Thoughts on The Dirt
The Dirt perfectly and honestly showcases both the good and the bad times of Motley Crue in glorious fashion. The music biopic, which takes the name from the book it’s based on, is co-written by the band members. It follows the Crue from the very beginning and takes the viewer through the band’s journey to fame and fortune along with everything else that came their way.
The book received praise for its honesty as heavy metal fans continue to lap up anything they can from their favorite genre. One relationship that continues to thrive, for example, is heavy metal and casino games. After all, heavy metal is referred to as the devil’s music, and Las Vegas, the Mecca of gambling, is famously known as Sin City. A number of games have been influenced by, and feature the music of, the biggest acts in the genre, such as Motorhead, with their infusion of heavy metal and punk rock, hard rock icons Guns N’ Roses, and thrash metals titans Megadeth.
It’s that passion for heavy metal that had those behind The Dirt committed to getting it right. Discussions started to take place about the biopic in 2016 when MTV Films and Paramount Pictures acquired the book’s rights. The Game author Neil Strauss co-wrote the book with the band. The project, however, was in the development phase for more than a decade, with numerous cast members and directors on board at various times, before the rights were purchased by Netflix in 2017. Filming commenced in New Orleans in February of last year.
Something old, something new
While you have likely heard the songs from the film, the details about the music will probably be new to anyone who has yet to read the book. Fans have given mixed reviews, with the negative views based on the fact that the film emphasizes the dark side of the band members’ lifestyles. Those who chose to offer praise were impressed with Netflix’s unapologetic narrative style, which showed the band’s reckless behavior with women and drugs.
The Dirt shows us the stories of the band members before they met and got together to form one of the most famous bands of the 1980s. The film starts with showing Nikki Sixx as a child, following his journey until he makes his way to the music scene in West Hollywood.
Sixx meets Tommy Lee and the two men decide to start a band. Next, they meet Mick Mars before finding their lead singer, Vince Neil, who went to school with Lee. The band achieved a following in the local scene and caught the eye of record executive Tom Zutaut, who proceeded to sign them to his label. From that point, the band’s star was truly on the rise.
The Dirt, however, mostly focuses on the men’s lives, with the story struggling to show any level of cohesion when it comes to various events in the band’s trajectory. In that sense, the film fails to connect the dots between the stages of touring, recording, and wild partying.
The film also struggles when it comes to connecting the band members’ various issues, including a drunk driving accident involving Vince Neil, which was followed by an extensive trial and a jail sentence, Mick’s health struggles, Tommy’s terrible marriage with Heather Locklear, and Nikki’s heroin addiction. Ultimately, the Jeff Tremaine-directed film plays more like a biopic for Crue fans than for anyone interested in a rock band’s rise to fame and rock ’n’ roll lifestyle.
While the film is successful in its honesty, it has only a few musical sequences compared to what we’ve come to expect from a music biopic, due to the film emphasizing the band’s personal lives as opposed to the music that was the key to their success. At the same time, however, it is one of the more entertaining music biopics of recent years, and if you’re prepared to get hooked to the band and their crazy lives, you’re in for a treat.