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.

Thumbnails October 2008

by Tony Medley

The Duchess (10/10): This atmospheric recreation of late 18th-Century upper crust England, tells the spellbinding tale of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire (wonderfully played in another smashing performance by Keira Knightley), whose life paralleled that of her descendent, Princess Diana, and her cold, cruel spouse, Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes gives an extraordinarily nuanced performance in capturing the Duke’s complexity, raising the idea that maybe there is some feeling in the man, however deep and well-hidden. Fortunately the first rate direction by Saul Dibb, the gorgeous cinematography, set designs, and costumes, keep it from dipping into a maudlin soap opera.

Lakeview Terrace (8/10): Sparkling performances by Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Wilson create tension that slowly increases throughout this thriller about a mixed-race couple that moves in next door to psychopathic LAPD policeman Jackson.

Burn After Reading (7/10): One thing that Joel and Ethan Coen know is how to make movies about dumb people, “Fargo” (1996) being the prime example. This movie is inundated with dumb people. Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand; you name them, they are dumb. But funny. All in all, this is an enjoyable film with an A-List cast that lets you come out of it no wiser, but probably in better spirits than when you entered.

The Women (7/10: Instead of the clever, biting commentary with real meat by George Cukor, Clare Booth Luce, and Anita Loos in the 1939 original, writer-director Diane English’s intent is to “celebrate women” rather than skewering them, which robs the story of its bite. Even so, despite a slow start with unconvincing bonding among the friends, I enjoyed it. Eva Mendes stands out as the airhead mistress and Annette Bening improves after a weak start.

Nights in Rodanthe (7/10): Novelist Nicholas Sparks’ sole goal in life seems to be to manipulate tears. This is no exception. Although there are some really silly “only in Hollywood” scenes, like the morning after a horrible hurricane, Richard Gere hops in his car, parked outside, that looks as if it has just been washed and polished. But this flimsy romance allows women to look at Gere, who I guess is still a hunk, and men to look at Diane Lane (whose beauty leaves me gasping for breath) for a couple of hours, and what’s wrong with that?

Miracle at St. Anna (7/10): Despite some clumsy dialogue at the beginning, some silly dialogue during the initial war scene by screenwriter James McBride, and a crude caricature of a tough-talking detective by John Turturro, after the first half hour director Spike Lee picks this up into an interesting, well-acted war/mystery/commentary on humanity, aided immeasurably by Terrence Blanchard’s Oscar®-quality music and its 90-piece orchestra.

Appaloosa (5/10): Into the middle of New Mexico’s wasteland in 1882, ride laconic Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenson to rid a one street, one block town of bad guy rancher Jeremy Irons, apparently by talking him to death. There’s no reason for the town to exist, other than to make this movie. Despite the fact that it’s comprised of at most 20 buildings, it’s got a newspaper and a train station and a hotel! Even so, the acting of Harris, Morteneson, and Irons almost makes it worthwhile.

Righteous Kill (2/10): Burdened by director Jon Avnet’s annoying extreme close-ups, sitting through this 111-minute debacle is akin to watching two amateur comics giving bad impersonations of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Worse, actually; the comics would at least be funny.

 Ghost Town (1/10): Ricky Gervais is such an unlikable misanthrope that this clumsy attempt at a redemptive comedy is as antipathetic as Gervais. Greg Kinnear, whose career once seemed to have such a bright future, is particularly disappointing…again.