LET’S ENJOY THIS FOR WHAT IT IS – A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Well, what were you expecting from a low budget Netflix production about one of the most decadent bands in the history of rock & roll, from the director that brought you the “Jackass” franchise, and co-produced by the boys from Mötley Crüe themselves?
That’s the question I have for all of these folks out here writing reviews for major media publications, taking potshots at this film as if it was expected to be the next Bohemian Rhapsody, which is not without flaws itself despite its many awards.
Jeff Tremaine’s latest work made its Netflix debut on March 22, and opinion on this film is all over the board.
Based on the 2001 collaborative autobiography of Mötley Crüe by Neil Strauss, who along with the band chronicled the band’s origins, rise to stardom, achievements, and tragedies, this film offers what could best be described as a condensed version of the book. The film is slightly under 2 hours. There are so many legendary tales of the band that just couldn’t fit. It would take a miniseries. There are no surprises here. It’s a bit of a “paint by numbers” film, as so many biopic films are. All of your favorite iconic stories are in this film. So are some of the scary and sad ones. It relives front man Vince Neil’s drunk driving accident which killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley, and seriously injured 2 others, as well as touches on the loss of his young daughter from cancer. It details Nikki Sixx’s childhood trauma, and later his terrible struggle with heroin; Mick Mars and his struggles with debilitating chronic back illness, and follows Tommy Lee’s unlikely path from a kid with a fairly stable home life growing up, to one of the hardest partying rock stars of our time. And of course you get to see Ozzy Osbourne snort a line of ants on that fateful day when Nikki Sixx ran out of cocaine!
The characters were fairly well represented, although Vince Neil (played by Daniel Webber) reminded me of Garth from Wayne’s World. Trust me, that comparison was uncomfortable during the sex scenes, of which there are plenty! As a Game of Thrones fan, I was pretty excited to see ole’ Ramsay Bolton himself Iwan Rheon starring as Mick Mars. Douglas Booth played the role of Nikki Sixx, and was very respectable. At times, the film is narrated by each character, and it is Nikki Sixx doing most of the talking. Most impressive out of each of the characters though was Tommy Lee, played by Colson Baker (aka: Machine Gun Kelly). While picking a fight with Eminem wasn’t the brightest thing he’s ever done, taking up acting has proven a great move for him! I thought he captured both the lighthearted and short-tempered sides of Tommy Lee brilliantly, and didn’t embarrass himself holding the drumsticks either. Pete Davidson plays Tom Zutaut, an awkward and unsure Elektra Records executive who is new to the business, but manages to signs the band. Rounding out the starring roles is David Costabile, as the band’s manager Doc McGhee.
So here’s what it comes down to. What are you watching this movie for? If you want great cinematography, big fancy sets, and high-budget production quality, this is not the movie for you.
If you are a die-hard Mötley Crüe fan ready to pounce on the slightest inaccuracy, such as Vince Neil’s specific make and model of the vehicle he was in during his infamous wreck, and can’t just enjoy a film about an iconic band in American rock history, this is not the movie for you.
If you are looking for some sort of a deeper meaning to the sex, drugs, & rock & roll, hard partying, hotel trashing, hair and makeup world of complete 1980’s excess and debauchery that these guys not only ran in, but helped pioneer, you won’t find it here.
But if you know what it is to be part of a band or even to be a passionate fan of rock music, a fan of movies in general who watches for the pure enjoyment you get from it, or you just love this band and can’t get enough of “The Crue”, it would be very hard for you to be disappointed in this film. I myself wanted to go find a stage and rock out again upon watching this!
“The Dirt” takes us back to a time when rock & roll was king, and it was Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, and Tommy Lee upon the throne.
There is no need to try to make it anything more than that. That’s not why this film was made.