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Lifestories — Families in Crisis a Body to Die for: The Aaron Henry Story

Scripter Willy Holtzman's warning about athletes using steroids gets down to business with the dramatizationof the true account of high-school football player Aaron Henry, who, trying to better himself for autumn scrimmage, starts shooting up. The story is simple and direct; major problem is that it's too compact.

With:
Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Genesse, Grace Zabriskie, Ernie Hudson, Kamela Dawson, Michael Cudlitz, Michael Kelly.

Scripter Willy Holtzman’s warning about athletes using steroids gets down to business with the dramatizationof the true account of high-school football player Aaron Henry, who, trying to better himself for autumn scrimmage, starts shooting up. The story is simple and direct; major problem is that it’s too compact.

Henry (Ben Affleck of “School Ties” and NBC’s “Against the Grain”), almost there on the football field, wants to better himself physically.

Noting weightlifter Bryce (Bryan Genesse), he asks for help. Bryce puts Henry on the road with an anabolic steroid, synthetic derivative of testosterone. Henry’s strength increases, but his temper shortens, his self-control fails.

Eventually, after taking a swing at girlfriend Jeanie (Kamela Dawson), he begins to see the light.

The truncated storyline doesn’t give much chance for more than a digest drama. There’s no room for interactions, little space for Henry’s mom (Grace Zabriskie) or for Henry’s school buddies.

Affleck’s good, and David Burton Morris’ direction covers the territory, but “A Body to Die For” could use at least a full hour to spin its grim tale.

Otherwise, HBO’s worthy “Lifestories” series continues in its dependable way. As is customary, the subject, in this case the real Aaron Henry, comes on TV to punctuate the drama he’s already lived through. It’s a sharp way to make a statement.

Lifestories -- Families in Crisis a Body to Die for: The Aaron Henry Story

(Wed. (6), 9:30-10 p.m., HBO)

Production: Filmed in L.A. by Francine LeFrak Prods. Exec producer, Francine LeFrak; producer, Meredith Zamsky; director, David Burton Morris; writer, Willy Holtzman.

Crew: Camera, James L. Carter; editor, Earl Watson; production designer, Lester Cohen; art director, Phillip Vasels; sound, Steve Nelson; music, Jack Hues.

Cast: Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Genesse, Grace Zabriskie, Ernie Hudson, Kamela Dawson, Michael Cudlitz, Michael Kelly.

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