OK…I had to reschedule, saw it friday. Saw it at a local “art house” with a total seating capacity of about 25. Less than ten in attendance for the viewing I took in, but they were interested and paid attention throughout. I resisted the buttered popcorn…Here is the promised review below, the body of which I will be posting, as mentioned, at www.flixter.com:
Regarding filmmaker Christopher Bell: If you are anti, you’ll say he is pro; and if you are pro, you will say he did not go far enough. Bell’s alleged “moral dilemma”, (that his/our so-called “heroes” were flawed for using PED’s/Performance Enhancing Drugs) often comes off as childishly simplistic and overwrought, merely an affectation to advance the plot.
It comes off as more sly wink, with his own smarmy brand of humor, than true righteous indignation. I have extremely serious issues with his portrayals of how “easy” it is to obtain steroids and how to manufacture bogus “legal” supplements. These segments were both misleading and downright irresponsible, particularly in light of the crackdown on those attempting to obtain steroids. There are now a vast number of people doing hard time and some have even lost their lives (the ultimate “unintended consequence”) in this new “war on testosterone”, yet Bell does not once mention this and treats the issue as a lighthearted joke.
I consider this a major fault in this film, an omission that undermines the rest of the content by effectively leaving the viewer ignorant of the serious consequences facing the “little guy” (rather than rich sports/Hollywood figures who can afford expensive legal resources), and avoids taking to task the law enforcement arms who would rather make a “safe” steroid arrest than take the personal risk of going gun to gun against violent armed drug gangsters pushing serious drugs that actually are a menace to society, unlike steroids.
Greg Valentino is brought in for shock value, and again, it is left for the viewer to assume his distorted arms are the result of steroid use, despite the fact there is no other person shown with a similar look (synthol oil), yet the segments with Jay Cutler and Will Harris were cut from the film(?). The segments with John Romano and Dr. Yesalis, who have something constructive to say, should have been expanded over the Valentino footage.
Bell also dropped the ball regarding the Sylvester Stallone incident in Australia, reinforcing the impression that Stallone was physically arrested for “Steroids”, when in fact the compound was HGH, was legally held by Stallone under a prescription, and that Stallone never spent any time in handcuffs or in jail. The beef was strictly an importation issue, nothing more (until the biased media got hold of the story, that is). Stallone’s comments about HGH (“It’s nothing”) and pro-testosterone comments (“Improves the quality of life”…“May be sold over the counter in 10 years”) regarding mature men and HRT are not mentioned.
Let me point out the hypocrisy of actress Suzanne Somers freely championing hormone therapy for women without a peep heard from the media, while Stallone is loudly reviled for doing the exact same thing for men, an outrageous display of the double standard gone wild. Bell’s love-hate relationship with bodybuilding and powersports provide him with a dragon to both ride and slay at the same time in his quest for fame, but it is a shame he feels it necessary to step on both the “innocent and the guilty” in his juvenile tantrum against Catholic style disillusionment (Was it really necessary, for example, to dog Arnold by pointing out the winner of the Arnold Classic had a steroid related arrest history?).
I could go on, but the intelligent reading this will “get my drift”, while the close-minded fanatics cannot be helped anyway. At least he did cover the positive use of steroids in medicine, and included the HIV+ subjects comments, and makes the point that steroid use is no “shortcut”, and users in fact train as hard or harder than alleged “naturals”. The film does more good than harm in the total scheme of it’s subject matter, but is very far from definitive for the general public. The film is vastly superior to the Documentary “The Man Whose Arms Exploded”, which was rife with misinformation and was designed to be an anti-Steroid/PED propaganda piece (Curiously, both films feature many of the same people).
It may be better to simply man-up and produce a blatantly pro-PED piece rather than claim to be evenhanded and fail both sides in the process. Nonetheless, I still highly recommend seeing the film and let the chips fall where they may, although it still leaves the burden on anyone sporting an above-average physique to defend themselves against those who have seen the film and now fancy themselves “experts”, but remain hostile on the subject. Two steps forward, and one step back for “Bigger, Stronger and Faster”.