The movie “The Basketball Diaries” by Leonardo Dicaprio has a close basis on the same name. It is a transposition of the adolescents of the late 60s brought up in a time, when the author Jim Caroll grew up to a period of about 15 years. It later infuses a period of rock music as experienced by the author.
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The catholic school basketball team of, which Jim is a member is the best team in New York. However, one of their friends has leukemia and languishes in hospital for most of the time. On certain occasions, Jim engrosses himself on note taking for his journal and participates sexual activities as well as beginning to use drugs. This movie is an effective exploration of drug addiction with the performance of Leonardo DiCaprio granting it the position of the greatest proof of heroin addiction with a message for the negative impacts of drugs.
The use of drugs in the film is easily misinterpreted for the first sessions of the movies, if one does not take keen interest in understanding the context. It is easy to think that the movie appreciates teenage use of drugs. However, towards the end of the movie, the message becomes clear and the message against drugs shows clearly and adequately placed.
The performance of Leo in “The Basketball Diaries”, effectiveness of its message and its excellent cinematography gives it an edge in presentation of teachings through entertainment. After the bursting of Jim and apprehending of his friends, using drugs red handed by the couch, disintegration starts taking place in the group and most of the boys lose their essence for being thrown out of the team. Out on the streets, Jim takes advantage of the time without the guidance of his schooling.
He becomes a betrayer, trickster and robs stores. All these are for the fulfillment of his heroin addiction that is slowly overtaking his life and he must find a way of sustaining. Nothing seems to work for him and even Emmie Hudson (Reggie) who is a former addict is incapable of helping Jim in curing his addiction. His great basketball friend and drug friend is Mark Wahlberg and in such influence, he becomes an addict cameo to an extent that he ritualizes heroin shooting in a catholic mannerism.
Given the background of the film, there is a missing aspect pertaining to the psychological constructs and denominational beliefs of Jim. The boy suffers from some inner conflict and that leaves him emotionally derailed given that his upbringing demands a different opinion towards drugs. This was a good catholic boy indulging into drugs and there is definitely emotional and psychological aspect leading him into trouble just like many kids of his age. At first, he is part of the hottest basketball team. Before any match, the team inhales heroin.
They demoralize opponent teams by beating them up and on some occasions even steal from them. However, the obsession Jim has with his journal entries sets him apart from his group. This is a point occasionally addressed through a voice over, though his indulgence in heroin taking before matches comes out pronounced leading to their expulsion from school and even leads to his mothers sending him away from home.
This process takes Jim through several episodes of development stages. He soon realizes that his drugs addiction is overwhelmingly out of control and finds himself moving in with his mother once again. The movie brings out discussions over drugs abuse in a manner that journey with the struggles of Jim in his addiction.
For example, when the boys talk about Wilt Chamberlain as the best basketball player, and later refer to him as “skinhead”, there is a divide between their attitudes regarding the best player around. The must be seeing him as a threat and that is why they look for a means of negating his capabilities through demeaning comments and references.
The movies also takes a shot on the skimpy relationships Jim has with his friends while at the same time, it goes off his personal circles of daily dwellings. The presence of his mother only ensues into their arguing and the priest only presents questioning of the upbringing of Jim.
There is definitely something missing about his parenting religion and schooling and these three aspects led to his acquired character in a manner that leaves questions regarding their specific contribution into shaping the boys life since he ends up as a drug addict and a delinquent in the society.
This was a talented boy but his challenges presents him differently even through film. There ere occasions when he looks older and at times, he is a young teen in need of guidance. This contrasts his characterization depending on the situations. He becomes anguished in time when he despairs and this descent produces an obligatory feel regarding his realization of his drugs situation.
Through psychosocial development, the advancement of age leads to development of resolutions resulting from interactions of environmental challenges where there is the battle between ego and integrity. This is evident in Jim and his team mates and as his ego takes control he lets down his integral guard by going contrary to initial beliefs (Whitbourne, Zuschlag, Elliot & Waterman,1992).
Through the recording of his feelings, Jim indulges in drugs and develops a self- defensive nature for his character. This is a period when there is defiance to all authority figures such as the priest’s rigidity at school and his mother. They enjoy being tough at opponent teams, jumping off risky cliffs and indulging in drugs. The recordings help him to keep track of his practices leading to his point of realization and desire to quit drugs.
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The coming of Emie into his life builds the autonomy of his drug abuse leading him into the creation of an initiative for trust in his mother who plays a key role in accepting his return back home (Bolland, Whitehead & Oldham, 2008). He manages to make a resolution and this is a point when his ego goes down and he has to behave in readiness for making changes for his mature years (Whitbourne, Sneed, & Sayer, 2009).
In the movie, the entertainment contained within lasts for as long as the young boy displays the childish activities of Jim and his group. This fun goes as far as that sort of situation remains intact until the descent of the teams succumbing into drugs onsets such as through Bobby. It is the point of descent in the movie caused by his downfall as it makes the efforts of portraying the frustrations triggered by teenage addiction to drugs.
This shows the worsening of his relationships, though it never gets it right with episodes of his struggles turning overly melodramatic. His running out of money makes the life tough for him and for the audience to a point when it is eminent that there is need for recovery. There are also gay characteristics in the movie reeking possibilities of homophobia and this can easily be related to the single parenting background of Jim and the environment they join.
The turning point of the whole situation comes when the hustle becomes tough for Jim as the gay community takes advantage of him at a toilet just so he can get drugs. The neighborly Emie Hudson guides Jim to a turning point. Jim obviously notices the problem he has and that is his reason for going back home. He can no longer contain the homophobia and clearly desires to clean-up.
Bolland, K., Whitehead, J., & Oldham, M. (2008). A Safety Monitoring Procedure for a Clinical Drug Development Program, with Application to the Assessment of a Novel COX-2 Inhibitor. Journal Of Biopharmaceutical Statistics, 18(4), 737-749. doi:10.1080/10543400802071410
Whitbourne, S., Sneed, J. R., & Sayer, A. (2009). Psychosocial development from college through midlife: A 34-year sequential study. Developmental Psychology, 45(5), 13281340. doi:10.1037/a0016550
Whitbourne, S. K., Zuschlag, M. K., Elliot, L. B., & Waterman, A. S. (1992). Psychosocial development in adulthood: A 22-year sequential study. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 63(2), 260-271. doi:10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.520