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 for more information, to read the first chapter, and how to order.


License to Wed (3/10)

by Tony Medley

I went to this with mixed feelings. On the positive side was Mandy Moore. She captivated me in Chasing Liberty (2004), but hasnít been in much that was any good since. Still, when Iíve seen her I liked her and sheís got a beautiful singing voice.

On the downside was Robin Williams. Except for last yearís Man of the Year heís appeared in a string of turkeys as long as my arm.

Here, he appears as Reverend Frank, a clergyman of unnamed denomination, who requires that betrothed Sadie Jones (Moore) and Ben Murphy (John Krasinski) go through a marital prep class before he will marry them.

This could have been a rollickingly good comedy, but the script obviously had lots of problems, considering the many people who got credit (Kim Barker and Time Rasmussen & Vince DiMeglio, story by Kim Barker & Wayne Lloyd). God knows how many others had input, but the result was some pretty silly vignettes. Just as one example, the final test of Reverend Frankís class is for Sadie to drive blindfolded through city streets, relying only on Benís instructions. For another, Reverend Frank bugs Sadie and Benís bedroom. Yeah, sure.

The idea is that Reverend Frank wants to take the bloom off the rose before they get married instead of letting them grow into their differences after matrimony. Thatís a questionable concept, for sure. But even if Reverend Frankís intentions are pure, what he puts them through is more than most relationships could stand. Thereís no comedy in a preacher causing a couple blissfully in love to fall out of it, only stupidity.

One of the silliest characters in the film is identified as Choir Boy (Josh Flitter), a little boy who is Reverend Frankís right hand person. Heís always there as a fledgling clergyman, I guess. I didnít think his character was funny at all, just silly and offensive, even more repugnant than Reverend Frank, if thatís possible.

Moore could improve some of these weak films in which she appears if she would sing. But she utters nary a note in this film. Thatís not to say that she doesnít do a good job. Sheís a competent actress, and does the best with this material, which isnít even close to being entertaining. It doesnít remotely compare with Chasing Liberty, and that certainly didnít set the box office on fire.

The idea of a Robin Williams-hip clergyman who really knows what marriage is like and tries to prepare couples for whatís to come could be very funny. But it requires intelligence and humor, both of which this film lacks. As to Williams as a clergyman, he canít hold a candle to Bing Crosby.

Unfortunately, although there were some chuckles at my screening, I found this to be stunningly mundane.

June 27, 2007

 

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