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 7 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. Read the players telling their stories in their own words. This is the book that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.

The Lookout (8/10)

by Tony Medley

I’m not a big TV watcher…of programs, anyway. I loved the first Bob Newhart Show, and Barney Miller is a favorite. I like Raymond and Seinfeld; but not much else. I did watch Third Rock From the Sun for awhile, however, mainly because of French Stewart and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who played the little kid and held his own against all the grown-ups. I thought that Gordon-Levitt was a real comer.

Even so, the odds are against child actors making it as a grown-up on the big screen. For every Natalie Wood there are a hundred Billy Grays (who played the son, Bud, on Father Knows Best, the iconic ‘50s sitcom) who never did anything in the industry after their brief youthful flame. With his performance in The Lookout, Gordon-Levitt shows he’s in Natalie’s mold.

Written and directed with sensitivity and perception by Scott Frank (in his directorial debut), Chris Pratt (Gordon-Levitt) is a bright, athletic, popular high school star from a well-to-do family who has a tragic accident that leaves him brain-damaged. Four years later he’s working as kind of a janitor in a bank, trying to come to grips with his life and hoping that things improve. What Chris faces is formidable, and medically credible; an inability to process into long term memory, which causes him to have to write all essential information in a notebook he must carry at all times; lack of inhibition and emotional liability, which causes him to blurt out things he doesn’t mean to say and to be swept away by intense emotions that come out of nowhere; and a complete lack of organization skills, which can turn a simple task like opening a can of food into an epic battle.

The way Gordon-Levitt portrays the debilitated Pratt is brilliant. He looks and acts normal, but has to write notes to himself to remember to do normal things, like take a shower and use soap. But he looks normal. He lives with a mentor, a wisecracking blind guy, Lewis (Jeff Daniels), who also gives a scintillating performance as a blind man who doesn’t feel sorry for himself. This is a terrific picture that shows handicapped people as people just like everyone else and who can survive in a non-handicapped world.

Unfortunately, Chris is befriended by Gary Spargo (Matthew Goode, who sparkled in Woody Allen’s Match Point in 2005), who plays on Chris’s incapacity involving him in a bad situation. Goode is maddeningly attractive as he cold-bloodedly cons Chris, insinuating himself into Chris’s life even to the point of finding him a girlfriend, a stripper named Luvlee Lemons  (Isla Fisher).  Luvlee herself seems somewhat handicapped in that she is incredibly ingenuous.

This is a 98-minute thriller that slowly builds up to its climax . Chris gets more and more involved in Gary’s master plan causing Lewis’s life comes into jeopardy with nobody but Chris to save him. I fidgeted a little during the first 45 minutes. But the last half kept me from looking at my watch even once.

 April 3, 2007