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Monday, January 26, 2015

20 Things I Learned Watching the Backstreet Boys' New Documentary

(left to right) Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter,
Kevin Richardson and A.J. McLean

Remember that Backstreet Boys documentary I specifically told you I was not going to watch? So, I definitely watched it, and I can't even say it was only to relive some of my favorite songs from the band (that was just a perk). I was genuinely curious to see what the band wanted to tell us this time (that they feel they didn't get across to us the last couple of times). It ended up being a pretty rough cut chronicle of the band's professional and individual journeys over the last two decades. And, OMG, the drama. You won't even believe it. Just in case, I took some notes.


  1. Kevin Richardson is still fine as hell, at 43 years old.
  2. Howie Dorough, who almost exclusively sung background from what I can recall, was the band's original lead singer. He was--and is to this day--resentful that Brian Littrell stole his thunder.
  3. Even though Brian Littrell has damaged vocal chords that have progressively gotten worse over the years, he still has the best voice out of the five members (go figure). 
  4. Nick Carter's singing voice has not gotten any better. He still sounds like a dying cat. 
  5. The guys used to hang out with their former manager, Lou Pearlman, in his house...and sometimes watched porn with him. (I don't know why, and this was never clearly explained in the film).
  6. Pearlman apparently owns (or at least used to own, before his current 25-year prison sentence for a number of major financial crimes) the original Darth Vader mask.
  7. Richardson lost his father just before the group got big. In one of many emotional moments in the film, the five go back to his hometown to show us his upbringing.
  8. Richardson was very uncomfortable with the video for the group's first U.S. hit, "Quit Playing Games With My Heart," specifically the half naked rain scene. Ironically, I remember being very comfortable with this scene. 
  9. The video for "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" is still pretty awesome. Admit it. 
  10. They're still making music, and none of it sounds particularly great. One of them has the same title as the film's subtitle.
  11. Pearlman was simultaneously grooming the band's future competitor, NSYNC, kinda sorta to replace the Backstreet Boys. A.J. McLean reveals how betrayed he felt to learn that Pearlman would go so far as to book NSYNC for any appearances or engagements the Backstreet Boys were too busy/exhausted to attend. 
  12. For their Black & Blue tour, the band was paid $100 million.
  13. McLean's constant need to be the bad boy of the group was not lost on Dorough. "A.J. thought he was rock and roll, not realizing he was part of a boy band," Dorough said. (Also: the subtle shade is EPIC).
  14. McLean credits Richardson for motivating him to get sober and go to rehab. In the film, McLean recounts how one day Richardson broke into his hotel room (where McLean, who was supposed to be in a business meeting, was sprawled out in a "haze") to exchange some choice words (including "You're dead to me").
  15. More shade from Dorough about McLean: "A.J. thinks he's a rapper." As he's saying this in the film, he's sitting in his car as McLeans rolls up in the next parking space bumping hip hop and really overcompensating (see #14).
  16. Richardson hasn't toured with the band for the last seven years. So this will be the first time he's even dealing with these dudes in a long while. 
  17. In the film's most melodramatic scene (seriously, it could have been excepted from a VH1 reality show), Carter lashes out at Littrell for not addressing his vocal issues and the fact that it is partly because of that that their current progress has been slow. At one point (after he calms down a bit) Carter tells Littrell that he used to be the Michael Jordan of this group, that there was Jordan and Pippen and he wants Littrell to get back to being Jordan. (I guess that would mean Carter considers himself Pippen? But why? See #4). Meanwhile, Dorough is looking hella confused in this scene (see #2).
  18. Also in that same scene, Littrell lashes back at Carter for having to "do his job" sometimes. Which got a literal "oooooh" from me (clearly considering this all to be a super intense reality show that I'm watching).
  19. Carter apparently grew up with "boys who are now either in prison, dead or on drugs." And he is definitely still working out some issues after his rehab stint. 
  20. Every single member of this group cries at some point in this film (except Dorough, who is probably still wondering how he can reclaim his status as the Michael Jordan of the group). They all go back to their hometowns and reunite with their music teachers, and just...start crying (seriously, is this staged?). Richardson's crying (as he mourned the loss of his father) was the only grief I understood. Carter literally says (after bawling for a good five minutes) that he doesn't even know why he's crying. Guys, I mean...?
So basically, they're doing this to promote their new album (which, again, has some really shaking vocals on it from what I heard in the film). But the band has some real personal issues among themselves that they may want to iron out before they hit the road again. I remember wondering after I finished watching the film, do these guys even like each other?  I guess they're just one big dysfunctional family. 

BACKSTREETS BOYS: SHOW 'EM WHAT YOU'RE MADE OF is in theaters and on VOD on January 30th.


Anonymous said...

I wish I had watched this...SO BADLY! LOL!!!

Wendell Ottley said...

No thanks, I'll pass like I have on their entire career. This was a fun read, though.

Anonymous said...

This was a terrible rendition of the movie and the boys... Some of the facts are also incorrect. I guess the person writing it is clearly just a blogger and not a true journalist. I mean just read No. 16: "Richardson hasn't toured with the band for the last seven years. So this will be the first time he's even dealing with these dudes in a long while." Kevin has been back with the groups for years now and has gone on tours since then.

Unknown said...

If you're going to review something, take your bias out of the equation. Also, your facts are so wrong that it hurts. Nice try. Stick to blogging.

Anonymous said...

most important info was the darth vader mask thing. thanks. cant wait to watch that film

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