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09/04/13

Getting Big On The Big Screen: Fitness Finds A Role In Film

The documentary "Super-Size Me" taught us that eating McDonald's is bad and "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" reminded us that taking steroids is equally frowned upon.
And what about Arnold Schwarzenegger and "Pumping Iron" and the soon-to-be debuting "Generation Iron" film? Both just showed us that bigger is better -- when it is done the right way.
Those aforementioned films showcase eating habits, fitness and body image in similar lights albeit on different ends of the health spectrum. They're also incredibly cathartic in how they sprinkle in drama, intensity, drive, determination and decadence all for the pursuit of perfection or to simply prove a point.
Introducing the topsy-tury, curvy and cantankerous world of health and fitness -- you're certainly more than ready for your close up. In a health-conscious society now more than ever, health is as big of a Hollywood heavy hitter as the Brad Pitts and Julia Roberts of the world, even if the messages reside at various spots on the spectrum.
In the case of "Super Size Me," film-maker Morgan Spurlock set out to show that fast-food kingpin McDonald's is in the business of mass marketing and media supremacy with a red-nosed "clown," rather than putting much emphasis on quality of food. Spurlock set out to eat McDonald's every day for a month and the results were nothing short of sickening.

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He gained weight, felt terrible and looked even worse -- his 30-day binge painfully ended and so did his exercise in the extreme. While the point of just how poor McDonald's food is for you, no one eats its three times a day, seven days a week, thus tagging his "research" as anything but absolute. That said, McDonald's now lists its caloric intake for everything from chicken nuggets to burgers, so perhaps Spurlock's on-camera splendor mixed disgust truly was worthwhile.
From food to flexing, exercise is equally as renowned, intriguing and virtually intoxicating to watch as dedicated dead-lifters and cardiovascular crusaders pursue peak physical perfection for all to see, courtesy of "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" and "Generation Iron."
Two movies, one goal -- flawless physiques -- but two very different means to an end. "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" from writer/director Christopher Bell doesn't promote steroid use but rather showcases the darker side of the gym and fitness scene and just how obsession with abs and "getting huge" is part of a culture cultivated by heroic, hulked-up heroes put on a pedestal to admire.
With "Generation Iron," the admiration isn't so much focused on human flaws as far as performance-enhancing drugs go but rather a healthy approach to chiseling a body but also a legacy of legality, too. "Generation Iron," set for release on September 20, 2013, courtesy of Vlad Yudin (producer and writer), is deeply rooted in a two-fold philosophy: muscle definition at its finest and finitely displayed focus as a documentary that chronicles the trials and tribulations of a journey to Mr. Olympiad.
"Generation Iron" differs from "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" in that the former focuses on how to make every muscle in the body pop, while the latter just simply showed the staggering effects -- good and bad -- of altering your body for the sake of success.
And in the end, health-related Hollywood hits come in all shapes and sizes but despite their resounding differences in storytelling, theme and overall sanctimoniousness, they show remarkable range underscored with personal restitution, resolve and resigning one's self with an audience that simply can't look away.

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