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."
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
by Tony Medley
Run Time 111 minutes.
OK for children
It is literally painful to sit through a movie
as mind-numbingly awful as this. It’s not just the squirming and looking
at the watch, movies as bad as this actually produce physical pain while
I have to sit and endure them. It takes a special level of talent for
director Mira Nair to take the story of Amelia Earhart (Hillary Swank),
with a cast of actors some think talented, like Swank, Richard Gere, and
Ewan McGregor, and produce something as uninvolving and boring as this.
About all I came out of the screening with was
that I had just seen a lot of takeoffs and landings and almost two hours
of smiles and lots of teeth, mostly Swanks. Gere, in the least effective
performance of his career, does nothing but smile his way through this.
That’s about all Swank does, too. Swank appears as almost all teeth.
This is an unsatisfying, frivolous, insubstantial look at someone who
some think of as an American idol. I was terribly disappointed because I
was looking forward to it.
Amelia married publisher George Putnam (Gere).
She has an affair with Gene Vidal (McGregor), the father of Gore. But
Gene appears pretty fey and Amelia never really seems too involved with
either of the men.
To say that the script (Ron Bass and Anna
Hamilton Phelan, indicating problems, based on two biographies, “East To
The Dawn” by Susan Butler and “The Sound of Wings” by Mary Lovell)) is
banal doesn’t do it justice. For the life of me when it was over I
couldn’t figure out how Nair got 111 minutes out of this script. But
there are an awful lot of takeoffs and landings.
There are lots of things that she could have
covered. Amelia’s backstory, when she was a nurse during the WWI Great
Influenza Epidemic among many other things, is interesting but totally
In her 111 minutes, Nair could have covered
the issue of whether Amelia was a terrific pilot or just a creation of
Putnam’s PR genius, as has been speculated. Nair alludes to it, but she
never really gets into whether or not Amelia really knew what she was
doing in the cockpit, even though we see lots and lots and lots of
scenes with her flying.
Despite Amelia’s compelling story Nair
completely fails to capture it or the controversy that surrounds her to
this day. Oh, Nair does have Amelia say that her father was the funniest
person she ever knew but was a horrible alcoholic who never gave her
what she wanted. And she tells Putnam that the reason she always wears
pants is because she has ugly legs. Well, gee, I’m glad I know those
The film barely gets in to Amelia’s
relationship with Fred Noonan (Christopher Eccleston), the navigator on
her ill-fated final flight. Reputed to be the best navigator extant, he
was apparently also an alcoholic, like her father, and Amelia apparently
had problems with him during the flight. But the film only alludes to
The story is made more difficult by the
time-warp way it’s told, flashing back and forth between the doomed
final flight and Amelia’s recent story (that starts with her flight
across the Atlantic
in 1928 after a few scenes of her as a child and learning how to fly).
It’s often difficult to tell what year it is.
Another factual problem is that the film shows
that Amelia’s plane on her final flight couldn’t receive Morse Code
signals, but the evidence is that the Navy did send Morse Code signals
to her and she acknowledged receiving them.
That the film looks like something put
together by people struggling to know how to make a film is perhaps
understandable when one realizes Nair is a foreigner, has never worked
with stars of this caliber, and that the Producer, Ted Waitt, is an
amateur who made his money as co-founder of Gateway, Inc and is now a
major philanthropist, but hasn’t even begun to make his bones as a
moviemaker. Maybe one of the problems with the film is that Waitt chose
someone born and raised in India to tell
the story of a uniquely American icon. Nair tries to create an affinity
between her and Amelia by saying, “I was born in a small town in
and Amelia was from a small-town in Kansas.” What? An
American director would have had better sensibilities to American
The look is good. The
cinematography (Stuart Drybuqgh) is gorgeous. Vivian Baker, Swank’s
makeup artist did an award-deserving job withSwank’s look, because she
is a dead ringer for Amelia, except for the toothy smile, which
eventually becomes annoying.
So, when I left the theater, I asked myself,
what did I just spend almost two hours watching? Basically, I saw Swank
smiling, takeoff, landing, Gere smiling, takeoff, landing, teeth, Swank
and Gere smiling, takeoff, landing. This is looped for 111 minutes. Ugh.