I don’t know why I’m still pissed off about this. Maybe because “Basketball Diaries” was one of my favorite books.
But Hollywood? Here’s a tip for you. If you want to make a movie about a kid who was an all-New York City High School basketball All Star player. A guy who thrived on the playgrounds of New York City where some of the greatest and wildest basketball in the world is played. You can’t hire an actor who looks like some suburban junior high school putz who has no game, is slow and flat-footed, and looks like they have lead up their ass, to portray them in a Hollywood movie called “Basketball Diaries.” You just can’t.
In one interview Jim Carroll talks about some of the high school battles he had on the b-ball courts with Calvin Hill — an incredible athlete who went on to be an All Pro NFL running back for the Dallas Cowboys (and who’s son Grant Hill was an NBA superstar).
During one game Calvin Hill — who was built like a bull — was charging down-court full speed on a fast-break. With Jim Carroll running alongside him all the way in hot pursuit. When Hill went up in the air for the slam dunk, Carroll leaped up with him and pinned the ball against the backboard and they both crashed into each other in mid-air and went sprawling end-over-end into the stands.
If Leonardo DiCaprio had tried to step in front of Calvin Hill he would have been crushed like a bug and probably sent to the hospital.
Jim Carroll was described as having the raw sexuality of a cheetah on the prowl. Leo DiCaprio was described as having the raw cuteness of a guy in a boy-band. Jim Carroll was a guy you might find shooting up heroin in a back-alley with Lou Reed. Leo DiCaprio was a guy who’s poster you’d find hanging on the bedroom wall of a 12-year-old girl. For crissakes, the dude doesn’t even have a JUMP SHOT!!
Sorry, Hollywood. Thumbs down.