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.


Your Highness (4/10)

by Tony Medley

Run Time 105 minutes.

Not for children.

Once upon a time there was a terrific, charming, funny film about the Middle Ages with contemporary dialogue. But this review is not about that film, which starred Bing Crosby. This film about the Middle Ages is neither terrific nor particularly funny, although it does have its own strange allure. In fact, there is only one truly funny line in the movie. Unfortunately, it is so tasteless and uncharming that I canít repeat it.

I guess itís not too surprising that this film is full of f-bombs and crude language and jokes since itís directed by David Gordon Green, who was responsible for 2008ís Pineapple Express which would have been a silent film if all the f-bombs were removed. The question I have is what are Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman doing in the cast? They have talent. Joining them is James Franco. Heís little different from the zombie that appeared as a co-host of this yearís Academy Awards.

The plot centers on sibling rivalry between Thadeous (Danny McBride) and his older brother, Fabious (Franco). Thadeous is a fatuous, jealous failure while Fabious is enormously successful as a knight in armor who returns from a quest with his adversaryís head. The bad guy is Leezar (Justin Theroux, in a good performance) who grabs Fabiousí fiancťe, Belladona (Deschanel). Leezar is a wizard and the special effects (by the German company Die Nefzers) are very good. Thadeous and Fabious go on a quest to get Belladona back, where they meet Isabel (Portman), who joins them, sort of.

The film appears to be a vehicle for McBride, who stars and co-wrote the script with Dan Best, and also Executive Produced with four other guys. McBride isnít bad. He has a nice way with a line, which canít be said for Franco. Actually, nothing much can be said about Franco in this film, except that women might like his bare chest. For the men in the audience there are some topless women, too.

Deschanel is enormously talented. She gets much more out of the script than is there and even shows a gorgeous singing voice. I have no clue as to why Oscarģ-winning actress Portman chose this role (to be sure, she chose it before she won the Oscarģ). Itís a supporting role that requires little in the way of acting or talent. But neither is onscreen for many minutes.

The language and jokes are patently offensive, but McBride, Deschanel, and Theroux almost make this worth sitting through. It is faintly reminiscent of 2009ís Year One, but not nearly as high quality or entertaining.

April 4, 2011

 

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