The Basketball Diaries is the movie that showed exactly how much acting potential Leonardo DiCaprio has.
The good. Gripping sad story. Extreme realism and superb acting, you really get into their shoes, very immersive. You get to understand their story, their situation. Tight well executed scenes. Nice camera work. Solid score.
The actors. Not only does Leonardo DiCaprio shine like a true star, but Mark Wahlberg also shows his talent. The rest of the cast is almost as impeccable.
The bad. The end scene on the stage is badly staged. No pun intended. It's a bit awkward, but it's easily forgivable.
The ugly. It pictures drugs as a social disease whereas their use is actually a symptom of an underlying problem. But then, everybody thinks that, because that's the official story.
The result. It's a forbidding tale, but everyone should watch it and understand.