***One of the most entertaining music biopics ever made (but also nastiest)***
RELEASED IN 2019, "The Dirt" is a biography of Mötley Crüe from their inception in the early 80s to the mid-90s. Along with GnR, the band was the cream of the crop of 80’s hair metal. They were notorious for their childish, debauched antics and the movie depicts this from the get-go with an off-putting bit o’ raunch at a party. There’s also an amusing pool sequence that gets pretty repellent with Ozzy pathetically trying to prove how “crazy” he was (I heard the curious story long ago so I was prepared for it).
If you can handle that, this is one of the best band biopics in cinema; and more so if you favor Crüe’s music. The movie has a sense of humor and includes a little parody; it’s fun, dynamic, stirring and sometimes vile, but also dramatic and even moving, especially in the last act. A plus is that most of the characters have a story arc wherein they learn from their misdeeds and mature.
The flick was based on drummer Tommy Lee’s autobiography “The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band,” as well as the biographies of other band members & Co. So, while there’s an over-the-top feel here and there, the events really happened with minor alterations for dramatic effect.
The best way to rate a biopic is to compare it to others, including fictional ones loosely based on real-life characters, like “Rock Star” (2001) and “The Rose” (1979). As decent as those two are, “The Dirt” is all-around more entertaining. It’s also superior to “Walk the Line” (2005), the slanderous “The Doors” (1991), the underrated “The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (2009), "Eddie and the Cruisers” (1983) and "The Runaways" (2010). I’d put it on par with “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980), but it’s very different because the style of music and subculture is so radically different. Content-wise, it’s closest to “Rock Star,” "The Runaways" and “The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” but funner than the brooding latter.
Douglas Booth is convincing as Nikki Sixx, the band leader/bassist/composer and so is Machine Gun Kelly as the hyperactive, but genial Tommy Lee. Iwan Rheon is also effective as the more mature and subdued guitarist Mick Mars. Daniel Webber unfortunately lacks the looks of singer Vince Neil, but is otherwise effective.
THE MOVIE RUNS 1 hour, 47 minutes and was shot in Los Angeles and New Orleans.