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."

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Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information.

Bride Wars (2/10)

by Tony Medley

90 minutes.

Not for children.

I started hating this movie after about 10 minutes when Liv (Kate Hudson) rushes into a room full of girls, shouting “I’m engaged,” as if that was the only thing with which anyone in the world was concerned. It went downhill from there.

Liv and Emma (Anne Hathaway) have been best friends for life for 20 years. When they were young (I don’t know how they could act any younger than they do at 26, but we’re talking chronological age here), they saw a wedding at the Plaza Hotel and decided that their life’s ambition was to get married at the Plaza.

They are both already living with their boy friends and sleeping together, so why Liv should be so ecstatically excited about “getting married” is somewhat puzzling. In more moral times, living together was called “living in sin,” but now, in Hollywood films, anyway, it’s de rigueur. Lots of people do it and lots of people have babies born out of wedlock, which causes all sorts of societal problems. I think that the fact that Hollywood films encourage this sort of activity is a big reason why it becomes more and more prevalent. This ho-hum attitude towards sexual morality that Hollywood imposes on its viewers is not without serious consequences.

As to the men in this movie, they are little more than afterthoughts, characters needed for the plot, but best neither seen nor heard. Daniel (Steve Howey) is Liv’s live-in and Nate (Bryan Greenberg) lives with Emma.

Forget the two leads. Hudson has the most beautiful smile in the business, but she has yet to see material that tests her. For my money, Hathaway was the only part of “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) that didn’t hold up. She’s better here, but the material is so dismal that it’s unfair to judge her. The only reasonable performance is given by Candice Bergen, who plays the wedding planner, Marion. Kristen Johnston, who plays Deb, a woman Emma deplores, but who agrees to be her Maid of Honor is appropriately hateful and Bergen is appropriately over-bearing. But calling any performance in this film “best” is a left-handed compliment, at, well, best. Candice does her best to carry the film, but it's not nearly enough.

So Liv and Emma set their wedding dates, but it turns out that they are identical. This causes them to hate one another and pull all sorts of cruel stunts on one another. That two people who were such good friends could be so cruel and hateful to one another is more childish than humorous.

One of the big points of the film is a product placement for Vera Wang wedding dresses. Vera should have seen the script before she signed up for this.

I can’t believe that women in their 20s are this insubstantial. Just as an example for how out to lunch this movie is, is epitomized by Liv’s profession. She is represented as a real, hard-as-nails attorney, a top negotiator. Yet when she’s presented the wedding contract to sign with Marion, she doesn’t read one word. She just turns the pages until she gets to the signature page and signs it. Yeah, that’s a real hardnosed attorney. Believe me, I was such a hard nosed negotiator as a corporate attorney they called me Attila the Hun. That was years ago. I still read everything anyone puts before me to sign. That’s something that is so ingrained in any business attorney that no matter how much she wanted to get married and have Marion represent her, she would still read the contract (and make lots of changes).

Gary Winick directed “13 Going on 30” (2004), a film that I found surprisingly entertaining. He’s going in the wrong direction with this.

Greg DePaul has a “screenwriter, story by” credit, but what does a man know about two women (at least that must be what producer Hudson thought)? So Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael, both best friends for life, were brought in to bring this thing to its fruition as a quintessential chick flick. Any man who likes this needs a series of double dose shots of testosterone, along with a new brain. I find it hard to believe that any woman would find it more enjoyable than insulting.



January 8, 2009