boy band /ˈbɔɪ ˌbænd/
noun
  1. a pop group composed of attractive young men, whose music and image are designed to appeal primarily to a young teenage audience.
fan·girl /ˈfanɡərl/
noun
verb
  1. (of a female fan) behave in an obsessive or overexcited way.
Fandom in general is a huge part of my life.  From my love of Star Trek to my devotion to films and even to my adoration of music, I identify with fandoms of all kinds world wide. One fandom that I never could wrap my head around though, even though I had many of my own, was that of the Boyband fandom.  For some reason it always struck me as a silly thing, to be obsessed with a group of performing boys who, in many cases, were manufactured by some record company. I was always quick to dismiss these fans as being caught up in a silly fad but now, well, I realize just how wrong I was.

When today’s film was presented to me, I knew it was one that I had to check out.  Here, for the first time, was an exploration into this phenomenon that is likely responsible the term fangirl itself. Seeing that one of my favorite bands, The Beatles, could be considered the first Boy-band, I knew that I needed to learn more.  I have to say, there was a lot to unpack from this fascinating look into the world of Boyband fans and their obsessions with these performers.

The Story

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Image courtesy of TriCoast Entertainment

As I indicated above, I Used To Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story is a documentary about the fandom of Boybands and the extremes these fans will go to for their favorite obsessions.

Following four unique women from vastly different cultures, this films is an exploration of their fandoms and that of the bands themselves. Exploring bands from the earliest of Boybands, The Beatles, to more recent entries like One Direction, this documentary interviews four key fans from different generations in an attempt to explain, or at least shed some light on, the extreme fandom of Boybands.

The Breakdown

BBFG Key Stills - Susan - 094_SusanHippie
Image courtesy of TriCoast Entertainment

I Used To Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story is a fascinating documentary that not only explores the extreme fandom that surrounds Boybands but also attaches a unique human element to these fans giving them names and stories.

Unlike most documentaries, the filmmakers allow the four women involved to lead the narrative explaining how deep their fandom goes while also exploring how these bands affected each of their personal lives.  The fascinating aspect of this film is that it discusses the fandoms with women of several generations and of vastly different cultures.  With each of these fans from different ages and background, we get a very clear view of how this level of fandom affected them from childhood into maturity and how it influenced their very lives.

Taking archival footage, personal videos and even diving into the very collections of these fans, this film goes into some fairly personal history that really manages to flesh out the fandom at unexpected levels. Interestingly, you soon find a kinship in each of the women who are followed even if you don’t share in their love of their chosen band.

The Bottom Line

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Image courtesy of TriCoast Entertainment

This film is a tremendously enjoyable documentary that really celebrates individual fandoms and gives each fan-girl a chance to educate the world about why they have such a deep love for their respective band.  If you watch this film, you are sure to leave with a greater appreciation of not only the bands, but the fans themselves.  Sure, from the outside, it may seem silly and extreme but, let’s be honest, what fandom doesn’t seem that way to outsiders?  I mean, we trekkies can be pretty frightening at times.

Director Jessica Leski does a tremendous job allowing the women interviewed to celebrate the fandom of their respective bands without any preconceived notions or pressure.  She manages to capture the shear joy and excitement each of these ladies exude as she follows them through their triumphs and hardships as fangirls.  There is certainly no purer exploration of fandom than this, a film without judgement, only celebration. I can only wish that more documentaries about fandoms could be this non-exploitative and free of judgement.

If you like music, if you enjoy documentaries, or if you just want a genuine glimpse into the world of boyband fans, then this is for you.  I have to say, this is Highly recommended.

TriCoast Entertainment will release the film onto digital platforms (Amazon, iTunes, DirecTV, AT&T, FlixFing, InDemand, Vudu, FANDANGO, Sling/Dish) on Sept. 17th.

Thank you for reading,

Late To The Game 9/2/2019

If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.

For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

BBFG Key Stills -Elif 1D red carpet Layers - Rebecca Clarke
Image courtesy of TriCoast Entertainment

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