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Bigger Stronger Faster* (2008)

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An examination of America's win-at-all-cost culture from the perspective of bodybuilding and performance enhancing drugs, as it focuses on a pair of siblings chasing their dream.

Director:

Chris Bell

Writers:

Chris Bell (as Christopher Bell), Alexander Buono | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chris Bell Chris Bell ... Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hank Aaron ... Himself (archive footage)
Lyle Alzado ... Himself (archive footage)
Joshua Amsden Joshua Amsden ... Himself
Ben Aukes Ben Aukes ... Himself
Kelly Beecher Kelly Beecher ... Himself
Mark Bell Mark Bell ... Himself
Mike Bell Mike Bell ... Himself
Rosemary Bell Rosemary Bell ... Herself
Sheldon Bell Sheldon Bell ... Himself
Joe Biden ... Himself (archive footage) (as Sen. Joseph Biden)
Mike Blanton Mike Blanton ... Himself
Christian Boeving ... Himself
Barry Bonds ... Himself (archive footage)
Jim Bunning ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. Is it any wonder that so many of our heroes are on performance enhancing drugs? Director Christopher Bell explores America's win-at-all-cost culture by examining how his two brothers became members of the steroid-subculture in an effort to realize their American dream. Written by BSF Film

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The side effects of being American. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving drugs, language, some sexual content and violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 January 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bigger Stronger Faster*: *The Side Effects of Being American See more »

Filming Locations:

Columbus, Ohio, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,576, 1 June 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$307,811, 17 August 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BSF Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Months after the film was released, Chris Bell s older brother, Mark Bell ("Mad Dog") died at a rehabilitation facility at age 37. According to the Wrestler Observer Newsletter, his death was the result of an inhalation-induced heart attack which was, "brought on by an accidental inhalation of difluoroethane, a chemical used in Dust-Off, a household maintenance product." See more »

Quotes

Barry Bonds: We just need to go out there and do our jobs, just as you professionals do your jobs. No... All you guys lied. All of y'all. In a story or whatever, have lied. Should you have asterisks behind your name? All of you have lied! All of you have said something wrong, all of you have dirt. All of you. When your closet's clean, then come clean somebody else's. But clean yours first.
See more »

Connections

Features NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

Well Made, Honest Look at Steroids
16 July 2011 | by bdgill12See all my reviews

Like many men his age, growing up Chris Bell idolized the muscle stars of the 80s like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Hulk Hogan. He dreamed of becoming a professional bodybuilder and working out at Gold's Gym with his heroes. He was devastated, therefore, when he realized these men were juiced up and that their message was fraudulent. Chris reluctantly accepted that to truly compete in the sport he loved he would have to turn to steroids and ultimately rejected the drugs. His brothers, Mike and Mark, couldn't make the same choice. "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" explores the controversy that is the steroid industry and the American obsession with being just what the film's title describes.

"BSF" is what you would call a balanced documentary, or to purists, a "true" documentary. Chris explores both sides of the argument over steroids and does his best to leave the final decision of whether or not steroids have been overly vilified up to the audience. There is a certain amount of reluctance to the narrative that Chris provides and you can sense the conflict within himself as he takes us through this journey. On the one hand, he believes the drugs to be morally wrong. On the other, he knows he can't compete without them and proponents of steroids (featured prominently throughout "BSF") make a compelling case for their usage. Chris is a human face for the battle against steroids, a sympathetic figure who really sums up the issues that so many athletes face these days.

Unlike some of the reviews I've read, "BSF" is NOT a pro-steroid documentary. Those who would push for the legalization of the juice are given an opportunity to express their beliefs and discuss the scientific tests that would support their assertions. But I found this to be more in the interest of the aforementioned balance rather than portions of a propaganda piece for 'roids. The classic side effects of steroids (acne, uncontrollable anger, loss of fertility, etc.) are not only discussed but clearly displayed by the drug's defenders even as they argue against these afflictions. When Chris quietly challenges some of the assertions of anti-steroid campaigners, notably Congressman Henry Waxman, it is done with respect and genuine interest in the factual basis for some of the widely-held beliefs about steroids. Through these questions, Chris shows that the issue of just how destructive these drugs are is not as clear-cut as we tend to think. Whether right or wrong, you can find studies that will support your claims either way.

Chris brings the point home, however, when he turns the camera on his own family as he peers into the lives of his brothers, both of who use steroids regularly and both of whom have been negatively impacted by their habits. It is a truly compelling moment when Chris' dad tells him point-blank that he expects Mike to turn up dead sooner rather than later. It's even more hard-hitting when you know that just a few months after the filming of "Bigger, Stronger, Faster", Mike did die at the age of 37. A longtime steroid user who would have done anything to break into the world of big time wrestling, Mike's early demise serves as this documentary's lasting impact and perhaps the final point to swing the balance of the film's debate.

Check out my site: www.thesoapboxoffice.blogspot.com


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