Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

Directed by Chris Bell. (2008, PG-13, 105 min.)

REVIEWED By Josh Rosenblatt, Fri., June 6, 2008

Remember when Major League Baseball was up against the wall for looking the other way on steroid use? Despite the fact that their players were puffing up like soufflés and routinely hitting home runs into neighboring cities, league officials dealt with that controversy like Capt. Renault shutting down Rick’s roulette wheel in Casablanca: They were shocked – shocked! – to find their players were taking performance-enhancing drugs. Well, documentarian Bell was shocked as well when he found out the vitamin-fueled American heroes of his youth – Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger – were users as well. Only he was shocked for real. Even at age 33, Bell couldn’t believe that the America he grew up in was full of liars, cheats, fake heroes, and charlatans. And he’s a professional-wrestling fan! I know what you’re thinking: How naive can one guy be? Normally I’d be asking the same question, but there’s something so genuine in Bell’s demeanor, something so wide-eyed in his pursuit of this newly discovered truth, something so devastating about his disappointment when he realizes that even his own brothers are hooked on steroids, that it would take a harder heart than mine to be unsympathetic. Bigger, Stronger, Faster* is full of revelations, all brought to light by Bell’s good-natured, Michael Moore-lite dogging of athletes, health experts, government officials, and even his own parents (who have mastered the art of willful ignorance when it comes to their unnaturally bulbous sons). Enhancement drugs, he learns, are everywhere – beta blockers for musicians with performance anxiety, liquid Viagra for porn stars with … well … performance anxiety, even amphetamines for fighter pilots in the Air Force – so who’s to say which ones should be illegal? Especially since there are no studies that actually prove steroids are bad for you. Wait, what? That’s right: According to the experts Bell interviews, there’s no proof that steroids cause cancer or kidney failure or impotence or any of the other calamities we’ve been told they cause. Steroids, they claim, aren’t illegal because they’re dangerous; they’re illegal because lawmakers believe using them is cheating and therefore – wait for it – un-American. This is remarkable! Is the rage against steroids really nothing more than misinformed cultural hysteria? Is this our generation’s Reefer Madness moment? If so, then Bigger, Stronger, Faster* may prove to be more than just a good time at the movies; it could be another Super Size Me … only bigger. Muscle, after all, weighs more than fat.

More Chris Bell
The Rise of the Invisible Man
The Rise of the Invisible Man
Can longshot Democrat Chris Bell ring up a miracle?

Amy Smith, Oct. 27, 2006

More Chris Bell
Bell Rings for Kinky in Agriculture Race
Bell Rings for Kinky in Agriculture Race
Former Dem governor hopeful endorses man that helped him lose in '06

Richard Whittaker, May 7, 2014

More Films
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
Visually arresting tale of a high school gone to sea

Ashley Moreno, April 28, 2017

A man goes to great lengths to secure a better life for his daughter

Steve Davis, April 28, 2017

More by Josh Rosenblatt
SXSW Film Review: <i>Bikes vs. Cars</i>
SXSW: Bikes vs. Cars
Swedish doc looks into the war between wheels

March 16, 2015

SXSW Film Review: <i>Sweaty Betty</i>
SXSW: Sweaty Betty
A dog, two single dads, and a 1,000-pound pig

March 15, 2015


Bigger, Stronger, Faster*, Chris Bell

This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)