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.

Potiche (4/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 103 minutes.

OK for children.

OK for children.

This movie is a complete waste of time. Except for good performances by Gérard Depardieu, Karin Viard and Fabrice Luchini, director François Ozon completely strikes out in this clumsy adaptation of a 1970 eponymous play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Grédy. The joke is that “potiche” is a vase or jar with a removable cover. It has come to be used in a derogative way for a beautiful woman of little substance living in the shadow of a stronger husband. This is meant to describe Suzanne Pujol (luminous star Catherine Deneuve), a “trophy wife” to husband Robert (Luchini). Although she brought the umbrella factory he runs into the family, she’s never done much but be beautiful and accommodating. Suddenly she shows a backbone, and takes over the company business from Robert. Her competence irks her disagreeable husband no end. A B story involves a relationship with the town’s mayor, played by Depardieu, that casts doubt on Suzanne’s virtue.

While Ozon, who has directed movies in the past that I have liked, like “Swimming Pool” (2003) and “8 Women” (2002), tries to play it for laughs, he’s undone by his star who appears to have had so much plastic surgery that she can no longer show any expression in her face, although her expressionlessness might be the whole point of the movie. Intent to the contrary notwithstanding, her sangfroid makes the movie as emotionless as her character.

The result is something that is so unrealistic it is clearly intended as farce, but the main actor just isn't up to the task. Luchini is wonderful as the gratuitously offensive husband, and Depardieu is equally effective as Suzanne’s former lover. Good as they are, the real standout is Viard, who gives a smashing performance as Robert’s mistress.

The problem is that the movie is not funny, interesting, entertaining, or even slightly humorous. What it is, is disappointing and grating.

Equally jarring is the speed with which the subtitles are flashed, which requires a crash course in speed reading to keep up. But I was thankful for small favors. Had the subtitles been shown with normal reading time, the film would have been longer.  In French.