Awards–Nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, 2008
Nominated for the Feature Film Award at the Prism Awards, 2009
Summary–Takes a look at steroid use in America, especially among celebrities and athletes. The film is made by Chris Bell, and follows him as he struggles with whether or not to use, especially since both of his brothers do.
My Thoughts–I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this film or not. I don’t know a lot about the topic, and aside from being a baseball fan, don’t really think too much about steroids. My opinion is that if they are illegal, then nobody should be using them and also, it is cheating. I thought it was interesting that one of the big questions this film asks is, “Should they even be illegal?”
Chris Bell is the director and narrator of the film. He talks about how Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan, and Sylvester Stallone were all his heroes. He spent a lot of his high school years bodybuilding and getting buff to be like his role models. Of course, later in life he realized that they were all on steroids at one point. Chris thinks steroids are morally wrong and after trying it, decided that he wouldn’t use them. But both of his brothers use them on a regular basis.
The documentary spends a lot of time talking about how the negative effects of steroids have been blown out of proportion. It is pointed out that all drugs have negative side effects and potential pitfalls. Also, tobacco and alcohol are legal even though they are harmful when used and cause thousands of deaths every year. One statistic they mention is that deaths related to steroids in one given year were only 3. From the info they provided, I can understand why it is a little bit silly for someone who possess anabolic steroids to be classified as a federal drug criminal.
I do, however, think that they should not be allowed in sports. One of the most depressing things about this documentary is how many people said “everybody does it, so that’s why I did it.” He talks to people from so many different sports and they all say the same thing. It kind of broke my heart a little bit. It really is true when the narrator says “Steroids are as American as apple pie.” Sigh.
There are a lot of things addressed in this film (my one complaint is that it did feel a little long) but all of it is tied in with Chris’ struggles with his family and their decision to use steroids. The interviews and discussions with his family members really added a lot to the topic and made it more personal.
Final Verdict–Well-made, interesting film that will never let you look at your favorite athletes in the same way.