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Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

4.4 out of 5 stars 165 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

When you discover that your heroes have all broken the rules, do you follow the rules, or do you follow your heroes? From the producers of Bowling For Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 comes a powerful new documentary that unflinchingly explores steroid use in the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world: America.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Bell, Mark Bell, Mike Bell, Christian Boeving, Floyd Landis
  • Directors: Christopher Bell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001B7CNW4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,064 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bigger, Stronger, Faster*" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By thornhillatthemovies.com VINE VOICE on July 7, 2008
Format: DVD
"Bigger, Stronger, Faster", the new documentary from Chris Bell, and produced by many of the people who have worked on Michael Moore's documentaries, is a very entertaining, level-handed look at the use of steroids in America.

"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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I wanted to see this film ever since it got outstanding reviews during its theatrical run. Unfortunately, that theatrical run did not include my town. However, when I watched the dvd, I found that the reviews did not do this film justice.
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.
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Format: Amazon Video
The premise of this film is something akin to "imagine if Forrest Gump grew up worshiping muscular TV and movie personalities and then as an adult discovered that he was the only person in the world who hadn't realized that his heroes had all been consuming vast quantities of steroids." Throw in a morbidly obese mother who imagines that her home-made junk food is acceptable because the sugar and fat it contains is "all natural" and you have a cast of well-intentioned people who are clearly unfit for survival in a world more complicated than that of a Disney cartoon. Imagine also the shock-horror overall message: that you can't trust US TV personalities or the US TV news to tell you the truth! Who today could possibly imagine the US media is anything other than an ad-driven component of the entertainment industry with the sole concern of attracting eyeballs regardless of the nonsense it may be necessary to promulgate in order to do so? So the "expose" of the hypocrisy surrounding steroid use is also rather touching as once again it seems the documentary maker was the last person in the world to realize that the USA is the reigning champion of hypocrisy, double-standards, mindless noise masquerading as "entertainment" and a total commitment to the lowest common denominator (unless, that is, we can go lower through sheer persistence...). And who'd have thought it: American politicians are mostly just intellectual midgets who create and then exploit non-issues to inflate their own money-grubbing careers. Whatever next? I half expected the movie at some point to inform us that Fred Flintstone isn't a real person...

It's not necessarily obvious what we're supposed to make of this movie.
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Format: DVD
Chris Bell's "Bigger, Stronger Faster*" is a brilliant documentary. His triumph is to crystallize the steroids debate into its effects on a single family: His own. The stars of the film are the Bell brothers - big brother Mark (aka, Mad Dog) is a would-be WWE wrestler; younger brother Mike (aka, Smelly) is one of the world's top power lifters; and writer/director Chris - no less addicted to perfecting his physique - balances his bodybuilding obsession with a degree from USC Film School. His unique blend of interest and career path has given us a fascinating film.

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.
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