Sunday, August 01, 2010

Documentary Review: Bigger Stronger Faster*

Bigger Stronger Faster is a well done doc on steroid use, and the curious relationship America has with 'steroids'. My rant on steroids was a couple of years ago. I dislike the idea of kids and teens doing it, but if adults want to risk their health, then fine. Some of my fears or concerns with steroids are discussed in this documentary and surprise surprise my school sports indoctrination colored my view of steroids (the Lyle Alzado lie). My dislike of steroids are a bit lower now with time, reading and even this documentary. There are long term risks because few if any studies have been done, but a lot of the information out there comes with complete crap 'children are at risk' bias. I also think new designer drugs will be coming to the market that will make anabolic steroids look mild in comparison, and these drugs will have far less risk because they will not impact your reproductive organs (like SARMs). Once we have gene therapy with no side effects, who would ever chance the side effects from anabolic steroids?

At the heart of this doc, the narrator, Chris Bell, has a loving family that is American as apple pie, growing up in the American Dream but still feeling inadequate. His two brothers use steroids. He pushes them and confronts them. It is a nice touch to the doc, as you hear stats, professionals, medical history and studies in between the Bell family's history and conversations. His mom talking about how Oreo cream is the best part being her story to boost her middle boy's self esteem is precious and something only a loving mom would create. Chris has the older brother he idolizes and the younger brother who 'surpasses' him to interact with through the film. Both have the size or strength Chris does not through better genetic draws and steroids. At the end, Chris says steroids are not the problem but a symptom. Looking at the wikipedia page for the film, I read that the older brother died while in a rehab facility. The film, and Papa Bell's comments, seem eerily prophetic. Steroids did not kill him, but the drive that steroids were an enabler of did.

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