The Dirt - 2019
Director(s): Jeff Tremaine
Writer(s): Amanda Adelson and Rich Wilkes (screenplay) / Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx and Neil Strauss (book)
Cinematography by: Toby Oliver
Editor(s): Melissa Kent
Cast: Machine Gun Kelly, Daniel Webber, Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon, Pete Davidson, David Costabile, Tony Cavalero, Rebekah Graf and Kamryn Ragsdale
I found last year's Bohemian Rhapsody entertaining, despite all of its flaws and controversies. And I fully understood why someone would want to tackle Queen's story since it encompasses race, sexuality, musical impact and one of the most legendary frontman in rock and roll history. But now Rocketman and The Dirt it seems like every single band will get a movie as if we are dusting off all the VH1 Behind the Music tapes that have been sitting in a shelf somewhere in the MTV headquarters. Netflix told me to watch it, and I lived to regret it. Let's talk about it.
The story follows the formation, destruction, and rebirth? Of Mötley Crüe. The screenplay is based on the book the band members penned, and they were heavily involved in the making of the film (credited producers), so while the source if first-hand accounts of the events, it is heavily skewed towards "aren't we cool and badass" tone, even when depicting the bad moments of the band. The screenplay does not know what it wants to do with the tone of the film, as it first starts with the use of voiceover, painfully recorded in a cool guy voice worthy of an SNL sketch, and then transitions to breaking the fourth wall with a character talking directly to the camera. At times it feels like a parody of musical biopics and a soon as you embrace the tone it then it takes an abrupt shift and tries to pretend to be a dramatic depiction of rough moments in their lives (heroin, child's death, and parental abuse). I know it was not the intent, but it came across as if the film is making fun of the band, and I found myself laughing at them - not with them.
Quick note: I did not know people found umlaut to be amazing. Learn something new each day.
I do not help the film to have Jeff Tremaine (Jackass and Bad Grampa) as the director. His style provides a flat, boring, and frankly dull visual sequences that do not embody the craziness and boldness this big hair band exudes live in concert and their music videos. Tremaine's sense of humor is also a detriment to the story, since it feels like a Jackass rip-off, with the band members acting as if hidden cameras are capturing all their wild and crazy behavior. The acting is beyond bad with the line delivery being a mixture of forced coolness and moodiness that would not pass as an acceptable impression in any other situation. The best actor in the entire film is Kamryn Ragsdale as Skylar Neil. She sadly dies of cancer at a very young age, and she acts laps around her Daniel Webber who plays her father. Ragsdale deserves better than this film.
The Dirt did not know what it wanted to be and never found a groove within all of the tones and genres they explored. The frustration comes when the film accidentally showcases moments or themes in the lives of this band that a talented filmmaker or voice outside the group would've developed and evolved into a study of the cost of fame and overindulgence. Lousy acting, tacky comedy, and dull visuals. If you are a fan of the music, pop in your favorite song and look for anything else to watch.
The Dirt is a Dumpster Fire!
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