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.
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.
Click the book to read the first chapter and for
ordering information. Also available on Kindle.
Enjoyable & Most Disappointing of 2012
There were a few
more terrible films in 2012 than 2011, but the ones that were terrible
were truly terrible. The flip side of that is that there were more
entertaining films this year, so my lists are a little longer than last
Here are my
lists of the most enjoyable and least enjoyable/most disappointing/most
overrated films I saw during 2012. The negative category includes some
films that, while not the worst, were disappointing or overrated, or,
while enjoyable, had huge flaws. The positive category is just how much
I enjoyed them, not rated as I would rate an Oscar®-winner. The "Most
Disappointing" are listed by rank of how much I loathed them with #1 the
- A Royal
Affair: What an
historical drama should be, factual and interesting. Are you
listening, Stephen Spielberg?
Waltz hits a home run.
Bradley Cooper as a seriously bipolar man romantically involved with
equally disturbed Jennifer Lawrence, who is impossibly beautiful and
sexy in this fine comedy about a serious subject.
- Hyde Park
on the Hudson:
Charming ambience and performances in this film about FDR's sexual
Fishing in the Yemen:
Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor shine in one of the best romances of
Albert Brooks at his best,
Josh Radnor creates a funny story about life and romance at a
- Life of
Pi: The Bengal Tiger
is so realistic it's hard to believe it is solely a creation of
computer graphics. But that's not all this movie has to offer.
- Thin Ice:
Greg Kinnear gives a sparkling performance as a devious insurance
salesman, aided by equally wonderful performances by Billy Crudup
and Alan Arkin.
Highlighted by a courageous performance by Naomi Watts, this is so
well done it makes you feel as if you are right there being swept
away in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Kingdom: Director Wes
Anderson's quirky, charming story of youthful infatuation is full of
wonderful performances by an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis,
Edward Norton, and Bill Murray.
- This is
written and directed by Judd Apatow. It must be good, for me to say
this about The Smutmeister.
A surprise black
comedy hit based on a true story with fine performances by Shirley
McLaine and Jack Black.
and Jesse Forever: A
charming indie with acute realistic dialogue.
Contraband: A good
Mark Wahlberg thriller.
Headhunters: A better
Springs: When Meryl
Streep plays a role straight she can be very good, as she does here
helped by a fine performance by Tommy Lee Jones.
story of a quadriplegic invalid and his caretaker sounded depressing but
this true story is a heartwarming comedy.
prohibition era in moonshine country perfectly, this is a well-acted
movie, if graphically violent.
documentary about reggae singer Bob Marley's life.
Else But You: A fine
French roman à clef thriller.
Oranges: Hugh Laurie
returns to his comedic roots in this entertaining dark comedy with a
bravura performance by Alia Shawkat, Laurie's daughter, whose tongue
in cheek narration carries the humor.
Like Us: Elizabeth
Banks stars as a 30-old
year recovering alcoholic unwed mother working as a bartender,
barely making ends meet who falls for Chris Pine before discovering
what their relationship really is.
Sparks: A fine romcom
based on Pygmalion written by star Zoe Kazan.
Gere's back and better than ever in this tale of Wall Street
Jason Statham shows
admirable range in this action film.
House: A tense thriller
with inexperienced CIA agent Ryan Reynolds trying to protect and, at
the same time, bring in rogue agent Denzell Washington in Cape Town,
I asked my friend how
she liked this brutal Oliver Stone thriller about drug runners. Her
response, "It's riveting, but I don't like it." That might be a
fairly common reaction.
With the Curve: Clint
Eastwood and Amy Adams shine in this simple tale about a baseball
scout and his daughter.
Exotic Marigold Hotel:
A charming look at life after 60
without being condescending.
- Taken 2:
Not as good as the
original, but good enough.
- 21 Jump
Street: Despite lots of
F-bombs, this is a fine screwball comedy in the old tradition that
had me laughing out loud, especially at Ice Cube's performance.
- Man on a
ledge: An unusual caper
film with fine performances by Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, and
Director Mark Webb takes over from Sam Raimi with a new cast
including Emma Stone and the result is an interesting take on what
had been, heretofore, truly silly stories.
Horse: A documentary
about the legendary Parisian cabaret club featuring nude women
dancers containing revealing interviews with the dancers, producers,
and director, celebrated choreographer Philippe Decouflé, as well as
scenes of rehearsals and performances of their dancing called "nude
chic" (also revealing).
Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story:
A fascinating documentary about
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's brother, who led the 1976
raid on Entebbe.
Soderbergh based this ingeniously convoluted action thriller on one
of his favorite films, the James Bond From Russia With Love.
He's aided by a great cast that includes Ewan McGregor,
Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, and
Unbelievably maligned; I think unfairly.
historical fictions this film foists on its audience are bad enough
but what is truly damning is that it is one of the biggest snorers
Dark Thirty: This film
goes to great lengths to minimize the heroism of the Navy SEALs who
conducted the raid, and the danger they faced. Instead, its female
director creates a semi-fictional heroine who spends two hours
trying to find bin Laden, picturing her as far more heroic than the
SEALs who risked their lives on a dangerous mission. Not only is
Jessica Chastain miserably miscast, it's almost as boring as
Ferrell; need I say more?
Size: The good news
about this film aimed at an age level of about 4-14 is that it's
only 96 minutes long. The bad news is that it is 96 minutes
Comes the Boom: The
vacuity of making a children's movie that is replete with
stomach–churning violence is mind-boggling.
Them Softly: The
"them" in the title turns out to be the audience.
Ribbons: A bunch of
unreasonable, angry women bite the hands that feed them.
Perfect: A Glee-like
film targeted at teenaged girls that promotes sexual promiscuity;
yeah that's what we need. Can you spell "flimsy premise?"
10. Project X:
A film glorifying the idea of
teenagers trashing their parents' house. And Hollywood wonders why it's
A foul mouthed teddy bear comes to
life in a movie without one iota of humor.
12. This Means War:
Substituting crudity for humor, this
appears to have been thrown together without a thought given to
intelligence or verisimilitude.
13. Magic Mike & The Paperboy:
Matthew McConaughey went two
bridges too far in trying to find roles to change his image from romcom
leading man to an actor with depth and range in these degrading,
14. Rock of Ages:
Tom Cruise as a distasteful hard
metal rocker in the worst role of his career.
15. Jack Reacher:
I gave this 8/10, but 5-7, 140 Tom
Cruise is no more 6-5, 240 Jack Reacher than Mickey Rooney is James
Bond. If Tom had been playing a guy named John Smith, or anything other
than Jack Reacher, it would have been OK. Instead, the film alienates
the millions of devoted readers of author Lee Child's books.