Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Primal Stream: Thoughts On The Dirt Trailer

The Dirt is one of the best rock bios out there. Not because Mötley Crüe has made amazing music, not even because of its sensationalisation of sex and drugs but because of the honest exposé of the band’s dysfunctions and its members' deeply flawed personalities. 

There is no redemption in Mötley Crüe. No lesson is learned by anyone. 

Vince Neil’s lifestyle destroyed several lives, yet he continues to drive drunk to this day. 

Nikki Sixx’ machiavellian tendencies haven’t stopped with his drug-taking, in fact he is as manipulative as he ever was. 

Tommy Lee’s several legal troubles and his responsibility in the drowning of a child haven’t made him any less of a self-absorbed attention whore, and certainly haven’t increased his overall IQ. 

And don’t feel bad for Mick Mars because he has a painful degenerative bone disease: he is still a miserable asshole.

These guys are basically what would happen if the gang from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia became extremely rich and famous barely out of their teens. 

The unapologetic, selfish, irredeemable awfulness of these individuals is what makes it a fascinating read and transcends the anecdotal story of a mediocre rock band making it big. How much of that will be left in the Netflix movie remains to be seen.

On one hand they can’t portray these characters the way they truly are: petty, egotistical, uneducated and borderline sociopathic: you need a modicum of likability in a movie like that. On the other hand they need to avoid the hagiographic bias of other rock biopics such as Bohemian Rhapsody. So it will be interesting to see if they find the right balance. The trailer released yesterday doesn’t give a sense of how this will be handled.

Whatever the trailer does offer however doesn’t give me much hope for the production value of this project. This is closer to VH1’s Def Leppard biopic from twenty years ago than it is to prestige projects like Ray or Walk The Line. But perhaps this is appropriate for Mötley Crüe and their place in rock History. 

And hopefully this is what will keep the movie seedy, grimy, slimy and yes, dirty. The paradox of the Crüe is that there was nothing glam about them. Their story is one of junk and corruption that even the second rate New York Dolls rip-off music can’t lift from the gutter. This is what we want to see on the screen, not a tale of four young boys conquering their dreams in the face of adversity. We’ve already seen that movie a thousand times.

In full disclosure I love Mötley Crüe despite everything. Their songs are crass and undistinguished, their image is cringe-worthy and their shows are all style, no content yet they were the soundtrack of my childhood and teens. The one thing about them that was real, the one thing that wasn’t manufactured, the one thing that was actually rock and roll was the danger. If the movie manages to capture that then it might not be a complete waste of 90 minutes.

In any case I’m very impatient for March 22nd when it’s released, and make sure to come back to this page for a review.

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