Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps said, "I used this book as an inspiration for the biggest win of my career when we ended UCLA's all-time 88-game winning streak in 1974."

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. Click the Book to read the players telling their stories in their own words. This is the book that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information.

Juno (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Forget the Oscar®-nominated mediocrity, Little Miss Sunshine, two better Indies last year were Thank You For Smoking and Hard Candy. Juno unites comedic genius Jason Reitman, who directed the former, with the up-and-coming star Ellen Page, who was the lead in the latter. The result is a poignant, modern romantic comedy, with abundant profanity, about a teenager and her unplanned pregnancy.

How this film came to be could be the subject of a Hollywood film in and of itself. Producer Mason Novick started reading an internet blog by Diablo Cody. He thought her writing was so funny he contacted her and asked her to write a screenplay, based, apparently, on a manuscript she wrote entitled “Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper.” The result was Juno, which Novick read in one sitting and was “blown away.” Clearly, Novick has an eye for talent!

I hear stuff like this all the time from producers who are pushing their films. Rarely are they translated into anything that blows me away. But this one is an exception. While the blowing wasn’t enough to sweep me off my feet, it is a very entertaining movie.

Juno MacGuff (Page) is a high school girl who gets pregnant when she has sex once with her kind of quiet, introspective boyfriend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Instead of being devastated, however, the confident Juno tells her father, Mac (J.K. Simmons, in a terrific performance), and stepmother, Bren (Allison Janney). They react pragmatically with total support when Juno tells them she wants to have the baby and choose a couple to whom to adopt it.

She chooses Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), who seem the perfect couple. All is not what it seems, however, and the film takes off from there with interesting twists, not going where you think it might be going. All the while, Juno is in control.

This is a different take on teen pregnancy than generally seen in Hollywood. Instead of killing it by having an abortion (although she considers it) Juno takes responsibility for her actions (in having unwed sex) and doesn’t sacrifice her child.

Reitman and Cody create Juno as a Peanuts-like individual, a child in appearance only, but one who acts and thinks like a mature adult. The result is a fine comedy with a good moral.

The acting is top rate throughout. I thought Page deserved an Oscar® nomination for Hard Candy. She’s just as good, if not better, here. Simmons, Janney, Cera, Bateman, and Garner are all excellent. Reitman is a budding superstar director, as he gets the best out of everyone. It takes talent to make a comedy out of a serious situation like this, and make it work.

This is a terrific, enjoyable film that applauds the value of life. On the downside, it follows a Hollywood trend of minimizing the importance of a father in a baby’s life, which lowered my rating a skosh.

 November 27, 2007