I just finished the Backstreet Boys documentary (Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of currently streaming on Netflix) and let me tell you, it was amazing. Much like their music it doesn’t go deep, it doesn’t make you think, it just gives you what you want. It plucks at the heart strings in a very basic, obvious way, just like all their songs. It’s simple, it’s less than 2 hours long and it’s perfect.
The first concert I ever went to was a Backstreet Boys concert. I got Millennium the day it was released – the first and last time I have ever done that. I had their posters on my walls and I remember where I was when I found out A.J. was going into rehab. My favorite scene in Magic Mike XXL involved a classic BSB jam. I may have briefly abandoned them during my pop punk phase, but I will always love them and they will always have a place in my heart (right next to ‘N Sync, I don’t play favorites). Which is why I was so happy to see this movie.
Framed against a tour you didn’t see and the recording of an album you’ll never listen to (Howie sings all the leads so you’re probably good) this documentary is an exploration into who the Backstreet Boys are and how they came to be. The boys visit their childhood homes and reminisce about the early days with some great photos and videos (very classic 90s fashion). Howie attributes their success to the end of the Gulf War (sure). They were living the dream: money, music, girls etc etc.
But,as any fan of Behind the Music will tell you, there were also dark times. After their meteoric rise to fame and commercial success BSB was betrayed by both Lou Perlman (who formed ‘N Sync and conned both bands out of loads of money) and tween girls (who moved on) alike. In the end they’d toured for nearly a decade before it all came crashing down.
Brian undergoes open heart surgery, AJ goes to rehab, Kevin quits the band…but Oh My God, they’re back again.
Is it a reunion? Is it a come back? Does it matter? It’s wonderful.
They have a new album to record and a new tour to plan. There’s more cursing than I expected, a lot of sparkly rings, some praying. A trip to London. They’re all older which makes a grueling tour rehearsal schedule and learning dance routines that much more difficult. Plus, Brian’s voice is shot. Some very real stuff goes down in a meeting in a conference room. Will the Boys be able pull this off?
I won’t ruin it for you but let’s just say this movie has an uncomplicated, ending without any nuance, just like the boybands of your childhood.
I highly recommend watching it, and then following it up with some classic BSB vids on YouTube.
Some unexpected highlights of the movie include:
– A.J.’s spectacular nail art
-Kevin dressed as Aladdin at Disney World
– A.J. complaining about his bad knees
– Brian’s Kentucky accent
– Brian doing yoga
– Howie talking about watching porn at Lou Perlman’s house
– Kevin asking for a blowjob in German
– A.J.’s childhood headshots
– Nick revealing his first kiss was with Howie’s niece
– A.J. discussing the time he drank his best friend’s vomit
– Nick talking about being fat and doing drugs (no mention of his relationship with Paris Hilton, however)