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 stories in their own words.

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

The Judge (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Running Time 140 minutes.

OK for children.

Robert Downey is one of the best actors of his generation. Unfortunately he has squandered his talent on rubbish like Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes debacles and the Iron Man franchise. While I enjoyed the first Iron Man, superhero movies are idiotic, and don’t need actors of Downey’s caliber to draw audiences who want little more than mindless action.

While Downey gives something extra to each of these performances, the material is simply not up to his talent. I know that he does it for the money, and there is nothing wrong with that. But my dream is that some of these actors who are worthy of much higher quality productions will realize that when you can command $20 million per film and more, probably plus profit participation, money should cease to be important and the integrity of their gift should be paramount.

Finally, he gets an intelligent, sensitive script (Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque from a story by director/coproducer David Dobkin and Schenk).

Downey plays a lawyer, Chicago defense attorney Hank Palmer, who returns to his small hometown where his father, Joseph (Oscar-winner Robert Duvall), is the long time judge of the town. Hank and Joseph have been estranged for a long time. His return results in his reestablishing communications with his brothers, Glenn (Vincent D’Onofrio) and simple-minded Dale (Jeremy Strong), and his former girlfriend, Samantha Powell (Vera Farmiga).

When Judge Joseph is accused of murder, and is faced with a vicious prosecutor, Dwight Dickham (Billy Bob Thornton in a good performance as the cold-hearted, revenge-seeking lawyer) he wants nothing to do with Hank defending him, so he retains a local dolt, C.P. Kennedy (Dax Shepard) to defend him much to Hank’s chagrin. Hank finally takes over, which provides the movie with its guts and raison d’ętre, the relationship between Hank and Joseph.

It’s scintillating to see these two outstanding actors parry with one another with an excellent script and a fine director. Even though it’s all talk, Dobkin keeps the pace alive during the entire almost 2 ˝ hour film. The music (Thomas Newman) is exceptional, as is the cinematography (Janus Kaminski). This is a first-rate production which does the fine script proud.

October 4, 2014