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.

Thumbnails Mar 2016

by Tony Medley

Eye in the Sky (10/10): This could be considered a remake of the 1948 Clark Gable classic “Command Decision” updated to the 21st Century of drone warfare, and is as good. Appropriately, an excellent Helen Mirren plays Clark’s role as an officer who has to make a terrible decision. The tension crackles as time is a-wastin’ while everyone passes the buck. This is exceptionally realistic, especially the thought-provoking non-Hollywood ending. (Opens March 11).

Eddie the Eagle (8/10):  A feel good true story of unathletic Eddie, played to a T (overbite and all) by Taron Egerton, who wanted to be an Olympic athlete and when he discovered England didn’t have a ski jumping team, decided that was his ticket. Egerton’s performance was so spot on that the real Eddie cried when he saw the first screening.

The Finest Hours (8/10): Gripping, with fine special effects, but lags during the final ten minutes when suddenly a horrendous storm and all the effects, like the audio, completely stop, which seems somewhat unrealistic, and the film slows interminably, exacerbated by the music which had, up until then, been a fine addition enhancing the  tension, but becomes maudlin. Still, a fine film.

Hail, Caesar! (7/10): This look at Hollywood in 1951 has lots of homages to Hollywood history. There are references to Esther Williams (an unnamed character played by foul-mouthed Scarlett Johansson) and Busby Berkeley choreography and Loretta Young and the baby she denied (Judy), Hedda Hopper (a shrewish Tilda Swinton), a singing cowboy who can’t act (take your pick) named Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), the Hollywood Ten, and Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), among many others. In fact, as to the latter two, the Hollywood Ten and Mannix, a real life Hollywood fixer for MGM, they aren’t just references; they are what the movie is about.

Race (5/10): Too long, too slow, has clumsy recreations of the sporting events, has an actor who doesn’t reflect Jessie Owens’ pleasing personality, and replaces facts with Hollywood fiction; Jessie deserves better.

Crazy About Tiffany’s (3/10): Director Matthew Miele follows his charming and informative documentary, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, with this disappointing snoozer about the jeweler, Tiffany’s.  What it ends up being is a display of highly offensive conspicuous consumption by some snooty ladies who wear their privilege at the end of their stuck up noses.

Zoolander 2 (5/10): This is a sequel to the poorly received Zoolander (2001) which has apparently achieved cult status, another way of saying that it did poor box office but a lot of people see it on DVD or other ways. Why, I don’t know. While the production values are very good and the music is exceptional, the story is ridiculous, even when one recognizes that this is a parody on the fashion industry. The cinematography provides lots of good shots of Rome, but this is just too overdone and silly.

Deadpool (0/10): The song “Angel of the Morning” opens this movie accompanying the credits. That was the last thing I liked. Whether creator Stan Lee knows it or not, this is strikingly reminiscent of Stephen J. Cannell’s anti-hero private eye, James Rockford, as played by James Garner. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) has the same devil-may-care attitude as Rockford and defies every superhero rule, except the one that says he can’t be killed. If you like superhero movies like I like private eye movies, you will probably be entertained and get all the in-jokes. The film is egregiously violent and has some torture scenes that are gratuitously offensive and bothersome. As far as I’m concerned all these Marvel X-Man superhero type films are intellectual diarrhea, filled with boring sameness. How many times can one sit through the same thing?

Triple 9 (0/10): Dark, profane, and violent, this is a film with no raison d’être or moral, despite an impressive cast.