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.

J. Edgar (1/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 137 minutes.

Not for children.

Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio are to be commended for wanting to make an old-fashioned biopic, educating people on an American legend. But did they have to make it so long, boring, and uninformative?

 Purportedly the true story of the founder of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover (DiCaprio), Hoover is portrayed as a sexually ambiguous, speechifying, cantankerous bore. In fact, DiCaprio makes so many monotonous speeches in this thing that I'm surprised he didn't grow a granuloma on his vocal cords.

Not only does Eastwood show no familiarity with pace, but the music he wrote for this makes the film even slower than it would be normally. The wordy, actionless script (Dustin Lance Black), doesn't help Clint much.

The film shows Hoover to be a loner with high moral expectations of others, but with few personal relationships, except one very close friend, Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). While the film paints Tolson as clearly gay, it makes it fairly plain that the relationship between him and Hoover was not physical.

Making the film even harder to watch, instead of telling a straight biography of Hoover, Eastwood jumps back and forth among time periods without so much as an explanation. The only way we know that the time has changed is that Hoover looks older or younger. One minute he's looking for the Lindbergh kidnapper and then the very next scene he's talking with Bobby Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan). It's confusing and unnecessary.

It is also maddeningly uninformative. It's pretty well known that Hoover did not like the Kennedys and, in fact, hated Bobby Kennedy. There is not an iota of a clue as to why. In fact there's no why about anything anywhere. Hoover remains as much an enigma after seeing the film as he was before going in.

Naomi Watts plays Hoover's longtime secretary, Helen Gandy, and Judy Dench plays his mother, with whom J. Edgar was extraordinarily close. The film alludes to the vicious  rumor that Hoover was a cross-dresser, but doesn't spend any time on it and seems to reject it, but it is ambiguous. Both give good performances. In fact, all the performances are very good, especially DiCaprio's. It's not the acting that makes this such a disappointment.

Then there's the cinematography (Tom Stern). It's shot in washed-out colors. Is there a reason? Don't ask me.

Wait, there's more! The makeup (Tania McComas) is sometimes so bad it appears camp, especially when Tolson ages. He looks like a freak from a horror movie.

The first hour is agonizingly slow. In fact, except for about five minutes when Eastwood deals with Martin Luther King, Jr., this entire film is a drag (no pun intended).

November 2, 2011