‘Bigger, Stronger, Faster*’ Director Christopher Bell Somehow Makes Smoking Look Uncool

Released last week, Christopher Bell’s steroid exposé Bigger Stronger Faster* is one of the better documentaries we’ve seen so far this year. (See our interview with the director here.) So it feels like a good time to feature Billy Jones, a darkly hilarious short film Bell made back in 2000. Stylistically, this exquisitely produced period piece with fantastic, Walter Mitty–esque overtones is absolutely nothing like BSF*. At the same time, they do share some surprising elements: Billy Jones tackles the issue of cigarette marketing on a young boy, and watching the two films, one gets a compelling, disturbing portrait of an America dominated by superhero images pre-sold to impressionable minds. Yeah, it’ll cheer you up, this one. —Bilge Ebiri