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.

Rating: ★★★¼☆ 

You can try getting Show’em What You’re Made Of on iTunes.


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

6 Responses

  1. Agostina says:

    I will definitely check this doc out!
    And….I just had a mental blackout! SHIRTLESS BRIAN?! FOR REAL?!
    OMG! WHAT?! @.@

  2. Rodrigo says:

    Fresh off watching this a few minutes ago, my first serious nostalgia kick was hearing We’ve Got It Going On. Highlight for me on this was NIck confronting Brian in a dickish way because Brian’s voice wasn’t the same anymore. Prior to that moment, the document was kinda harmless/watchable/eh, but Nick bitching on Brian was like a dose of adrenaline for the documentary film.

    Also, I would have liked to see them address haters… or at least, something like The Offspring attacking the fake BSB dolls at Woodstock 1999 after singing Bad Habit. Both at the time were experimenting huge increase in popularity in their respective genres, but thinking about it, I’m surprised someone from BSB didn’t sue Offspring or Dexter unless it was something pre-arranged. Who knows?

    To end the comparison of Offspring and BSB, which seems awkward, I checked out a video of a BSB concert in Argentina from some years ago and I think pop isn’t that strong of a genre among Argentineans who give their country an amazing rep for “best concert crowd in the world”, unless it’s someone like Madonna or a huge pop figure. Offspring, simply check their 2013 performances in Malvinas and you’d be amazed with the crowd. But it might be the genre.

    • amy says:

      welcome to the land of the free, the country that allows bands or singers to diss other bands and singers. xD Refer to the Toby Keith vs. Dixie Chicks feud lol

      I think BSB had their biggest crowds in Brazil and Spain, those two seem nuts. Peruvian ones were pretty crazy the first time, I think it mellowed down (like it always does here) for the second time they came.

      • Rodrigo says:

        Brazil seems to be a top country for best concert crowds. Spain, I’m not sure. England, definitely.

        Any other countries in mind? Maybe France and Germany based on a few Ramnstein concert videos, but IDK.

    • amy says:

      Also, Nick’s dick-ish confrontation because Brian was having problems with his voice is surreal. At least I don’t expect people to keep singing the way they did when they hit 20, considering people’s voices change. Yes, some people take better care of their voices than others (Celine Dion always comes to mind), but I hope artists develop music that fit their voice, and not fit their voice to what people think they should be making. One reason why I didn’t think the New Kids reunion didn’t work that well, and why Hanson keep making music. The 1997 version of Mmmbop exists, but I don’t think anyone should expect them to sound the same as when they were 13 lol. The 2007 live album they did sounds 10 times the album that Middle of Nowhere was.

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