If you want to experience the sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifestyle, you could start a band, play some clubs, get signed to a record deal, go on tour, and eventually burn yourself out. Of course, if that’s too much trouble or if you’re already older than 30, I guess you can just watch The Dirt on Netflix.
The Dirt is the latest band biopic. This time the band is Mötley Crüe and the film has all the usual VH1 Behind the Music style anecdotes. Watch Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth) nearly die of a heroin overdose! Ponder how Tommy Lee (Chase “Machine Gun” Kelly) could have been stupid enough to cheat on Heather Locklear (Rebekah Graf)! Listen as Mick Mars (Iwan Rhoen) refuses to tell how old he is! Gasp as Vince Neil (Daniel Webber, giving the movie’s best performance) deals with tragedy after tragedy! When you’re not watching Tommy Lee go down on a groupie or Nikki learning how to shoot dope, you can watch as Ozzy Osbourne (Tony Cavalero) snorts a line of ants and slurps up his own urine. The movie is based on Mötley Crüe’s autobiography and the actors playing the members of the band take turns breaking the fourth wall and telling their story. Nikki Sixx says, “We were a gang of fucking idiots!” and the movie seems to agree. Nikki has always had a reputation for being the smartest member of Mötley Crüe. Of course, when your main competition is Tommy Lee, that’s not too high of a bar to clear.
Especially when compared to other band biopics like Straight Outta Compton and Bohemian Rhapsody, The Dirt is shallow and overly episodic. Nikki says that Mötley Crüe’s main concern was finding “better drugs and bigger parties,” and The Dirt is the same way. It never digs too deep into the band’s music or the reasons why, for a period of time in the 80s, they were so popular. The story is told by the members of the band so it often switches between being honest about the band’s history and making excuses for some of the members’s worst behavior, like when Tommy punches his first fiancee. Fans of Mötley Crüe might enjoy seeing all of the stories about the band brought to life. Meanwhile, those who didn’t care about Mötley Crüe before watching The Dirt will probably care even less after spending nearly two hours watching them act like self-destructive fools. One thing that the movie gets undeniably correct: After all these years, Dr. Feelgood still rocks.