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.


Knocked Up (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Knocked Up is a knock out. I donít say that lightly. First, except for TVís The Larry Sanders Show Iíve not been a fan of much of writer-director Judd Apatowís work. I didnít like 40-Year Old Virgin (2005), and I detested Taladega Nights (2006) and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004). So I went into this with low expectations.

Even though this is a comedy, it deals with controversial issues head on. Alison meets Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) in a bar and they have a drunken night of sex, even though she is a well-spoken lady and heís an uncouth, profane lout, at least thatís what he appears at the outset. The entire concept is based on this less-than-ordinary guy getting lucky with a gorgeous, talented woman. Sheís a beautiful, refined woman, with a great job working for ďEĒ entertainment as an on air interviewer. Heís basically a bum with no job and no money. Even though thatís the concept, it bothered me the entire movie because I just couldnít accept the idea that these two people could have a chance at a relationship, or that she would even try, even if she did get pregnant with him.

But Apatow has an explanation, ďBasically, I try and make these movies with the thought that theyíre about trying hard not to be an asshole.  Any story about the journey toward how to be a good person and what it takes to get there is funny to me.Ē It seems as if everyone in this film, except for Alison, is a jackass. But Apatow has them moving towards betterment.

When Alison calls Ben eight weeks later to tell him sheís carrying his baby, their worlds are set topsy-turvy and the hilarity begins.

One place where Apatow excels is when people are having serious fights about serious matters. If you listen to what they are saying and what the issues are, these are, well, serious. But Apatow makes them sidesplittingly funny. Thatís talent.

Alison lives with her domineering sister, Debbie (Leslie Mann, Apatowís wife in real life) and her henpecked husband, Pete (Paul Rudd), both of whom are brilliantly comedic. They have serious problems of their own. Added to the mix are their daughters, Sadie and Charlotte (Maude and Iris Apatow, respectively; yes this does look as if there is some nepotism involved here. But itís good nepotism because both Maude and Iris are charming).

There are two kinds of laughs you have in a film. One is where you donít really laugh, but you see or hear something humorous and so you chuckle aloud. Thatís not a laugh, itís a chuckle. Thatís what you see mostly in films today. Then there are real laughs, where you just donít have control of yourself. I havenít laughed this hard or long in a movie since Freaky Friday (2003). It is so rare these days to get a real long belly laugh from a film, but I was laughing uncontrollably in parts.

That said, this has content that could easily be offensive to many segments of society. Planned Parenthood and others who never saw an abortion they didnít like wonít be pleased. This shows a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy actually deciding to carry it to term and give birth. It shows ultra sounds of the fetus from eight weeks on, every month. Seeing the fetus as it develops into a person so fast, itís hard for the pro-abortion crowd to argue that that fetus is something to be killed at will. Thatís why they donít want women who face the decision of whether or not to abort to see what it is they are actually killing.

It could also offend people who think that babies should be the result of marriage. I am one of those, but the fact is that millions of pregnancies occur out of wedlock. This deals with that real and practical fact head on in an intelligent, sensitive, and humorous way.

Also, there is abundant usage of the ďfĒ word. Ben and his four roommates (JONAH HILL, Accepted, Superbad, Evan Almighty; JASON SEGEL, How I Met Your Mother; JAY BARUCHEL, Million Dollar Baby; and MARTIN STARR, Freaks and Geeks) are low class vulgarians who live in filth and use four letter words constantly. I didnít find any of them even the slightest bit humorous.

Heigl clearly has a ďno nudityĒ clause in her contract (and kudos to her for that) because the sex scenes contain no nudity. That might disappoint some. There is nudity during the birthing scenes, however.

So there are lots of things here that can offend people who choose to be offended. I say, relax and enjoy it. Despite the controversial subject, this is a very funny movie.

June 2, 2007

 

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