Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of
Alternate Title: Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of
Release date: January 30, 2015
Director: Stephen Kijak
Screenplay by: –
Cast: Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean, Kevin Richardson
First 2015 film review of the year goes to my old fandom with the BackStreet Boys releasing a documentary by Stephen Kijak, chronicling the guys’ road in preparation of the 20th anniversary show after eldest member Kevin’s return to the group after his departure in 2006, A.J’s and Nick’s problems with drugs, Brian’s vocal issues and Howie’s problem with his prominence in the group, while exploring their roots, the early days with now-convicted music entrepreneur Lou Pearlman, their rise and fall of teenage stardom to become the biggest selling boy band — in the strictest sense of the word – in the world.
Show’em What You’re Made Of begins with the guys on a casual trek in the forest, for which they are ill-equipped for, if I may add. Even if you’re not aware of it~ Newsflash: we’re all old. Bad boy A.J. has bad knees now, he lags behind the rest. Time to dust off your nostalgic rose-colored glasses, and be transported back in time. As a fan, it’s all familiar territory, no? We’d heard many of the stories before, the Orlando beginnings, the Pearlman and Johnny Wright involvement, working with pop-crack music wiz Max Martin and Denniz Pop (to whom they dedicated Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely [MV])… which led to the Europe break and the US struggle.
There are some honest moments in the documentary, especially when Kevin goes back to the place he called home and recounts his father’s struggle with cancer, how he wouldn’t have wanted his son putting his life on hold for him. He’s the oldest member and a couple of things he says throughout turn out to be the most interesting observations — eg. his complicated feelings of gratefulness and disappointment with Pearlman who cheated him of money but also gave him the chance to quit his two jobs to pursue his dream — but they never really pan out.
There’s some nice tidbits — who knew A.J. did ballet!? — where the guys goof around, some heated expletive small argument that’s never explored, like many of the issues they bring. All in all, it IS an approved documentary produced by the BackStreet Boys themselves, so it never gets ugly even though life is messy. It’s a look into them without ever going too deep. Besides exploring Nick’s and A.J’s drug problems, which are just passing mentions in this narrative, I think we would’ve liked seeing more of Howie speaking about how his diminished participation in the group made him feel during some of the biggest moments of the group, or how Brian dealt with his heart disease while doing heavy-promotions or how he worked on his vocal problem. How about input from Joseph Kahn (who directed so many videos for them, including Everybody [MV]) or Max Martin, who shaped their sound and continues to work with them.
One thing is certain, though, they’ll get you to sing to your old favorite tunes~
Also, I can’t believe I missed shirtless Brian on the Show’em What You’re Made Of clip.
You can try getting Show’em What You’re Made Of on iTunes.