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.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Her (1/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 120 minutes.

Not for children.

While writer-director Spike Jonze doesnít give any credit, this is very close to director Craig Gillespieís Lars and the Real Girl (2007), in which Ryan Gosling played a guy who fell in love with a plastic girl and took her everywhere with him, everyone accepting this lunacy as normal. This takes the idea of falling in love with something that isnít human with a big twist from Larsí.

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a wimpy guy coming out of a failed marriage who writes computer love letters for others in the near future Los Angeles. He becomes infatuated with the bodiless voice of his operating system which has artificial intelligence. The voice (never seen, moreís the pity, Scarlett Johansson) becomes a living presence. Itís 180 degrees apart from Lars, in that Goslingís girl could be seen but obviously couldnít communicate since she was made out of plastic and air. Theodoreís girl is just the opposite. All she can do is communicate since she has no body.

This could have been an intuitive, sensitive commentary of the meaning of love and its relationship to sex, and how people can get hooked on unseen computer acquaintances. Unfortunately, itís just a silly, not credible meander down a road to nowhere.

Amy Adams makes a nice appearance as Theodoreís understanding neighbor. Olivia Wilde gives a good, realistic performance as a mercurial blind date of Theodoreís. Rooney Mara is very good as Theodoreís former wife. But the best of all is Johansson as the voice without a body. She is so good that one could understand how Theodore could get hooked, although you have to be pretty stupid to fall in love with a voice you know for a fact is just something that is computer-generated.

There were people in my screening who were laughing. Incredulously, I asked my guest if she thought it was funny and she said not. Maybe they were laughing at and not with.

This failed the watch test dismally. I think I started looking five minutes in, literally counting the seconds. One of the happiest days of this December occurred when my watch told me there was less than an hour to go.

People think that being a film critic is a great job, but a critic is pretty much honor-bound to stay to the end of a film, whereas ordinary mortals can bolt at any time (and even get a refund). Films like this make a criticís job worse than hard labor on a rock pile.

December 17, 2013