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.


The Iceman (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 105 minutes.

Not for children.

This is the mostly true story of a serial killer named Richard Kuklinski (a.k.a. The Iceman) who eventually became a contract killer for the mob. Extremely well directed by Ariel Vroman, who also cowrote the script with Morgan Land, the story and chronology have been changed, probably for the purposes of making it into a movie.

Vroman gets exceptional performances out of Michael Shannon as Kuklinski, Winona Ryder as his wife, Deborah, Chris Evans as fellow hitman Robert ďMr. SofteeĒ Pronge, Stephen Dorff as Kuklinskiís younger brother Joey, Ray Liotta as The Gambino Crime Family soldato, Roy Demeo, and David Schwimmer as Demeoís goombah Josh Rosenthal. In fact, this is the best performance Iíve ever seen Liotta give. He proves he can act without using an F bomb every other word.

The only thing off-putting about this film is the graphic violence. Many of Kuklinskiís murders are shown in relatively graphic detail. But the story is so well told that even if you have to avert your eyes a couple of times, itís an entertaining film.

The film was shot almost entirely in Shreveport Louisiana (because thatís where producer Millennium Films is located), although the settings are New Jersey and New York. While the film shows that Kuklinski was working in a porn film lab when he met Demeo and became a contract killer, in fact his killing spree started in the early to mid-50s when he started killing for the sport of it, and he probably didnít meet Demeo until the early Ď70s, after he had been a contract killer for Newarkís DeCavalcante crime family for an extended period of time. This only shows a small portion of his murders and completely omits the fact that he killed for the fun of it and was doing so before he hooked up with the mob.

One aspect of the film shows that Kuklinski was extremely protective of his wife and daughters, and that they knew absolutely nothing about his murderous activities. However, this diverges somewhat from the facts and is an oddly sensitive portrayal of a cold-blooded monster. It downplays the fact that while he never mistreated his daughters, he often beat his wife.

The film is well made and holds interest, but I deplore the delicate treatment and shading of truth of this despicable beast. Watching Vromanís take, one almost feels sympathy for him.

 

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