate of teen violence until we had teen idol Leonardo DiCaprio in a long, black trench coat surrealistically blowing away classmates in The Basketball Diaries, and two students in black trench coats walking into their school and killing twelve fellow students and a teacher before turning the guns on themselves. But wait. That last one wasn't a movie. It took place at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999. Two real, living boys, steeped in graphic fantasy movies, including The Basketball Diaries, killed thirteen people and then themselves in a seemingly motiveless display of violence, the consequences of which the boys may not have understood. The sequence in the movie, which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold seemed to replicate in the corridors of Columbine High, has been replayed on the news many times. In this scene you see Jimmy's friends laughing hysterically as he shoots students one by …

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