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“Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” - every dream comes with a price
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Halfway through the documentary, “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” you get the sad realization that sometimes our mainstream society is completely lost.

The contradictions, the conflicts. The misleading and mixed messages we get bombarded with daily.

I was lucky enough to tune in as this fascinating documentary was just starting on Showtime on a late Saturday (11/6) afternoon and I was instantly riveted.
 
Christopher Bell’s “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*,” is a 2008 documentary film

about the use of anabolic steroids as performance-enhancing drugs in the United States and how this practice relates to the American Dream. Bell discusses how he used it - reluctantly, and how his two brothers also used it as they sought their own American Dream.

One society says it is ok for athletes to use supplements or enhancers in competition. Another society says it is un-American. Congress meets to discuss legislation to outlaw it. While athletes all around the world admit "everyone is using them."

From the Mark McGuires and Barry Bonds to the Cansecos and Chillings. From the late Lyle Alzado to Ben Johnson. Use of sports performance enhancers - legal and illegal - has been rampant.

It is poignant and perplexling, confusing and contradictory, but ultimately the documentary is also compelling. It bears rewatching. See repeat listings below.

Often, when I really get into a movie, through the power of the Internet I will research it as I am watching it. Call it cheating - I call it enhancing the movie experience.

It was when I found out that Bell's older brother - who proclaims in the film that he is obsessed with achieving greatness and not being "an average Joe" - died after this documentary was made, that I was became completely engrossed.

I watched as his older brother talked about using it, about his endless dreams of being somebody special - beyond a man with a beautiful wife and son. I was mezmerized, knowing he would die soon after the film.

Overall it is an easy documentary to watch. Bell narrates and films it in a loose Michael Moore style, except Belli is much more meticulous - and BALANCED in his research.

The dramatic tension is not made up or fictionalized. It just unravels as the film progresses. I won't tell you what the most riveting, sad moments were for me but they were powerful.

The overriding conflict is between the role models we cherish - super idols like Hulk Hogan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who tell your children that clean living and eating right is the thing to do.

Yet later they are revealed to have been secretly



 

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