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
Whip It (4/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 111 Minutes.
Not for children.
This is a movie, based on a semi
autobiographical novel by Shauna Cross who wrote the screenplay, made by
women for women about women and that only a woman could like. But I
doubt if many women will fall in that category. The woman who
accompanied me to the screening (at a real theater with real people in
attendance) hated it. I was more sanguine. I thought the first hour an
incredible bore. Then, for me, it picked up a little, which is why I
didnít give it the 2/10 that was my friendís valuation.
Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) is a 17 year-old
unhappily surviving in Bodeen, Texas, a small town outside of Austin,
working as a waitress in a diner with her best friend, Pash (Alia
Shawkat), who wants to get out of Bodeen by being accepted at an Ivy
League school. Blissís mother, Brooke Cavendar (Marcia Gay Harden), is a
former beauty contest participant who is obsessed to have Bliss follow
in her footsteps.
Bliss goes to a roller derby match, is
enthralled, lies about her age, tries out for a team and is accepted. So
she lies to her mother who is unaware of what Bliss is doing at night.
Listen, this story is so boring that it was an ordeal for me to just
write this short paragraph. After an hour, I was ready to bolt. It
picked up a little in the last 50 minutes, but not enough to recommend.
Page is a wonderful actress. Why she signed up
for this Drew Barrymore-created affair is beyond me. Worse, Barrymore,
who directed, produced, and gave herself a small role in the film, has
Page in a really silly sexually-oriented swimming scene with her boy
friend, a putative guitar player-singer, Oliver (singer-songwriter
Landon Pigg) and, in a later scene, even has her take off her shirt and
appear in only a bra. As good an actress as Page is, her sexuality has
nothing to do with her body, which isnít exactly erotic. Audrey Hepburn
and Grace Kelly had stimulating sexuality, but their shapeless bodies
were never exposed in any way. When Page appears scantily clad, it is
less than titillating. Iíve been your fan since ďHard CandyĒ (2005),
Ellen. Please donít do this again.
There are some good performances. Page does
her best with the poorly presented story. Sheís ably supported by
Shawkat, who creates a believable character in the best friend, Juliette
Lewis as Iron Maven, Blissís nemesis on the opposing team, and Kristen
Wiig, as Maggie Mayhem, Blissís friend and confidante on her team. Also
standing out is Jimmy Fallon as the MC. Fallon is probably too young to
remember 1950ís announcer Dick Lane, who was the Vin Scully of Roller
Derby (and wrestling, creating the term ďWhoa, Nellie,Ē when something
spectacular happened), but he does a good job of creating Dick Lane-type
Even though there are some professional
skaters in the cast, I didnít think the action scenes were nearly as
natural or believable as those created by Mark Ellis for 2004ís
ďMiracleĒ and many others. I used to watch roller derby when I was
growing up and what is shown here doesnít come close to recreating what
it was really like then (and probably now; I havenít seen it in
decades). Exacerbating the lack of verisimilitude is that Page is so
slight it strained credulity to picture her actually mixing it up with
much bigger and more powerful women.
In the last 50 minutes, Barrymore shows some
promise as a director. But, like most directors who apparently have
final cut (itís her production company, after all), she needs a good
editor with the authority and power to demand cuts. The first hour digs
too big a hole for this to overcome.