Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as
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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."
more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach.
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the players telling their stories in their own words. This is the book
that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.
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2008 Oscar® Ceremony
by Tony Medley
The 2008 Oscar® show was not just the worst
Oscar® telecast in history, it was one of the worst television shows
anyone has ever had to sit through. It was so bad that it’s difficult to
know where to begin. So, like
Alice in Wonderland, let’s start
at the beginning, which is the Red Carpet.
Where did the women get the ugly dresses they
were wearing? Meryl Streep’s dress looked like she picked it up out of
the trash. The others’ weren’t much better. These women apparently
didn’t want to look glamorous or don’t know how. They dressed as if they
were auditioning for roles in the sequel to “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Glamour clearly wasn’t a part of this year’s Oscar®.
Then the show started. The Oscars® have had
many different hosts. Almost always they have been professional
comedians. While there have been some disasters, like David Letterman in
1994, most have been adequate and some have been huge hits, like Billy
Crystal and Johnny Carson. Each year the show has been pretty good, as
far as I was concerned. Some people constantly criticized, but, except
for the acceptance speeches, the format has served Oscar® well.
This year, however, danger was in the air
because the Academy hired two new producers, Bill Condon and Laurence
Marx. These guys are responsible for “Dreamgirls,” one of the worst
musicals of all time, so trepidation was justified. And they validated
that trepidation by hiring Hugh Jackman, not a comedian, as host. As
might be expected, the first half hour, which consisted of Jackman
trying to be charming and funny, was dismal. This was one of the longest
half hours I’ve ever seen on television. I won’t go into details,
because some of you probably actually sat through it. The only good
thing about it was that the show probably couldn’t get any worse. It
should have been all uphill from there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
More horribly ugly dresses traipsed out on the
stage, right at the outset, because the geniuses Condon and Marx had
hired Philip McKinley as their Director. McKinley decided to get rid of
one of the best parts of the Oscar® shows, the film clips that introduce
the awards for Best Supporting Actor and Actress and Best Actor and
Actress. Instead of clips, McKinley paraded past winners of each award
to make maudlin introductions of each nominee. The acceptance speeches,
which are what generally slow down the show, aren’t as bathetic as what
each of these people said about the nominees. It wasn’t just
uninvolving, it was embarrassing.
But what made it worse was that the first
award was Best Supporting Actress, each nominee introduced by a former
winner of the award. The five former winners were Tilda Swinton, Eva
Marie Saint, Anjelica Huston, Whoopi Goldberg, and Goldie Hawn. Except
for Saint (who was dressed like the lady she has always been), these
women were dressed in the most horrible looking outfits seen this side
of Soviet Russia. What were they thinking? They almost made the horrid
outfit with which Streep ensconced herself look passable (almost, but
not quite; nothing could make that rag look anything but awful).
Later, Reese Witherspoon came out in a dress
that could charitably be described as hideous. But what really set her
apart was her hairdo, which one of my companions described as looking
like the way his housekeeper does her hair when she cleans his house.
Later, when the five women chosen to introduce
the Best Actress award came on stage, their dresses were equally shoddy.
Sophia Loren is one of the sexiest women who ever lived, even at her
advanced years. But she must have asked her designer to pick out the
most unsightly dress he could find, and he succeeded admirably. My date
described Nicole Kidman’s dress by saying, “It would be great in a
different color in a different style.”
What in the world was Sarah Jessica Parker
wearing? Does she really need to wear a push up bra with a dress cut so
that she was sure the tops of her breasts would be pushing out so people
could see she really does have cleavage? Is she trying to make people
think that she has Marilyn Monroe-like breasts? On National television?
In front of billions of people?
When they did decide to show clips, they were
enormously confusing. Instead of introducing each clip separately, they
bunched them together, so you really couldn’t tell what you were seeing.
Then, only after the clips,
someone announced who the nominees were. The bunched up clips were a bad
idea, but simple common sense would dictate that the nominees be
announced before the clips were
shown, not after.
By the time the Best Picture was going to be
announced, I had figured that it couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong.
They had clips. But one could have never anticipated what these geniuses
did. Instead of showing clips of each film separately, they once again
bunched them all together without any introduction. But to make matters
immeasurably worse, they inserted scenes from past winners in with the
scenes of each nominated film. So there we were watching a scene from,
for instance, “Slumdog Millionaire,” and suddenly there’s a clip from “Casablanca!”
They did that with each clip. What’s that all about? My date said that
she thought it must be because the nominated films were so poor in
quality that the producers wanted to remind people that at one time the
Oscars® actually rewarded quality films.
I don’t know what the numbers are going to be
for this show. I have a party every year at the same place for the
Oscars®. This year the attendance was far below what it has been in the
past. One reason, of course, is that the pictures nominated have been
soundly rejected by the viewing audience. Nobody cared who won among the
mediocre, politically-motivated films that were nominated, so they
stayed away. I imagine that the telecast numbers will be the same. I
also imagine that people would have turned it off. I would have, had I
not been at a party. Not only were the nominated films ones in which
people had little interest, but the production was uninteresting and
While I’m at
it, I must comment that when the mawkish acceptance speeches are made,
it always reminds me that these people are actors and one cannot believe
any emotion one sees by them at the podium. It always looks to me as if
they have rehearsed these “emotional” speeches many times. Knowing that
robs the speeches of the involvement one would feel if watching the same
speech by a normal person. Kate Winslet’s gushing acceptance looked
especially suspicious, because it was strikingly similar to her speech
at the Golden Globes.
have been the kiss of death for the Oscars® as a widely-viewed
television event. Sean Penn received an award that should have gone to
Mickey Rourke, and then compounded the felony by offending at least half
the audience by making a political speech. He wasn’t the only one. When
the screenwriter for Penn’s film, Dustin Lance Black, received an award,
he, too, made an offensive political speech. Both gratuitously insulted
people who hold opposing positions, so they gratuitously offended more
than half of their audience. Nobody cares about what these insular
people think about politics (Penn’s education ended when he dropped out
of the Santa MonicaCommunity College
auto mechanics course). When they impose their opinions on viewers, all
they do is turn people off.
As I said a
couple of weeks ago, with the low-quality films that Oscar® has promoted
the past few years, the only reason I watch the show is to see what the
women are wearing. If this year is an example, there goes the last
reason to watch this show.