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.

Thumbnails Dec 11

by Tony Medley

My Week with Marilyn (10/10): One of the best I've seen this year, Director Simon Curtis paces this film smartly and gets the most out of his cast in this autobiographical tale of a 3rd assistant director's (Eddie Redmayne) one week with Marilyn Monroe during the shooting of "The Prince and the Showgirl” in 1956. Michelle Williams gives an award-quality performance, not only looking and moving like Marilyn, but also capturing her insecurities and her presence as a star, and how she used the latter. Kenneth Brannagh is charming as Marilyn's co-star, the exasperated Lawrence Olivier. The color photography (Ben Smithard) is beautiful, especially in catching Marilyn's ripe red lips. The script (Adrian Hodges) is very good, even if it does steal a Goldwynism ("The most important thing in acting is honesty. . .  And once you learn to fake that, you're in.") and puts it on Olivier's lips.

Tower Heist (10/10): Laugh out loud funny.

A Dangerous Method (7/10): The story of 50-year-old Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and his acolyte, 30-year-old Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) at the dawn of the 20th Century is mostly talk with some sex and some nudity, as one should expect, given that it's the story of the birth of psychoanalysis based on past sexual experiences. Watching Director David Cronenberg's film takes a lot of concentration and thought. Keira Knightley's over the top acting as a psychotically disturbed young woman at the beginning of the film is disturbing and uncomfortable to watch. It's either overacting or an award-quality performance. The ambience of the movie is exceptional. Although set in Vienna and Zurich, the film was shot in Cologne, Bodensee (Lake Constance) and Vienna itself. The locations are beautiful and the recreation of early 20th-Century Europe evocative. Many scenes were shot in Freud's actual house in which he lived from 1891-1938. If you pay attention to all the talk, you can learn a lot and be entertained at the same time.

The Muppets (10/10 for children 7/10 for adults): While clearly meant for children, this is colorful, musical, and fun. With the extra advantage of the presence of the redoubtable Amy Adams it can please adults, too. There are some charming cameos by Alan Arkin, Mickey Rooney, Whoopi Goldberg, and many others, along with a good performance by Chris Cooper as the bad guy. The movie is too long for an adult and doesn't have enough singing and dancing, but what it has is very good. The last half hour drags and the ending is preachy, although this is The Muppets and they've gotta get their message in (not that there's anything wrong with that).

The Artist (3/10): There's a reason why there has only been one silent movie made since the '30s; they are excruciating to sit through. While this homage to the past is technically well done and the Fremont Place locations are of local interest, 100 minutes of a black & white silent movie is too passé and esoteric to be entertaining to the vast majority of today's audience.

J. Edgar (1/10): Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio (Hoover) 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?  They ignore controversial topics like his hatred of the Kennedys, instead concentrating on portraying him as a sexually ambiguous, cantankerous bore. In fact, DiCaprio makes so many monotonous speeches that it's surprising he didn't grow a granuloma on his vocal cords. Not only does Eastwood show no familiarity with pace, he confusingly bounces back and forth between time periods, and the music he wrote makes the film even more soporific.