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.


Traitor (5/10)

by Tony Medley

Run Time 100 minutes

Guy Pearce, who plays FBI agent Roy Clayton, said, “This films deals with a subject many people might find difficult to deal with.” What he’s talking about is that it’s a story that was born with comedian Steve Martin and put onto celluloid by writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff about a devout Muslim, Samir Horn (Don Cheadle), who might be devoting his life to exposing radical Islamic extremists. Nachmanoff is the right guy to convert this dubious idea to film because his last film was the ludicrous “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), one of the most ridiculous films ever made, which he co-wrote with Roland Emmerich. Just as the facts in that film were imbecilic, trying to create an Islamic hero defending the good guys is just as out of touch with reality. If only there were some Muslims who would stand up to the terrorists, we wouldn’t be fighting a war in Iraq.

Samir knows how to make bombs and he’s deeply involved in a group trying to blow up people, especially Americans. Roy Clayton (Pearce) and Max Archer (Neal McDonough) are FBI agents combating Islamic terrorism and they have Samir in their sights. Omar (Saďd Taghaoui) is one of the prime movers in the terrorist group and is Samir’s friend. Leyla (Mozhan Marno) is Samir’s girlfriend. Carter (Jeff Daniels) is apparently running Samir as an off-the-books agent.

Samir quotes the Koran to justify his position. We’ve all heard about the many quotations in the Koran that exhort Muslims to kill “infidels” (anyone who doesn’t accept Allah and Mohammed), so it’s strange to hear some of the quotes of Samir that sound like they came from the Christian Bible. It came across to me that Nachmanoff cherry picked quotes to find something favorable.

This is a tough sell, a favorable picture of a Muslim actually fighting Muslim extremism. Nachmanoff is a better director than Emmerich, fortunately, doing a pretty good job of creating and maintaining tension, especially since we really aren’t sure where Samir is coming from. But the politically correct treatment is too counter-factual to muster the emotion required for emotional involvement.

Cheadle gives a pretty good performance despite the implausible story, as do Pearce and McDonough. Why the filmmakers imported an Aussie like Pearce to play the Tennessean Clayton is beyond me, even though he’s a very good character actor.

This is unlikely to inspire much enthusiasm.

August 27, 2008

 

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