Parents' Guide to

Untold: Hall of Shame

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Steroid mastermind shows little remorse in fascinating tale.

Movie NR 2023 75 minutes
Untold: Hall of Shame movie poster: A silhouette of a football player running sits atop a large filled syringe horizontally across image

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Mainly featuring Victor Conte and one of his most prominent clients, track and field star Tim Montgomery, this documentary recounts their roles in the steroid scandals of the early 2000s. Conte's role in Untold: Hall of Shame is central, as he was the principal mastermind behind everything. Along with chemist Patrick Arnold and other coaches and trainers of famous athletes, Conte figured out how to cheat drug testing and the system, all while marketing his company, BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative), and his supplement products like "ZMA" (Zinc, Magnesium, Aspartate) and "SNAC" (Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning). But, unfortunately, this story doesn't quite feel like one that teaches a lesson, because Conte largely "got away with it," only having to serve a little over 4 months in federal prison for his crimes.

Fascinatingly, the camera simply lets Conte speak freely, rarely needing to pry or poke, as he's clearly very proud of his role in the history of the steroid explosion, often describing himself as an integral part of various athletes' success. Conte reportedly made over $80 million with his supplement products and continues to thrive today. Polishing his Bentley automobile, Conte is described by others as a "conman" and "snake oil salesman," but clearly this story is also one of American success. A savvy talker and schemer, Conte simply found a way to break the system and largely got away with it. His lawyers during his trial found loopholes and technical escape routes for him that ultimately reduced the federal government's initial 42 charges down to 2. And no athletes were charged with any crimes, either.

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