Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of 

The extremes of fame and fortune, betrayal and renewal, are revealed in this candid documentary exploring the journey from boyhood to manhood by the biggest selling boy band of all time.

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...an absorbing journey from the dizzy heights of boyband uber-success, to the lows of lawsuits, rehab, reality TV and therapy 

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Synopsis

Filmed over two years, this extraordinarily revealing documentary delves into the extremes of fame and fortune, betrayal and renewal, exploring the journey from boyhood to manhood by the world's biggest selling boy band, The Backstreet Boys, as they plan their 20th anniversary re-launch.

“What do you do when you’re a full grown man in a boy band?” This film is about a band, of course, but it’s more universal a story than that - it is about five friends, sacrifice and redemption, a reckoning with the past, and a path forward into a new kind of freedom. Having lived exceptional lives in a glaring spotlight, having lost their youth to the demands of fame, the boys still struggle to become men, forging their paths both in private, in the public eye, and together through their music.

In an attempt to find some form of closure on their biggest unanswered question, the band talk properly for the first time in such depth about the man who made it all happen 20 years ago: Lou Pearlman, currently an inmate at a state penitentiary. Former mastermind behind the biggest boy band of all time, Lou is behind bars for running a massive Ponzi scheme and a catalogue of bad business. Having cheated the Boys and many others out of millions, they attempt to process the biggest and toughest question: why?

Plot Summary

Spoilers!

The film opens with scenes of the group living together in a house in London, just the five of them without families, wives, or kids, as they work on their 20th anniversary album, In a World Like This. Shots of them working together, hanging out together, playing soccer, going shopping, hiking a mountain, were interwoven together with clips of individual members talking about their history. The film then shows Brian Littrell going to therapy for his ailment, where he reveals that he was diagnosed with vocal cord dysphonia and a neurological problem called dystonia.

Throughout the film, the entire group goes to each member's hometown, visiting their old church, school, teachers. Kevin Richardson recounts the time leading up to his father's death and shows his bandmates the church where he used to spend most of his time growing up. Howie Dorough brings his bandmates to his old house and tells them about the time their backyard was overrun with rabbits and he was ordered by his father to kill them, which he failed to do.

The group also visits Nick Carter's old elementary school and dance school, where he breaks down and cries remembering how performing was a way for him to escape the negativity in his home, where his parents used to fight all the time. A.J. McLean also visits his old school and meets with his teachers, and proceeds to recite the monologue he used to perform as a child. Littrell also visits his old school and meets with his singing teacher, who was the first person to discover his talent. He also brings his bandmates to visit his church, where he proceeds to sit down at the altar and starts to sing, and admits that his voice problem is an ongoing struggle for him.

The group members also express their disappointment in Lou Pearlman, the man who put them together and subsequently created their rival NSYNC. They also talk about how he has robbed them of their money and how badly he treated them in the later years. They visit his mansion, now stripped bare by the IRS as he's in jail and had to pay back all the people he had scammed.

The film also features many old clips of the group rehearsing and performing in the early days, before they had gotten their recording contract in 1994. They had been touring schools across the US, and then found success in Europe and sold 14 million copies of their debut album, which was never released in the US.