Curtis’s Charm

To say that John L’Ecuyer’s lovely black-and-white 16-millimeter (1995) adaptation of an autobiographical story by Jim Carroll–playing at the Chicago Underground Film Fest–is incomparably better than the movie version of The Basketball Diaries isn’t saying very much. Better to say that it’s sweeter, warmer, sharper, and filled with more human understanding than Trainspotting as it deals with a similar portrait of friends going in and out of drug addiction, this time in the lower reaches of New York City. Atom Egoyan and Patricia Rozema served as executive producers, and the performances of Maurice Dean Witt as a crackhead who thinks that his wife and mother-in-law are casting voodoo spells on him and Callum Keith Rennie as the friend who tries to talk him through his fantasy are highly charismatic as well as letter perfect. Carroll, incidentally, likes this movie himself, and it isn’t hard to see why. Theater Building, 1225 W. Belmont, Saturday, August 17, 9:00, 866-8660.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from Curtis’s Charm.