Better Drugs and Bigger Parties: The Dirt (2019, directed by Jeff Tremaine)

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.


Music Video of the Day: Miracle by Matisyahu (2010, dir. Mazik)

Happy Hanukkah!

“There are so many Christmas songs out there. I wanted to give the Jewish kids something to be proud of. We’ve got Adam Sandler’s song, which is hilarious, but I wanted to try to get across some of the depth and spirituality inherent in the holiday in a fun, celebratory song. My boy Kojak was in town so at the last minute we went into the studio in the spirit of miracles and underdogs and this is what we came up with. Happy Hannukah!” — Matisyahu

It also happens to be one of the craziest holiday music videos I’ve come across–Hanukkah or otherwise. Sure, there is that ridiculous Hall & Oates one and the one done by The Ramones, but this one has a Jew getting knocked over by a guy wearing a Santa hat who then wakes up in a bed with a Roman being fed grapes by a lady standing next to said bed. That’s pretty weird, and only the beginning of it.

I know there is sort of a controversy surrounding Matisyahu. It isn’t even listed under a “controversy” section on Wikipedia. He shaved his beard, dyed his hair, got divorced, and moved on from being so religious. That appears to be all there is to it. I just want people to enjoy this fun music video for the holidays.

There are at least two cast members worth mentioning.

Antiochus is played by Tony Cavalero who has gone on to be in quite a few things including Becoming Santa (2015), which Lisa reviewed last year.

Oh, and the lady standing next to the bed is none other than Jacqui Holland of late night cable fame in an early role. Yes, I know she has done other things, but that’s where I know her from and I’ve reviewed all but one of them on the site. I love spotting her in earlier roles. It’s like spotting Marilyn Monroe in movies before she became famous. I didn’t even recognize her till I saw her name in the credits.


Cleaning Out the DVR: Becoming Santa (dir by Christie Will)

Happy holidays!  Well, the year is almost over and soon, it will be time to look back upon all of the films that Lifetime aired over 2015 and announce my picks for the best.  However, before I do that, I need to take a look at the many Lifetime holiday movies that I currently have recorded on the DVR.  (I also need to clear up some space for 2016 because, seriously, that DVR fills up quickly!)

That’s right, it is the season for Lifetime Christmas movies!  And I’m not complaining.  (Or, at the very least, I’m not complaining too much.)  Myself, I love Lifetime movies because of the melodrama, the outrageous plot twists, the out-of-control teenagers, and the psycho boyfriends.  Lifetime Christmas movies tend to be a bit more life-affirming than your typical Lifetime film.  After spending 11 months watching films like Stolen From The Suburbs, Cleveland Abduction, The Bride He Bought Online, and A Deadly Adoption, it takes a bit of adjustment to then watch something like Becoming Santa.  It’s not that Becoming Santa doesn’t have its own merits.  It’s just that it’s so dramatically different from what we usually expect to see on Lifetime.


Becoming Santa was the first movie that I rewatched in my attempt to clean out the DVR for the holidays.  It originally aired on Lifetime on December 12th.

Conner (Jesse Hutch) works for a toy company and is frustrated by the fact that he can’t get children to put down their phones long enough to get excited over a toy horse that he wants to mass produce.  However, despite his work frustrations, Conner is still happy because he’s in love with Holly Claus (Laura Bell Bundy).  In fact, he’s decided that the Christmas holiday would be the perfect time to ask Holly to marry him.  But first, he wants to get the blessing of Holly’s father.

That might be difficult, Holly explains, because her parents live up north.  Way up north.

However, Conner will not be dissuaded.  And, before you can say Meet The Parents and Little Fockers, Conner is heading up north to meet Holly’s parents.  Of course, on the way up north, Conner is conveniently passed out while Holly takes him through the secret portal that leads to the North Pole…

That’s right!  Holly Claus is the daughter of Santa Claus (Michael Gross) and Mrs. Santa (Meredith Baxter).  It takes Conner a while to realize this, though the fact that his future father-in-law has a big white beard and employs an elf named Mario (Gabe Khouth) should have been a big clue.  However, once Conner does figure it out, he’s okay with it.

But will he be okay with the fact that, if he marries Holly, he’ll be expected to take over the role of Santa Claus?  And, for that matter, how can klutzy Conner hope to compete with Holly’s ex-boyfriend, Jack Frost (Tony Cavalero)?  After all, Jack and Holly have so much in common…

As far as Lifetime holiday movies are concerned, I thought Becoming Santa was actually really cute.  The entire cast had a really sweet chemistry, Gabe Khouth brought an unexpected edge to the character of Mario the Elf, and Tony Cavalero was a lot of fun as Jack Frost.  Yes, I did have a hard time believing that Conner would miss so many obvious clues as to who Holly’s parents truly were but then again, it’s a Christmas movie on Lifetime.  It’s probably not too much to ask us to suspend our disbelief just a little bit!

Becoming Santa was a sweet movie.  It’s scheduled to be rebroadcast on Lifetime on Christmas Day.