Recently Netflix released the new dramatic movie based on Mötley Crüe’s biography book, The Dirt. While it is incredibly difficult for me to find time to watch an hour long TV show, much less a movie, I was so curious to see how much of the over indulgence carried over into film.
Review forthcoming but the short answer is this movie would be a hard R if released in theaters and probably at least one group would be protesting that an R movie isn’t for children and rock n roll is the devil.
Hair metal hit at just the right time to heavily influence my young mind. MTV, magazines, cassettes, big hair, spandex, make up, and some great music. Sure some of the bands were manufactured to look pretty in music videos but other ones were very real and very talented. There was nothing more real at that time than Mötley Crüe. Even in my youth I was aware of the legal problems and the notoriety surrounding the band. Even before the bio came out shows like Behind the Music exposed some of Mötley Crüe’s craziest stories, real or not.
The Dirt movie causes me to believe that every bit of the stories are true. All of it. The drugs, the women, the fights, the parts where every one is lucky to still be alive. I believe all of it. Some of you might ask, “how can you be so sure?” Easy. Because there is no part of this movie that makes the band look good.
Winners, conquerors, and stars control the narrative. The oft said, ‘history is written by the winners’. This is why in school we’re all taught that the heroes of the country were all good upstanding men and when older some of us are inspired to dig a little deeper and discover the skeletons. Not in the closet, out there all along for any of us to see, if only we looked in the right place.
With that in mind, all four members of the band are horrible people. Drug addicts, enablers, selfish, abusive, manipulative, excessive. All of them. For those of you who aren’t aware of the Mötley Crüe legacy: Mick Mars had a bone disease that he mostly self medicates and uses to keep an emotional distance from all around him. Tommy Lee hits one wife, cheats on another, destroys everything around him – and all of this is without the movie once mentioning Pamela Anderson or that relationship. Vince Neil was also excessive, horrible to women, lost a child (not his fault just throwing it in here), and if he did not have money should still be in jail for vehicular manslaughter. Nikki Sixx puts his own mother in jail, dies twice in one day, and is so self destructive it extends beyond him to affect anyone near by. In a world with no shortage of dead celebrities it is a miracle all four members are still alive.
The movie does skip over a lot. Pamela Anderson, when Tommy Lee had a nu metal band, how long Vince Neil was actually out of the band, the entire self titled album. Even the death of glam metal and the rise of grunge is never mentioned on camera, but heavily implied by the giant Pearl Jam poster.
.What it does leave in though is rough, but exciting. The drugs, the women, the lack of respect for anything, the tragedies. Through it all the message of the movie is an oddly uplifting story of creating a family. A brotherhood. Vince is the body, Nikki the brain, Mick the wisdom, and Tommy the heart. It’s almost a bond for lack of options. We’re stuck together because no one else is going to put up with us. Most of us have been there at some point. Few of us built a career and life around it.
If you’re easily offended, don’t watch. But if a movie that celebrates excess, glorifies it even, then gives an equal amount of time to the fall sounds like a good way to kill an hour and a half, The Dirt is for you.