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.
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. This is the book
that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.
Click the book to read the first chapter and for
ordering information. Also available on Kindle.
by Tony Medley
This is a trashy
movie about trashy people, a movie that basically disdains its plot in
order to concentrate on its characters, characters so devoid of good
sense and morality that nobody sitting in a theater could possibly have
any sympathy for any of them.
Based on a novel
by Pete Dexter, Paris Trout, which in turn was "inspired" by a
true story, the producers have fallen into the unfortunate trap of
having the scriptwriter, Lee Daniels, direct his own script. When this
happens the resulting movie generally drags on far too long (Woody Allen
excepted) because the director is so in love with every scene the writer
writes that he can't possibly cut anything. This film epitomizes that
failing. I started looking at my watch at the 45 minute mark and may
have set a record for subsequent looks because I was willing it so hard
to be over.
Daniels got his
A-list cast (Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Scott
Glenn, and Zac Efron) to sign up for this smutty movie because it is
extremely edgy, which apparently appealed to all of the actors who have
heretofore mostly been in squeaky clean roles. McConaughey has
apparently been trying to dump his romcom reputation by taking edgier
roles. He's coming off playing a psychotic killer/cop in Killer Joe.
Here he's another psycho, Ward Jansen, a writer who returns to the
Florida town of his birth and upbringing to cover the story of a
convicted killer, Hillary (Cusack, who gives a really spooky
performance), Ward feels has been improperly convicted. Efron plays his
younger brother, Jack, who has the hots for Hillary's girlfriend,
The problem is
that the plot, trying to prove that Hillary was innocently convicted, is
clearly secondary to something else. Maybe Daniels is just trying to
harp on racism, because everybody in the movie (all white, except for
David Oyelowo, who gives a good performance playing a journalist helping
Ward) is cruel to the Jansen's family maid, Anita (Macy Gray), who
narrates the film and who is its only sympathetic character.
Making the film
worse is a disgustingly graphic scene in which both Kidman and Cusack
masturbate, somewhat similar to the silly oral sex scene in the
aforementioned Killer Joe. It goes on and on and on with Kidman
moaning and groaning reminiscent of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally
(although Meg was doing it for laughs), but with a graphic
close-up of Kidman's genitals and a slow pan up her body to her face to
show that it is, in fact, Nicole's body we are seeing; no body doubles
here. Meg Ryan, who was her generation's Doris Day, apparently didn't
like that image and attempted career-suicide by appearing in a near-porn
film (a slimy piece of trash called In The Cut in 2003). Have you
heard much of Meg Ryan since? Kidman should pray that doesn't happen to
her, although she does give a sterling performance. There's also a
repulsive graphic shot of one of the characters who has been subjected
to a brutal homosexual sexual attack.
had it with all this graphic stuff in modern movies. Sex was much sexier
and violence more fearsome in the old days when everything was implied.
Maybe it indicates that directors who insert this stuff in their films
don't have the talent the old guys like William Wellman and Mervyn LeRoy
Note to Daniels:
unless you insert a major character in your films with whom the audience
can sympathize and root for, you're going to lose much of your audience.
Your characters here are so full of disagreeable personalities that in
the end I didn't care what happened to any of them.
capture the atmosphere of the film, especially the scenes in which Ward
and Jack are tramping through the swamp, and the cinematography (Roberto
Schaefer) is outstanding.
Finally, this is
advertised as a film noir. Be advised, this is not a noir. It has none
of what have come to be recognized as requirements to qualify as a true