If you’re looking to escape the summer movies, which have been pretty disappointing so far, you should check out the movie Bigger Stronger Faster*. While it’s not the best documentary you’ll see, Chris Bell’s story about steroids, his life and his family paints and interesting portrait about athletics, male-self image and what it takes to achieve success these areas. Of course, what does it take to get there, steroids. As children, Bell and his brothers Mad Dog and Stinky idolized wrestlers, football players and weightlifters. But as Bell’s doc goes deeper into the life of wrestlers, athletes and body builders, it turns out that many of their heroes were on the juice of some kind.
We all know the story of Canadian runner Ben Johnson getting stripped of his gold medal and title of “World’s Fastest Man” because he was juicing. But what about the American Carl Lewis who was the silver medalist in that race? Turns out that Lewis was notified that he was ineligible to run in Seoul Olympics well before the 1988 games because his blood tested positive for performance enhancement materials found in his blood. But wait, isn’t Seoul the same place he won a silver medal (then Gold after Johnson was stripped of his medal)? The US Olympic team suggested that Lewis positive test was a result of a tea of some herbs and he should be allowed to run. In an interview with Lewis, he denies the claim that he did anything wrong, but based on classified documents that are unearthed, Bell asks challenges the audience to rethink what they know.
The film compares steroids to marijuana, at least how the two drugs are viewed in the public’s eye. Remember reefer madness? Bell found an anti-steroid back to school special starring Ben Affleck that is very similar to reefer madness.
After asking the questions, do steroids really hurt people and why can people inject themselves with a form of botulism in botox but not steroids when they are doing the same thing, to look good? What is wrong with Steroids?
Chris Bell’s views of steroids are indeed provocative and challenges of the status quo are very interesting. The story of Bell’s family falls a little flat and can drag on for sometime, but you will leave the theater with a different thought about steroids than you did when you walked in.