I've been on a documentary binge lately with Man on Wire, Monster Camp, Dear Zachary (review in progress), and now Bigger Stronger Faster. A really informative documentary is such a great thing for people in this world. It gives us, the viewers, information about a subject that we're either too afraid, too lazy, or just don't have the resources to get. I recently just got into lifting weights and my buddy who has been doing it for years kinda got me going. The synopsis of Bigger Stronger Faster made me want to watch it instantly. Chris Bell examines the lives of his two brothers as well as others who are on steroids and the effects that it has on them pursuing the "American Dream".
Chris Bell grew up as a smaller pudgy kid. His two brothers were kind of the same way. They were all a little overweight. They were active kids, but overweight. The three of them ended up forming a bond over one thing, weightlifting. They all wanted to be like their idols Arnold, Stallone, and Hulk Hogan. Once Chris' brothers became hooked on steroids Chris wanted to learn the real story behind this "illegal" drug and find out....are steroids REALLY bad for you?? He meets some really interesting people along the way. One of them is a bodybuilder in his 50's who's living out of his van in the Golds Gym parking lot in Venice Beach. He remembers the glory days of when Arnold used to work out there and hopes that one day he'll get discovered again as he was once cast in the Stallone film Over The Top years ago. The guy has a great quote that goes something like "This guy over here may be rich, live in a mansion, has everything in the world....but I'm stronger than him, can bench more than him, and can lift more than him....and that's what matters". Later in the film Chris talks with another guy named Greg Valentino. Greg has the worlds largest biceps. They're absolutely fucking HUGE. At one point during the interview he's chewing on a piece of extra rare steak at a restaurant and looks like an animal. But even he admits that when girls see him they think it's gross and he doesn't like looking like that anymore.
Chris interviews tons of officials about the matter and most of the experts are pro-steroids and most of the people who CLAIM to be experts are anti. We see the hardships as well as the good times that his brothers have to go through in their lives knowing that in order to be the absolute best and strongest person, you HAVE to take steroids. Chris proves in the film that it's pretty much a fact. There's a great scene where he talks to a photographer for a major muscle magazine who takes the "before" and "after" pictures of bodybuilders to show what will happen to your muscles if you take these great supplements and life weights. He discovers that many of them are taken on the SAME day. In the before picture they make the guy look all depressed and slouched over, in the after they simply shave his chest, butter him up, and make him flex. It was amazing and scary at the same time knowing that people are being so mislead. But even the photographer says "I can't believe anyone believes it's an actual "before" and "after" picture anyways, I mean look at this (pointing to the picture) this looks ridiculous".
In the end this was a highly entertaining and very informative documentary about the world of weightlifting, steroids, and even sports in America. I must say that this Chris Bell proved his point in that steroids, although having some side effects, really aren't nearly as bad as alcohol and drugs. Do I think it's considered cheating when used in professional sports?? Yes. Do I think it should be legal?? After watching this and with a warning label....yes. Would I personally ever take them?? No. Bigger Stronger Faster gets 5 outa 5.