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.
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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
Julie & Julia (4/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 123 minutes.
OK for children.
I can’t say this is entirely worthless. There
is a scene at about the mark between Amy Adams and Mary
Lynn Rajskub that I enjoyed.
The producers clearly knew that there was no
cinematic story to tell about Julia Child (Meryl Streep). She was a very
tall television cook with a funny sounding voice. What’s to tell?
So they combined her story (from her book)
with the story of Julie Powell (Adams),
from her book, a bored housewife who, to liven up her life, committed to
cooking all 524 recipes in Child’s book within one year and blog about
it on the internet. The Powell segment was filmed first, then the Child
segment, and then the two were combined in the editing room.
I loved “Heartburn,” writer-director Nora
Ephron’s 1983 autobiographical novel about her marriage and breakup with
goofy, egotistical journalist Carl Bernstein. The big charm about
“Heartburn” is that you’re reading along and suddenly, boom! she inserts
a recipe out of the blue, then goes right along with her story. I still
make my cheesecake out of her recipe and people never fail to rave about
it. I liked “When Harry Met Sally” (1989), but was that due to her
script or Rob Reiner’s directing? This one she directs her own
screenplay and it is an ordeal to endure, despite pictures of
mouth-watering dishes, and some nice shots of Paris in the ‘50s.
As to Meryl Streep, she had a tough decision
to make. I think actors make a big mistake when they try to precisely
duplicate someone’s voice and mannerisms when portraying them in a
movie. The performance of someone playing a real person in a biopic
against which I weigh all others is that of Larry Parks in “The Jolson
Story” (1946). Parks didn’t try to speak as Jolie spoke, and he lip
synced to Jolie’s real voice for the songs. Otherwise, he played it
straight up, interpreting Jolson as a man, not trying to mimic him. To
me, that’s the most effective way to play someone in a biopic.
When they give way to the urge to mimic the
person, they risk appearing as a parody of that person. Jamie Foxx as
Ray Charles was probably the only actor who did try to mimic and got
away with it. Watching Foxx in that movie, I felt as if I were watching
Charles. But in this film, Streep’s performance is little more than a
caricature, and a bad one at that. I cringed every time she was on the
screen. I was constantly aware that she was “acting,” which is a kiss of
does her best to bring the movie to life. She is a brilliant actress,
even with a script like this. One is almost never aware that she is
acting (I say “almost” because there is one scene where she is clearly
acting, see below). Her talent is such that she is already close to
being a national treasure.
To say that Ephron’s script and direction are
disappointing would be giving them too much praise. (Spoiler alert).
During the course of the film, Julie’s wussy husband, Eric (Chris
Messina), walks out on her. Ephron didn’t set this up right, because I
thought he just went out to the store. Even though Julie recognizes that
she’s being abandoned, she really doesn’t take it that hard. Oh, she’s
upset, but not as devastated as the way I would imagine someone would be
if the spouse they adored really did walk out. This unemotional response
to a breakup has been a problem in other Ephron movies. Maybe Nora was
so relieved to get away from Bernstein (which would certainly be
understandable just from seeing him parade himself around on TV like a
peacock) that she thinks everybody takes being dumped with such
In addition to innumerable scenes of cooking
and food, there are lots of scenes that just don’t work. Maybe the worst
is the one with Julie and Eric in bed watching Dan Akroyd play Julia on
Saturday Night Live (Streep’s Julia reminded me more of Akroyd’s Julia
than Julia’s Julia). Julie and Eric laugh uncontrollably but
unconvincingly. They were about as convincing as the hired shills
planted in the audience at my screening, a sure sign the studio is
worried about a film. There is also a chronology problem here. Julie and
Eric are watching this in the early 2000s. But Akroyd’s skit about Child
appeared on SNL in December of 1978 when Julie and Eric were infants, at
So maybe this is just a chick flick. It’s
certainly catty enough to qualify. Ephron pictures Irma Rombauer
(Frances Sternhagen), the author of the timeless “Joy of Cooking,” as
confessing to Julia that she didn’t try out her recipes before
publishing them. Maybe that’s true, but it’s hard to believe that she
would admit it, especially to a competitor. At the end of the film Nora
takes a shot at Julia herself.
For Columbia Pictures’ sake, I hope that it
will appeal to women because not too many guys are going to be able to
sit through this too-long epic without being paid to laugh or to write a
review. I was very disappointed because I was looking forward to it.