Bigger Stronger Faster

Bigger Stronger Faster ( 2008 IMDB ) is a fun, informative and insightful documentary about steroid use in the USA. The story is narated by Chris Bell, a body builder and power lifter who has used steroids and has two brothers that use steroids.

The documentary starts with the story of Chris and his brothers who grew up in the 1980s and watched WWE style wrestling. This led to body building that gave  the brothers something to do. When they progressed further on they all began to take steroids. Chris, the narrator, quit using them.

Bell goes on to present a number of doctors who have different views on the dangers of steroids. A number of the doctors point out that there is no solid evidence that links steroid use to many of the health problems ascribed to it. The alarmists who propagandize against the use of steroids are also given time to present their case which is great to see. They are also solidly undermined by the doctors who don’t believe steroids to be a great health threat.

Bell looks at steroids in other sports and how their use is common in the NHL and Major League Baseball. It’s hard not to think that they are also common in most sports. The critical point is made that No amount of steroids will make someone who doesn’t have the skill into a pro-footballer or a pro-baseballer.

The attitude toward steroids in politics is targeted and shown to be gross hypocrisy and political grandstanding. It’s pointed out that the US congress had longer hearings on steroids in baseball than on the Iraq war. Some of the politicians who led this sad witch hunt, Joe Biden and Henry Waxman, are shown to be either hypocrites or ignorant. Henry Waxman is interviewed and also give a fair chance to present his case. One of the players the Texas Rangers,  the team owned by George W Bush, states that he was sure the owners knew of the practice. The remarkable career of Arnold Schwarzenegger also comes in for critique.

Bell talks to people in the bodybuilding industry and the interviews are interesting and amusing. He branches out to look at the supplements industry and makes his own supplement and sets up a fake campaign to sell it. He talks to some muscle models who sell their own stuff and they talk about steroids. He also talks to a muscle photographer who comments that he can do the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots in one day with some makeup and photoshop. He then promptly does this. It’s very impressive.

The documentary is really fine. It’s fun, informative and Bell is charismatic as the presenter. Steroid use is a fascinating subject and Bell handles it with knowledge, insight and a good sense of humour

4/5

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