Reasoning with Madness
"This is a barbaric yawp, and it will be sounded over the roofs of the world."
My two cents on "The Dirt", the new biopic of Motley Crue on Netflix:
First, (young bloods and prudes stop reading now)
I'm stoked it did follow through with what Tommy Lee told me years ago when they were doing table reads of the screenplay...I brought up the fact that Rolling Stone said it started with a squirting scene (which happens in the book too) and he said (paraphrasing), "Yeah! It's gnarly, dude!" After which, Alice Cooper (who was also on the phone with me) chimed in, "Yeah, it's perfect product placement," referencing the soda Squirt. We all had a good laugh at that. So it was wild that they left that in.
That being said, the rest of the movie...well, it's decent. It covers some of the more insane moments that the book describes, but it's nowhere near as good. If you liked the movie, READ THE BOOK. So much juicier, so much better.
The movie felt like one of those weird made-for-TV TBS/Hallmark movies, and awkwardly jumps from one era to the next, glossing over HUGE expanses of time and moments. If you just saw this movie, for example, you would have thought Tommy only married Heather Locklear and never met Pamela Anderson. Don't think you'll get an accurate depiction of their albums, their tours or what really happened in the 90s after Vince left and then came back and they hobbled forward for about a decade, playing to empty stadiums before finally getting their groove back by launching the CrueFest...
The acting was all very made-for-tv quality, with Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee being closest to the actual people portrayed, while the guys who played Vince and Mick (probably the least discussed and most fascinating member of the band) both being pretty awful, really. The dude who played Ozzy was downright comical at best, more like a dude in a Halloween costume than the Real Prince of Darkness. But that was one of the most legendary moments in the book, so it had to be in the movie.
It was worth watching, but nowhere near as amazing as the book it was made from. I think an actual biography would be pretty amazing, as the entire time I really just wanted to see the actual guys in Motley Crue rather than the kids who were playing them.
The most impressive part for me, was not the movie itself, but the hype and promotion surrounding it. I gotta hand it to the guys and the people around them (some of which may read this, you know who you are and you rock as always):
The Hype has been Motley Crue Sized.
That's what The Crue have always been best at, I think. Promotion. They know how to get people hyped up for what they do. They know how to suck you in and get you excited about whatever it is they're doing. And they've gotten better at it over time. My entire social media existence has been inundated by Motley Crue and talk about the movie. Loving it and hating it. But it's been nonstop in my face for about a month now and continues through this posting.
Any band wanting to learn anything about succeeding in the weird world of the music industrial complex should be taking notes to how the Crue have been promoting this flick. Because they are killing it on the Hype.
All in all, despite the tepid and wonky nature of the biopic version of The Dirt, it worked on me. I'm going back through their discography, listening to their albums all over again, remembering how much I fucking love that band. I've met them a few times, interviewed them a few times, seen them live at least three times, (including their farewell tour where they nearly burned down Matt Knight Arena in Eugene with some pyro that wouldn't quite go out for a few songs and the immortal Bus to Crue, which had it's own Dirt-like tales) and ultimately, I can't say I hated the movie. It brought them back to my center of attention yet again, like they've managed to do throughout my life.
The Crue have provided me with a lifetime of good times and crazy memories, from the early days of jamming their tapes on a boombox while I skateboarded around as a middle schooler to meeting the guys and being a minimal part of their success in the final years of their touring career, putting Nikki Sixx's show on the radio in Eugene and giving away a thousand tickets...
Long Live Motley Crue. Watch The Dirt. Make up your own mind. And absolutely read the book.
Who Am I?
I am Ahab.