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. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their 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.

The Tourist (3/10)

by Tony Medley

Run Time 103 minutes.

OK for children.

Who woulda thought that you could concoct a recipe including heartthrobs Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, supporting actors like Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, and Rufus Sewell, all directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmark (The Lives of Others, which won the 2007 Oscar® for best foreign language film) and come up with such a plodding turkey as this?

Maybe it was predictable after all since Donnersmark wasn’t the first choice as director, or the second. He was the third director on the film, and then he walked, too. When Jolie became affiliated with the film, Donnersmark returned. Depp was third choice for the male lead, after Tom Cruise and Sam Worthington both of whom left due to “creative differences.”

After sitting through the film, Cruise and Worthington and all the other directors knew what they were doing. The lack of chemistry between Depp and Jolie is stunning, since their romance is at the core of the film. Shouldn’t superstars be able to create chemistry where none exists off-screen? There isn’t one iota of romantic connection between the two.

One problem with the film might be that all the producers (eight, count them, eight, get credit) couldn’t decide on a screenwriter, so they apparently tried just about everybody in Hollywood but me, only three or four of whom get credit, which is good fortune for everyone else.

The plot is that Jolie picks up Depp on the train to confuse people trying to find her real boyfriend. She takes him to Venice, Italy, where lots of bad guys are out to get poor Johnny. There are some twists and turns, but for a thriller this is incredibly slow. It failed the watch test in the first half hour. Donnersmark, for all the quality of his excellent Lives of Others doesn’t seem to be cut out for the thriller genre if this is any indication.

One of the locations is the Danieli hotel in Venice. I’ve stayed there. It didn’t look anything like this when I stayed there. Maybe it’s a different Danieli. I’m sure it was the right Venice.

Jolie has shown herself to be a better actress than she shows here. She basically sleepwalks through the role, which is more than I can say for Depp. Neither superstar shows any emotion other than being alive.

The only positive about this film is the travelogue-like cinematography by John Seale. The views of Venice and the locations are gorgeous. There is one good line in the movie. Unfortunately, it is the last one uttered, hardly worth waiting for.