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.

Ghost Town (1/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime: 102 minutes.

Dr. Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) is such an unlikable misanthrope that this clumsy attempt at a redemptive comedy is as antipathetic as Pincus. Dr. Pincus is a dentist who seems to hate people, and goes out of his way to let them know. Suddenly he dies during a routine medical procedure, only to be revived seven minutes later. Alas, he has been dead long enough that he has become a cross between two worlds, the world of the living and the world of ghosts, which apparently abound in New York City. He can see them and they can see him. And they all want something from him. Apparently they are all there until they can get something resolved and they view Dr. Pincus as the guy to get it resolved, since he alone can communicate between them and the living.

But Dr. Pincus doesn’t just dislike people; he also apparently dislikes ghosts. So he won’t have anything to do with them.

One of the ghosts is Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), who has also died suddenly. Kinnear isn’t given much to work with here, and he doesn’t do anything with it. He is a major disappointment. Frank wants Dr. Pincus to break up the impending marriage between his widow, Gwen (Téa Leoni), to Richard (Billy Campbell).

Although there are a lot of similarities, this is definitely not “Topper” (1937). For one thing, Gervais is a thousand miles from emulating Roland Young, whose performance as Topper, the live person who could communicate with ghosts Constance Bennett and Cary Grant, was nothing short of brilliant. Kinnear is an accomplished comedian, but he can’t hold a candle to Grant, who had the equivalent role in “Topper.” To give Kinnear credit, though, he really doesn’t have much of a shot at anything given the script (David Koepp & John Kamps) and inept direction (Koepp), which are bereft of comedy.

It’s hard to tell whether the film isn’t funny because of bad material or it isn’t funny because of Gervais’ performance. I saw nothing funny in the lines, although the situations could have been pretty funny had they been presented differently. Gervais seemed in way over his head. However, Kinnear has been successful as a light comedian in the past, so I have to think that this fails due to the material and direction.

The only performance I liked in this dismal effort was by Campbell. He overcomes the material and comes across as an actor to watch. Anyone who can take what he’s given to work with here and come out with the performance he gives is a comer.

September 24, 2008