The Basketball Diaries (1995)
Jamal's Rating: 2 stars
Netflix Average Rating: 3.7 stars
Netflix users overrated this mediocre film about Leonardo Dicaprio as an up-and-coming high school basketballer's descent into coke addiction. The basketball action, for starters, could have been a whole lot better. It's not fun and personal like White Men Can't Jump; the moves are a bit stale and it's not rough like real basketball -- let's just put it a few steps above the laughable balling in Teen Wolf. There are however a couple of good moments, e.g. a great artistic tracking shot of Leo when a street thug meets his demise, or the main character's response to a guy after getting punched in the face. Leonardo Dicaprio just does the whole cocky swagger thing so well, it's hard not to appreciate some of his nice quips. But after the basketball, the screenplay is bogged down by the whole main-character-struggling-to-become-a-writer storyline. It's the easiest way to tell a writer has writer's block, when we writes about the times he writes. The character has a personal sense of satisfaction at the end, like he's "made it", but the audience is much less thrilled. 2 stars.