By: Jesse Striewski
After years of false starts in development, the long-awaited film adaptation of Motley Crue’s 2001 book The Dirt finally saw the light of day on Netflix this past Friday, March 22…and what a ride it was!
I’ve made no secrets about being a die hard Crue head ever since the day my brother-in-law gave me his old copy of Shout at the Devil (on cassette!) when I was 13 or 14. While the cover confused me at first (I honestly couldn’t tell if they were guys or girls!), the music instantly blew me away, and Nikki Sixx quickly became one of my bass heroes (I had just gotten my first bass guitar, and the intro to the title track was one of the very first riffs I ever learned to play). During their run, I was even lucky enough to catch the band live a couple of times, and their music continued to stay with me, even when it wasn’t considered “cool” to like anything from their era.
Having already read the book, I had a pretty good idea what to expect from the film version of The Dirt. While some critics are giving the film a bad rap for not really adding anything new (how can you really?), I found it completely mesmerizing reliving the band’s saga via this format. Sure, there are a few moments that were indeed over the top, but that was Motley! And hearing early tracks like “On with the Show,” “Take Me to the Top,” and Merry Go Round” was a welcomed trip down memory lane (and it’s good to see these songs are actually being introduced to a new generation).
Granted there are some noticeable inconsistencies here; for example, Vince Neil’s daughter Skylar -who unfortunately passed away at just 4 years old – is shown more than once in scenes that take place during the ’80s, when she in fact wasn’t even born until 1991. But everything from Sixx’s 1987 overdose, to Neil’s 1984 DUI/vehicular manslaughter charge that included the death of Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingely, are all covered with total effectiveness (I was even glad to see that brief/underrated singer John Corabi was given some screen time and not just skipped over). The actors portraying the band all pull off admirable jobs as well – especially Douglas Booth and Colson Baker, who seem as though they were born to play Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, respectively.
In a time full of uber-PC thought police (supposedly fighting “against” fascism, yet ultimately creating more of it themselves without even realizing it) where we’re constantly being updated on what is and isn’t considered “accepted” these days, it’s refreshing to see something that doesn’t hold back just to please everyone. And it definitely is not for everyone, but it does capture a moment in rock n’ roll history that was unlike any other, and likely never will be again.
Rating: 4/5 Stars