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. Also available on Kindle.

Fast Five (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 122 minutes

Not for children.

This opens with a bang and picks up speed from there. The opening is so mind-boggling it drew gasps and applause from my screening of film critics, most of whom have seen just about everything there is to see in movies.

Right away, if the stunts and special effects don’t grab you, the music (Brian Tyler, with Oscar®-quality work), highlighted by reggaeton stars Don Omar and Tego Calderón (actors in the film who also contributed two songs), can’t help but get you in the mood. The film is loaded to the gills with high octane music to keep up with the constant action onscreen.

Dwayne Johnson joins a reunion of cast members from every chapter of the franchise, headed by Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. This builds up to a mano a mano fight between Diesel and Johnson, a difficult feat for the filmmakers since they are both Hollywood superheros.

Spectacular cinematography (Stephen Windon) of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, as well as its pristine beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana Fort, Ipanema Beach, the Dona Marta lookout point and Christ the Redeemer statue, highlight the story in which former cop Brian O’Conner (Walker) hooks up with ex-con Dom Toretto (Diesel) as apparent criminals. The small hillside Puerto Rican town of Naranjito doubled for Rio for many of the chase scenes that permeate the film.

Along with others from prior episodes, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Matt Schulze, Calderón, and Omar, they team up to pull a heist of $100 million from Rio crime king Joaquim de Almeida. Pursuing them is good-guy cop Johnson.

The script is appropriately camp. Johnson has some lines that brought titters from the audience, but he delivered them all with a straight face, getting the comedic idea across. Generally in an action film the quality of the acting is less than wonderful. But here, between the chases and crashes, the acting is surprisingly effective. Diesel, Walker, and the rest comport themselves very well.

While the crashes and special effects are wondrous, unfortunately the final chase is far too long, although it is interesting to watch for awhile. There are just too many duplicative scenes of destruction and it gets tiresome. But the too long dénouement does not substantially detract from a highly enjoyable film.

April 28, 2011