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.

I Served the King of England (1/10)

by Tony Medley

Run Time 120 Minutes.

Slower than a glacier, forty-five minutes into this thing, I said it was shaping up to be one of least entertaining movies I’ve ever seen. Over an hour later, despite prolific female nudity, when it finally ended I realized that that assessment had grossly over-rated it. Reinforcing my opinion, one of my companions at the film asked his wife, “Is this ever going to end?”

Jan Díte (Ivan Barney, younger; Oldrich Kaiser, older) wants to be a millionaire, but he only works as a waiter in restaurants of posh Prague hotels in the days before WWII. Even though he’s short, girls seem to like him. He beds them almost without trying. Soon, after the Nazis took over, he meets Liza (Julia Jentsch), a full-blooded German, marries her, and that’s his big downfall. We meet him at the beginning of the film as he’s being released from his 14 year-9 month prison term. The story is told in flashback.

This is the second film that director Jirí Menzel has made of a novel by Bohumil Hrabal. The first was “Closely Watched Trains,” which won an Oscar® in 1968 for Best Foreign Language Film. Waiting 38 years (this film was released in Czechoslovakia in 2006) didn’t help Menzel’s talent with Hrabal’s books.

The story of his rise from waiter to millionaire owner of a posh establishment is told in a light-hearted manner with music that indicates that it’s all played for fun, but the cinematography and characters are so surrealistic that it seemed entirely phantasmagorical to me.

Even worse, this film is burdened by the same problem that afflicts many foreign-language films, the subtitles often blend in with the background, so they are unreadable. When the subtitles are white, the background is often white. Reading white-on-white is not a rewarding task. With all the amazing special effects that are available today, it boggles my mind that nobody has come up with a way to have the color of the subtitles change so they do not blend with the background.

Having failed the watch test dismally, there’s not much good I can say about this and there really isn’t any reason to spend any more time writing about it. I wasted two hours sitting through it and probably another hour getting there and returning. I’m not about to throw more good time after bad. In Czech.

August 30, 2008