THE DIRT (MOVIE)
Released on March 22, 2019 (Netflix)
Whether you want to admit or not, Mötley Crüe have been trendsetters in the hard rock / heavy metal world. They were really as far as I can recall the first sleaze rock band to really breakthrough and come out of the Sunset Strip with their self-released album Too Fast For Love back in November 1981. Mötley Crüe were the first sleaze / heavy metal rockers to adopt a very glam look during their Theatre of Pain era in 1985, which seemed to influence just about every major heavy metal band to do the same thing from Ozzy Osbourne to KISS to Iron Maiden to Judas Priest. While all these bands were transitioning into a softer sound and glam look, Mötley Crüe were already transitioning back to a harder look and sound with their Girls, Girls, Girls album.
With the release of the movie The Dirt, the Mötley Crüe band members are once again leading the pack by having actors portraying themselves in a movie. The Dirt movie may well start a flood of movies of the same kind and we will have Mötley Crüe to thank in that regard, and I am looking forward to it! I readily admit that I was skeptical about The Dirt movie but I have got to say, it is a brilliant film that had my attention from start to finish. I was a little sad to see that the movie ended just as singer Vince Neil returned to the band after John Corabi‘s stint since I wanted the movie to continue but at the same time, that was a logical place to end it. If anything, The Dirt movie made me remember how much I liked Mötley Crüe during their Shout At The Devil era, how much I love (and still love) the music from their first two studio albums, and it changed my current mental picture of the band members back to the time of their heyday.
All of a sudden, Vince Neil was the blonde chick magnet with a very distinctive high pitched voice just like back in the day rather than the bigger goateed singer that can’t really sing anymore and has the audience members singing a large portion of his lyrics. Nikki Sixx was now the architect of one of the greatest bands in the world and some absolutely killer albums rather than the guy bringing us four subpar new Mötley songs (more on that in my upcoming review of The Dirt Soundtrack). Mick Mars was now the guitar riff master with the distinctive sound and an “equal contributing member” rather than the reclusive frail man (the latter of course due to his ankylosing spondylitis condition, which can be described as “a chronic, inflammatory form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine and pelvis”). Tommy Lee was now the fun loving, energy filled, crazy drummer that I loved rather than the rap loving individual doing jail time for beating his wife.
I don’t want to say too much about the storylines in The Dirt movie because I truly hope that everyone will take the time to see it. I will say that I really liked how the film gave me a much different impression of Mick Mars than I had had throughout the years. The Dirt movie shows Mars as someone who was instrumental in some key decisions for the group early on and that’s simply not how I have pictured his legacy over the years. I did read the band’s best selling autobiography The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band but that was over 15 years ago now so unlike other Crüe fans, I don’t remember a lot of details of that book. The movie’s portrayal of Ozzy Osbourne is absolutely hilarious and really illustrates how the Prince of Darkness was even crazier than all of the Mötley Crüe band members put together. There is one section in the movie where Tommy Lee takes you through a typical night for him on tour and you wonder just how these guys (including Nikki Sixx who went to a very dark place with his heroine use and abuse) ever survived all that abuse on their bodies.
Overall, I give two big thumbs up to The Dirt movie. The film puts the glory days of ’80s heavy metal back in the spotlight and that is a wonderful thing in my eyes. It was a special crazy time that will likely never be duplicated and it was fun to take a trip once again on the ‘wild side’ via Mötley Crüe.
Douglas Booth as Nikki Sixx
Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars
Colson Baker as Tommy Lee
Daniel Webber as Vince Neil
Peter Davidson as Tom Zutaut (Elektra Records executive)
David Costabile as Doc McGhee (band’s long-time manager)
Leven Rambin as Sharise Neil (Vince Neil‘s now ex-wife)
Kathryn Morris as Deana Richards (Nikki Sixx‘s mother)
Rebekah Graf as Heather Locklear (Tommy Lee‘s now ex-wife)
Max Milner as Razzle (Hanoi Rocks drummer)
Tony Cavalero as Ozzy Osbourne
Joe Chrest as David Lee (Tommy Lee‘s father)
Elena Evangelo as Voula Lee (Tommy Lee‘s mother)
Michael Hodson as Randy Ferrana (Nikki Sixx‘s half-brother)
Directed by Jeff Tremaine
Written by Rich Wilkes and Amanda Adelson
Based on the book by Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil and Neil Strauss
Produced by Julie Yorn, Erik Olsen and Allen Kovre
Executive producers: Rick Yorn, Chris Nilsson, Steve Kline, Ben Ormano and Michelle Manning
Director of photography: Toby Oliver
Production designer: Melanie Prizes-Jones
Edited by Melissa Kent
Costume designer: Christine Wroa
Casting by Barbara Fiorentino
Score by Paul Haslinger
Music supervisors: Joe Rudge and Chris Swanson
Co-producers: Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, March 2019
Trailer for Mötley Crüe‘s The Dirt movie:
Their music made them famous. Their lives made them infamous. Watch #TheDirt on #Netflix March 22, 2019. Based on Mötley Crüe’s 2001 best-selling autobiography, The Dirt is an unflinching and uncensored story about sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, fame, and the high price of excess.