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Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
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"Bigger" is better than your average documentary for two key reasons. Chris Bell is a likable, very real guy and he guides us through this maze of information much like he probably learned about it in the first place, giving us an in depth look into the use of steroids and how they have affected both the practice and perception of sports in America, and to a lesser extent, the world.
The second, and perhaps more important reason this film sticks out is because it comes from a personal place in Chris' life. As he quickly explains during the beginning of the film, he was the middle of three children, all boys, who grew up with a loving, overweight mother and a loving, but busy with work father. In an attempt to stand out from the rest of the kids, each of the brothers decides to take up weight lifting and try to become famous as wrestlers, hoping to follow the likes of their heroes, Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger into the limelight. They each transform their chubby bodies into bulky muscle powerhouses, but the fame is still fleeting.
Chris' older brother, Mark, actually makes it into the WWE, but his role is that of the guy who always gets beaten up by the more powerful and more famous wrestlers. He doesn't last long. So he starts to take steroids.
Chris decides the way to make it into the limelight is to move to Southern California, to be closer to the action, and the auditions.Read more ›
Chris Bell's film blows away anything that Michael Moore puts out for the reason that even though Bell is against steroids, he realizes that there is a huge gray area with this subject (as there is with almost any topic). Bell points out (rightly so), that performance enchancing drugs are a way of life in just about any walk of life, and that the majority of steroid users are the average Joes wanting to look better, not athletes. He also points out that for all the ranting and raving about the dangers of steroids, alcohol and tobacco abuse count for way more illness and death than do the abuse of steroids. These are fine points that are never brought up by Congress or the mainstream press.
The best part of the film has to go to Bell's delving into why people feel the need to use performance enhancing drugs. The answer? The strong love of a winner found in society. Like I said earlier, this film is even better than the positive reviews it is receiving, and I would put it right up there with "Super-Size Me" as one of the better documentaries released recently. Do yourself a favor and pick this film up - you won't regret it.
It's not necessarily obvious what we're supposed to make of this movie.Read more ›
Here's the thing: his work is neither ardently pro- nor anti-steroids. But, as its subtitle ("the side-effects of being American") implies, Bell notes what happens when three young brothers obsessed with wrestling (we see family tapes of them re-enacting WWE plotlines) have the various heroes of their youth (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan, and Sylvester Stallone as notable examples) subsequently revealed as pharmaceutically-fueled.
It's a testament to Bell's skill as a filmmaker that the unexpected standout is Smelly's wife, Andie. Attractive and articulate, she emerges as the soul of the film. She comes across as a decent, trusting person. Without belaboring the point, Bell makes you see her as testament to his brother's depth and inherent goodness. Her presence also evokes feelings of betrayal in the film-goer when Smelly begins to waffle on his "no more steroids" vow at the end of the film.
Despite the glut of documentaries that have flooded the film world over the past two years, this one ranks at the top of my list.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best documentaries ever made. Heartfelt, fair, intelligent, moral, humane, and engrossing.Published 2 months ago by Marc E. DiPaolo
Sadly, another of the hapless, escapist, "Why me" documentaries saturating society. Just read a few pages from a Charles Dickens novel and you'll surpass anything this... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Hays
Brings a good perspective to the world of competitive sports!Published 2 months ago by christopher hamlin
A very open and (finally) honest discussion on male hormone replacement (testosterone)... i.e. SteroidsPublished 4 months ago by Peter J Mitros