Friday, May 30, 2008

Juiced and Ripped

BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER* (***)
(Christopher Bell, US, 2008, 105 mins.)

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We were experimenting with it. It was a new thing.
-- Arnold Schwarzenegger

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In the 1980s, pop culture junkies viewed Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone,
and Arnold Schwarzenegger as entertainment figures. To three Poughkeep-
sie-based brothers, they were heroes who inspired the Bell boys to become bodybuilders and power-lifters. While USC grad and former Gold's Gym employ-
ee Christopher Bell doesn't use steroids, his heroes have and his professional wrestler siblings do, leading him to look closer at this growing phenomenon.

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Though Bell explores the health costs, he's mostly concerned with the moral consequences, and speaks with doctors, lawyers, congressmen, gym rats, and
pro athletes to get to the bottom of the conundrum. He also includes a wealth of archival material, notably footage of the congressional hearings on steroid use in baseball (prompted by Jose Canseco's Juiced). The personal nature of his enter-
taining inquiry elevates Bigger, Stronger, Faster* above the average expose.
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The best activities for your health are pumping and humping.
-- Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Bigger, Faster, Stronger* plays Pacific Place on 5/30 at 4:15pm (the asterisk in the title stands for "The Side Effects of Being American"). Director in attendance. The movie opens in Seattle on 6/6 (venue TBA). Click here for The New York Times review. Images from CBS News (Arnold in 1977's Pumping Iron), End Evil, and Film Reference.

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