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.


No Reservations (4/10)

by Tony Medley

Itís hard to believe that a movie in which the gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones appears in almost every scene would be such an ordeal to sit through. But director Scott Hicks and screenwriter Carol Fuchs have produced just such a film. Despite the promotion of this film as a comedy, call me crazy, but I like to laugh when I see a comedy.

The sister of Head-chef Kate (Zeta-Jones) is killed in an automobile wreck, so Kate inherits her 9-year-old niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin), to come live with her. Because of her added parental responsibilities, in order to help her in the kitchen, Kate's boss, Paula (Patricial Clarkson), who owns her own restaurant at 22 Bleecker Street in New York City, hires sous-chef Nick (Aaron Eckhart), much to Kateís annoyance.

The intent here is apparently to recreate some Hepburn-Tracy or Hepburn-Grant comedic chemistry. The difference is that Tracy-Hepburn-Grant had funny scripts with which to work. There is little or no humor in Fuchsí script or Hicksí direction.

Breslin does a stupendous job as the grieving little girl trying to fit into a brand new life without her mother. She is responsible for many of the tear-jerking scenes.

One of the unfortunate setups of the film is that Zoe is an illegitimate daughter who doesnít know who her father is. In fact, her mother was apparently had such a low moral tone that she didnít know who Zoe's father was. Iím not sure why the film was constructed this way, unless it was to further emphasize that in todayís Hollywood a father is no longer a necessary part of child-rearing. They could just as easily have had the father become deceased in Zoeís infancy for some reason. But that apparently didnít fit into the agenda of Hicks and Fuchs. It looks more and more that no movie can be made in Hollywood today without some sort of secular agenda.

One of the few things I did like was the music, that includes everything from Opera (lots of excerpts) to folk (The Lion Sleeps Tonight). I also liked the cast. In addition to Zeta-Jones, Eckhart, and Breslin, Bob Balaban makes a nice turn as Kateís therapist, although the scenes are so poorly written and developed that there isnít the slightest hint of humor in them or any reason for Balaban even being in the film.

I didnít see the inspiration for this film, 2001ís European feature Bella Martha,  so canít compare, butís a pretty reliable rule in filmmaking that if a movie doesnít have a premise, it doesnít have a story worth seeing. This is a film without even a hint of a premise. Need I say more?

In case your answer is yes, there is simply not enough story here to justify a feature length film. The total absence of wit and humor doesnít help the meager romance.

July 26, 2007

 

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