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.


Olympus Has Fallen (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 119 minutes.

Not for children.

This film is a blatant ripoff of the Bruce Willis Die Hard movies that pit one-man against enormous numbers of people to save the world as we know it. Even if it is hopelessly duplicative and basically unbelievable, and even though Gerard Butler is no Bruce Willis, director Antoine Fuqua takes the original story by first timers Creighton Rothenberg and Katrin Benedikt and creates an action film that is, well, full of action.

This is another film where millions of bullets are shot, sprayed all over the place, killing everyone inside but our hero Gerard. Despite the low odds against anyone surviving all the bullets shot at him, Gerard is the star and he perseveres.

The cast is replete with big names, Aaron Eckhardt, Oscarģ winners Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, and Dylan McDermott. But this film is not about acting. Itís about blowing up the White House, killing everyone in sight, and generally causing as much mayhem as possible.

The one performance that stood out was that by Radha Mitchell, who is so little prized by the producers that she isnít even listed in the cast published on IMDB. But she gives a terrific performance as Butlerís wife. Mitchell is as beautiful as anyone in Hollywood and itís always amazed me that she hasnít been able to get more roles. Maybe this will help her because her performance certainly stands out above the others, most of which are little more than cameos since all the screen time belongs to Butler.

If this movie stands for anything, though, itís that music can make a mediocre movie entertaining. The score by Trevor Morris is award-quality. But the director and producers are so tone deaf about what makes a movie work that they donít single Morris out for credit in the production notes that are handed out to critics. His name was buried in the credits that you see rolling at the end of the film. Morris has worked mostly in TV, producing scores for TV shows like The Firm, an underappreciated thriller that depended quite a bit on the music to enhance the tension. Unfortunately, it was not renewed after one season. The score Morris wrote for this film allows it to rise above the mundane.

Adding to the score are the sound effects (Mandell Winter & David Esparza). I saw this in a small screening room and the room shook at times with the explosions, and even when a jet flew over. Whether that was because of the small room and it wouldnít be reflected in a theater, I donít know.

This isnít a movie thatís going to live in anyoneís memory, but itís still an entertaining trip.

March 21, 2013

 

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