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.


We Own the Night (5/10)

by Tony Medley

I went to this with the thought that Iíd be watching a Mark Wahlberg movie. Alas, Wahlberg has little more than a supporting role. This is a film about Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix), the brother of Police Captain Joseph Grusinsky (Wahlberg), and the son of Chief Burt Grusinski (Robert Duvall). Bobby is introduced as a black sheep son who changed his last name to his motherís maiden name. Heís the manager of a night club owned by Russians where lots of bad things happen, like drug deals. But Bobby is probably the only person in the world who canít see it, even though Joseph and Burt warn Bobby about whatís going on and what they are planning. That ticks Bobby off, so he leaves to jump his girlfriend, Amanda (Eva Mendes). Even in the throes of ecstasy, Bobbyís not a happy camper.

This is another film directed by the guy who wrote the script, this time James Gray. As such, it follows other auteur-created films who in that it is far too wordy and, at a little over two hours, too long. It looks like itís going to be a slam-bang action film, and there is some action, but itís mostly talk. Actually a large portion of the film is Bobby appearing unhappy and troubled.

The main problem is that the film just doesnít measure up to its potential. Just about everything tried falls short. As an example, the bad guy, Vadim Nezhinski (Alex Veadow), is bland when compared with some of the more well-drawn bad guys who have appeared in recent movies.

The opening scenes of Bobby necking with Amanda are grotesque, poorly directed, and poorly acted. Thereís no reason why Amanda has to be shown pleasuring herself while Bobby kisses and fondles her. I felt uncomfortable throughout the lovemaking scenes which linger far too long. Even though she flashes her nipple, the scenes, which include her blatantly sticking her tongue into his mouth, are more off-putting than erotic.

Gray has made a movie that is defined by its derivativity. We've seen the car chases and shootouts countless times before, although the car chase is pretty well done. Gray couldn't even come up with an original ending. The final dťnouement was originally done almost 200 years ago. It is based on an incident described in James Fenimore Cooperís The Prairie (1827) and Natty Bumpo. I donít guess thereís anything wrong with copying from a master, but it just doesnít have the tension that Cooperís story had and that the film requires. The climax is, well, anti-climactic. It happens, and I felt, well, so what; all this for that?

My watch got a real workout in this one.

October 14, 2007

 

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