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.


Thumbnails Nov 13

by Tony Medley

Gravity (10/10): Wow; this is a movie! Much as I loathe movies that rely on special effects, this one is, well, special. With a cast of two, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock (others receive voice credits), it is spellbinding. They are floating around in space, weightless, the entire film. The special effects are mind-boggling. Whatís past is prologue, though; the scenes of the inside of a devastated space station are strikingly similar to the scenes of a similarly devastated WWII bomber limping back to England in 1946ís A Matter of Life and Death. Writer/director Alfonso Cuarůn creates the isolation and solitude of space brilliantly, making the audience feel the desperation of the two astronauts when things suddenly go terribly wrong.

The Armstrong Lie (10/10): This is the fascinating tale of Lance Armstrong, who is presented in this documentary as one of the most notorious liars of the 21st Century (so far). Any documentary that lasts over two hours is probably too long, but I actually hated to see this end. Itís beautifully shot and edited. Even in the end, when you know the horrible things Armstrong did to good people who only wanted the truth to come out, you canít help but realize how likeable he is. Thatís what allowed him to carry off his scam. But you really have to see this to appreciate the story. Opens November 8.

Escape Plan (8/10): Old guys Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger acquit themselves admirably in this brutal thriller about escape from what seems to be an impossibly secure prison, headed by warden Jim Caviezel. Whatís unfortunate is that director Mikael HŚfstrŲm inserts absurdly violent torture and fights in which the victims irresponsibly are shown suffering little or no lasting damage, looking unmarked and movie-star coifed in the very next scenes. Despite this and the hackneyed climax, the story provides good escapist tension.

Captain Phillips (8/10): Director Paul Greengrass, who has a string of terrific action films to his credit, and writer Billy Ray, who wrote and directed Shattered Glass (2003), one of the best print media movies ever made, make this worth the two hours plus runtime. Greengrass films it like a docudrama, in the style of Roberto Rosselliniís Rome, Open City (1945) and Gillo Pontecorvoís The Battle of Algiers (1966), striking a happy medium, obtaining the influence of the older films without sacrificing what makes Hollywood Hollywood, which is slam-bang action. Unfortunately, the film gives a relatively sympathetic picture of the pirates, especially their leader, Muse (well played by Barkhad Abdi), and actually makes the Navy look deceitful and dishonest. Maybe this is what happened, but you come away feeling that Muse ended up as a victim.

Kill Your Darlings (2/10): Pardon me if I do not genuflect at the altar of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. This is a film about the germination at Columbia University in 1944, when Ginsburg was a naÔve freshman, of the people who defined the Beat Generation, a group of writers influenced by Eastern philosophy and religion and known especially for their use of nontraditional forms and their rejection of conventional social values. Up until an outrageous murder that occurs near the end of the film it is a tangle of talk that is marked by how uninvolving it all is unless you buy the credibility of the fame of these people. Director John Krokidas has a style of quick cuts and time warping jumps that is more annoying than entertaining. Replete with graphic homosexual sex scenes, the only interesting part of the movie came before the end credits when graphics indicate what happened to the characters. I still didnít care.

 

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