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.
Click the book to read the first chapter and for
ordering information. Also available on Kindle.
Zero Dark Thirty
by Tony Medley
OK for children.
The decision one
has to make is whether it's worth sitting through the first two hours,
that seems more like five, to see the final 37 minutes. Director Kathryn
Bigelow has decided to tell the story of the raid that killed Osama bin
Laden by starting 10 years before with the attack on 9/11 and moving on
from there. This is akin to telling the story of the Lincoln's second
inaugural address by starting with Columbus discovering America in 1492.
disdains telling of the courage and brilliance of the Navy SEALs who
accomplished the task and the danger of what they did, by concentrating
the film on one woman, Maya (Jessica Chastain), who is, according to the
producers "based on a real person." In Hollywood parlance, all that
means is that there was a woman who worked for the CIA at the time.
According to this film, Maya is the reason bin Laden was found and
killed. So for two hours we are treated to Maya's single-minded pursuit
of bin Laden when just about everybody around her opposed her.
One of the
reasons that might explain why the film spends so much time on things
other than the raid is that Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal spent
quite a bit of time developing a film about the search for bin Laden.
When bin Laden was actually killed, they had to consider scrapping all
their work and make a film that ended with the killing raid. Instead of
scrapping it, though, they just tacked the raid on to the end of what
they had already prepared. At least that's the way this movie looks,
since 80% of it is about the search for bin Laden.
The raid to kill
bin Laden was a marvelous testament to American military men. It was
highly dangerous and spectacularly risky. This film shows the raid, and
this part of the film is very well done, but it does not show the
planning or the evaluation of the huge risks involved, and because it
only takes up the last half hour of the film, it diminishes the
remarkable accomplishment. It also barely touches on the danger.
Bigelow, a woman, chooses to basically ignore the men who planned and
carried out the raid and give all the credit to another woman. Bigelow
has admitted that the fact that a woman played a key role "thrilled"
reason why they chose to concentrate the story on "Maya." The woman upon
whom the character is based cooperated fully with Bigelow and Boal.
Thus, she was made the heroine, pictured by Bigelow and Boal as the only
person really interested in getting bin Laden. However, apparently she
is not the self-effacing, quiet person portrayed by Chastain. According
to Alexander C. Kaufman in an article in The Wrap, "Earlier this year,
when she and a handful of employees were awarded the agency's
Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the officer criticized her fellow
recipients. She hit ‘reply all’
to an e-mail announcement of the awards, a former CIA official told the
Post. The thrust of her message, the former official said, was: 'You
guys tried to obstruct me. You fought me. Only I deserve the award.'"
The first two
hours are so uninvolving that I was fighting sleep most of the time. The
bombings and attacks, which are supposed to be surprising, even
shocking, are so clumsily handled and so telegraphed that you can see
them coming a mile away, except for one bombing in a hotel that does
come out of the blue and makes one jump.
help things much. Her performance is greatly below what was required.
She doesn't exude the charisma that would seem to be necessary for a
woman in a man's world to do what she is given to do in this movie.
Someone like Emily Blunt would have been much more appropriate for the
role. But the fault doesn't lie entirely with Chastain. Bigelow's
directing and Boal's script have to take equal blame.
One bright spot
in the film is the music by Alexandre Desplat. The filmmakers fail in
their effort to create the tension that should be natural to a story
like this, but Desplat does his best to make whatever tension the film
creates, which isn't much.
So this really
isn't the story of the raid, how it was planned, and how it was carried
out, or the men in the raid. No, it's the quasi-fictional story of how
one woman was responsible for finding and killing bin Laden. The first
two hours provide a fine antidote for insomnia. I was looking forward to
this film and came away deeply disappointed.