Bodybuilder and I Movie Review

Author: Rod Ferris B.A. CPT(YMCA, ACE), CPAFLA
Myfit had the opportunity to review a new bodybuilding documentary called the 'The BodyBuilder and I'. We must admit that we were skeptical over the quality of filming (Canadian films aren't always the most polished). It became apparent within a few minutes of watching this film that they spent the necessary time needed to completely finish this documentary. When you think of bodybuilding films you think of 'Pumping Iron', which follows the life of Arnold Swartzenegger during his amazing Mr. Olympia championships. I would say that if you liked that movie you will definitely have to see this one. The Bodybuilder and I

Quick Review

Our overall impression with this film is not what we expected. We expected more focus on bodybuilding, and the day and the life of Bill Friedman and less attention with the personal relationships of Bill. However, we throughly enjoyed this movie and were pleasently surprised to see how we actually cared for the Bill (the 50+ year old bodybuilder) and want him to win the over 50+ year old bodybuilding championships. The 'Bodybuilder and I' has some laugh out loud moments while making us feel strongly about a growing father and son relationship. recommends going to see this movie.

The Movie Description: CAUTION!!! Contains Spoilers


The movie follows the life of 59 year old Bodybuilder named 'Bill' who has won a over 50 year old bodybuilding championship, and after placing third last year he is trying to regain his championship. Bill is a very gruff, mean old man who has acheived a lot in life. When you first watch him he comes across as a complete ass; swearing at his trainers, being short with his son and daughter in law. However, it's not his demeaner which is interesting; It's his shear desire for the sport he loves: Bodybuilding.

Narrating the film is his son Jeff Friedman who is trying to find himself, and receive the much needed attention from his father which he never received as a child. He makes fun of his father during the movie and thinks he looks

absolutely 'rediculous'. During the movie they his son seems to grow to understand the bodybuilding culture and starts to almost enjoy it and even takes off his clothes to ask if he would make a good bodybuilder.

We also meet a few of Bill's competitors: Jerry Shaperio, Carl Krasnor, and Dave Weinstock (his rival) who in my opinion is very likeable and you almost want Dave to beat out Bill.

During the movie Bill lightens up and seems to be a little more light hearted with the narrator (his son Jeff) when they watch 'Pumping Iron'. The first movie they have ever watched together. They also joke around together in the tanning room later in the movie growing their relationship.

Jeff seems to really struggle with trying to understand why Bill wasn't in his life growing up. We meet Bill's ex-wife and they discribe their relationship and try to understand Bill and why he hasn't been around to support Jeff growing up.

The Competition

Bill looks ripped, but his competition also looks great too. The atmosphere is light before the show and while they get all oiled and tanned before the show the judges demonstrate what is needed to become the next champion.

They start to get the pump right before the show, they go up onstage and finally, the poseoff! Bill looks GREAT but forgets to show his personality during the poses. The other men seem to have him beat. The individuals are up next. Jerry, Carl and Dave all have great routines but Bill seems to have them beat with his superman costume and finally the judgement:

Marshall Finishes Third
Jerry Finishes Second
Carl finishes FIRST!

Bill is extremely dissapointed, and you feel for him after the show. There is a real sense of commitment which didn't pan out. Calvin his trainer seems even more dissapointed than Bill is. Bill seems to take the loss with dignity and we know we will be cheering for him next year.

So, what happens next?

Bills son the narrator and Bill start to workout together and seem to find a common passion which will hopefully grow into a great father and son relationship.