Ostensibly, Bigger, Stronger, Faster is a documentary about one of the hottest topics in American culture today: steroids. But it is also a portrait of a family—the all-American Bell family from Poughkeepsie, New York. The Bells are made up of two parents (Sheldon and Rosemary, married for 37 years) and their three muscle-bound boys: Mike ("Mad Dog"), Chris (who wrote and directed the film), and the youngest, Mark ("Smelly").
The Bell boys came of age in the Reagan-era 80s, at the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the physical fitness craze. Their heroes were people like Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, musclemen wrestlers and action stars who embodied the pumped-up male body image. Young boys everywhere sought to achieve the powerful physiques of these icons, and the Bell boys were no exception. They began intense weight training and undertook intensive dietary changes so as to look like Arnold and excel in sports like football, wrestling, and weightlifting. Only later did they find out that these so-called "heroes" conveniently withheld one crucial little secret to their physical success: steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.
These days, the Bell boys are all grown up, some married and with kids. Two of the three brothers (Mike and Mark) are regular users of steroids, justifying them for competitive powerlifting (Mark) and pro wrestling aspirations (Mike). Chris, who narrates the film, is the only brother who isn't on the juice, and you can see it in his slightly more normal-looking physique. The motivating question, then, that apparently led Chris (who also went to USC film school) to make this documentary is thus: "If steroids are demonized in society and considered un-American, ...1
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This film “Bigger, faster, stronger” is a documentary work of the director Christopher Bell, who decided to make a screen version of one of the most critical facts of modern American society. The basis of this film is the Olympic motto “Faster, higher, stronger”.
Thus, the theme of the movie is “superization” and idealization of lives of Americans and American society. This is a nation which strives to be the best, always be the first and the winner; Americans strive to be the strongest, the fastest, the most powerful, the most successful. For America it is important leadership and victory in all spheres of life: sports, economics, business, politics and international influence, the development of science and technology, and so on. It is really a country that seeks to have the world superiority, and it has it in many areas and spheres of life. But this situation also creates another problem – the problem of idealization and perfectionism of people and their achievements.
In the basis of the documentary is research in sports and sports achievements. Director Christopher Bell examines the topic of steroid use on his own experience and experience of his two brothers, who were brought up on examples of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan and Sylvester Stallone. The film also involved professional athletes, medical experts, fitness centers trainers, who all speak on the topic of anabolic steroids, which are widely used in sports to achieve good results. Also in the film raises more questions and examples of doping: it is, for example, laser vision correction 20/15, which made a famous player Tiger Woods (professional golfer); professional musicians who use drugs that reduce anxiety, and other. All these methods help people to change their results through the effects on the body, although it is not just and correct, as after all, sports and other types of competitions should be based on equal conditions and opportunities for all people. In the film, director Christopher Bell argues that the public opinion about the use of drugs and doping (in order to change the results and success), changes very often, and there is no common decision or opinion about it. For example, a problem that receives wide publicity and hot discussion is the dependence of many athletes from injections of cortisone, which is a legal steroid. In the filmed is raised a discussion of the claim that steroids are harmful to health.
Thus, the main problem raised in the film is that people want to win by any means. Arguing about the theme of self-esteem of Americans, which in particular is based on their belief that American athletes are the most powerful, the strongest and fastest in the world, film creators raise the theme of scandals related to the fact that the heroes of the nation often reach record results only through the application of the latest developments of pharmacologists. Such scandals and problems periodically appear at sporting events, where all athletes must pass a blood test for, as in many kids of sports and sport competitions it is a mandatory testing. And rather often such tests confirm that the athletes use doping for their sporting achievements.
The most important thing is that the problem of doping and steroids usage is studied on personal experience: the subjects of the study are two brothers of the film director Christopher Bell, who themselves become participants in the “steroid” subculture, hoping to realize their own “American dream”. In general, the film is a critical study, and is an interesting and informative first of all for American audience, as well as all those who care about the topic.