New biopic spills 'The Dirt' on Motley Crue
Source: Hollywood Reporter
No band has ever quite embodied the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” mindset quite like Motley Crue. This attitude made their lives the perfect subjects for “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band,” the 2001 tell-all novel penned by the four band members and others close with the band.
“The Dirt,” Netflix’s biopic adaptation of the novel, was released on Friday, March 22. The film gives an inside look into the wild lives of Motley Crue – the “Girls, Girls, Girls” and the excess partying. Though their “Wild Side” is perhaps what they’re best known for, sometimes it feels as if this movie focuses more on the sex and drugs than the band itself.
There are moments that show the camaraderie of the four members; however, they remain overshadowed by what often comes across as forced attempts to prove that Motley Crue was one of the most rock ‘n’ roll bands of the 20th century.
Some of these forced attempts come in the form of characters breaking the fourth wall. When the band’s manager Doc McGhee is introduced, Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon) looks to the camera to inform audiences that they did not meet McGhee at a wild party with David Lee Roth of Van Halen, as the movie depicts, and that this scene was completely fictionalized. Not only that, but McGhee’s partner, Doug Thaler, makes a quick appearance in the film and then fades out of the movie as Mars says, “Doug’s a good guy, and it’s kinda shitty he got cut from this movie.”
Another moment in which the fourth wall is broken in an almost cringe-worthy way is when Pete Davidson, playing Tom Zutaut, the band’s A&R representative, looks to the camera to inform audiences that the “bottom line is don’t ever leave your girlfriend alone with Motley Crue, ever.” It may have been a badass statement to have made about a band in the ‘80s, but it doesn’t quite cut it when made as an aside to a 2019 audience.
The narration skips from band member to band member, and it’s not always clear who is talking. This can become confusing at times, particularly when Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth) is talking about being the cause of his mother going to jail one minute and the next Tommy Lee (Machine Gun Kelly) is talking about being a hopeless romantic.
“The Dirt” doesn’t only focus solely on Motley Crue’s partying – it does address some of the more serious moments in the band’s career. It portrays the drunk driving accident that killed a friend of the band, injured two others and landed Vince Neil (Daniel Webber) in a rehab facility, Sixx’ heroin addiction and subsequent overdose and the death of Neil’s daughter from cancer. It’s during these moments that character development truly shines and the band’s bond as a whole is portrayed. These heartfelt moments are one of the redeeming qualities of the movie.
Motley Crue can best be described by an excerpt from their own lyrics: “When we started this band / All we needed ... was a laugh / Years gone by, I’d say we’ve kicked some ass.”
Kick some ass is exactly what Motley Crue did with their career, and though “The Dirt” tries its best to show the story of Motley Crue from the good to the bad – mainly the good – something falls short.
Nevertheless, it does highlight the main aspects of the band’s career and, despite the fact that critics have given the film low ratings, music enthusiasts and fans of the band alike should enjoy “The Dirt.”