There has been an influx of movies about legendary singers and bands in recent times. From the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody to the soon-to-be-released Elton John biopic, Rocketman, audiences have been screaming out for their eyes and ears to be satisfied at the same time. It seems only fitting, then, for one of the biggest rock bands of the 80s to also get their own flick.
The Dirt follows the legendary group Motley Crue, as we chart their rise from messing about in their apartment to playing to thousands of people all over the world. It’s a tale of debauchery, hedonism, and downright dirtiness – but at least it lives up to its name.
Motley Crue are famous for their backstage antics and their prolific drug taking. All of them eventually ended up in rehab, but some had demons that couldn’t be taken away. It’s an interesting insight into the minds of some of the greatest musicians of all time, and it’s definitely a rollercoaster.
The quartet of Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil are brought to life in a cloud of cigarette smoke and proceed to wreak havoc across the television screen. As far as these real-life rebels go, their mischief is translated onto screen pretty well. From running through hotel halls naked, to launching a TV out of a window onto the car of an innocent bystander, it’s safe to say that these boys were far from boring.
It’s definitely something the movie capitalises on. There isn’t a single shot for the first hour or so that doesn’t have someone smoking, drinking, or doing drugs. With the persistent reminder that these lads are always doing something they shouldn’t be, it actually distracts you from the fact that, for most of the movie, there isn’t much of a plot. For the last 50 minutes or so, the writing picks up, and the montages become few and far between. Before that, however, it seems as though there is another pointless party montage every 10 minutes.
As repetitive as it may be, the one thing (or four things) that stop the movie from becoming too monotonous are the band themselves. The actors manage to get the personalities of the four rockstars down to a T. Iwan Rheon’s portrayal of Mick Mars is sullen, blunt, and absolutely hilarious. Vince Neil is obnoxious, but actor Daniel Webber injects just the right amount of vulnerability into his character to stop him from too unlikeable.
Essentially this movie is a handbook for how to become the stereotypical rockstar. You drink a lot, you see a lot of naked ladies, and you make a lot of bad decisions. It’s a cringe-worthy, over the top, and cheesy beyond belief. But, isn’t most 80s rock? It’s a perfect example of what that heyday exists as in people’s dreams and memories.
However, nostalgia won’t save this movie. As fun as it may be, not much happens. It’s a lot of fluff for a fairly simple story, which could have been done a lot better. The book itself is a marathon, and it seems as though they selected only the best 10 pages from it and based the movie on that. It’s a shame that one of the most legendary bands of the 20th century didn’t quite get the film their legacy deserved.
As far as musical biopics go, this isn’t the worst one. However, it is definitely not the best either. The acting itself is brilliant, but where the movie falls short is in the writing. It’s a bit of a lacklustre film, and it leaves you feeling like you want more. Nothing specific, though: just more in general. The Dirt was a really good attempt at a story that could have been genuinely interesting. What it turned into instead was one long montage of debauchery with the odd good song thrown in.
If you’re on Netflix this weekend and you fancy something fun, but definitely not family friendly, then stick this on. You’ll definitely have fun, and even though some of their antics might make you feel a little bit ill, there’s a possibility that you’ll laugh, cry and smile. The Dirt is like your favourite childhood rollercoaster: nostalgic and fun, but not quite as good as you remembered.
⭐ ⭐ 1/2