The film, which stars Iwan Rheon, Machine Gun Kelly, Douglas Booth, and Daniel Webber as the hell-raising band, was released on Netflix today (March 22) and based on the group’s memoir of the same name.
Reviewers were unanimous in their negativity about the movie. Deadline assessed it as having been “bleached pretty clean from its feral and self-admitted sordid source material”, citing frontman Vince Neil’s drunken car crash that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle and the death of his daughter after a battle with cancer as “rare exceptions in this straight to MOR movie that has a limited emotional range outside of party time.”
Stereogum commented on the film’s depiction of women, saying that there were several instances where women appeared naked and were not referred to with a name. It also criticised the movie for leaving out or changing parts of the band’s story, including overlooking entire albums and Tommy Lee’s marriage to Pamela Anderson. “The Dirt is a poorly written, lazily directed, cheap-looking and ultimately kind of boring movie about one of the scummiest gangs of sociopaths to ever go multi-platinum,” it concluded.
The New York Times, meanwhile, said screenwriters Rich Wilkes and Amanda Adelson had “sanded it down to a junior varsity Bohemian Rhapsody”.
“The result is the kind of paint-by-numbers storytelling that [Judd Apatow movie] Walk Hard should have smothered in its crib over a decade ago,” it continued. “[Director Jeff] Tremaine’s staging is as convincing as an ’80s-themed party at an insurance office, and the film is shot with all the visual punch of a period Bud Light commercial.”
Some publications were more favourable with Decider telling readers: “Lower your expectations, throw caution, decorum and good taste to the wind, and file it under “guilty pleasure.” The Guardian praised the main cast’s performances, saying: “Booth, Webber and Rheon possess similar abilities to navigate between charm and repulsion, all working together to create such a chummy group that their power as an ensemble elevates the material. Just like their real-life counterparts.”
At the time of writing, The Dirt has a 47 percent rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Its audience score on the site, however, is a much higher 96 percent – something which was reflected in fans’ reactions on Twitter.
“#TheDirt was fucking wicked!!! Mgk and the rest of the cast absolutely killed it,” wrote one user. Another commented: “OMG The Dirt rocked!!! I’ve laughed, cried, and was literally blown away how amazing it was!! Job well done everyone!!!!”
“The costumes, mannerisms, stories, other rockstar appearances and the explosive shows! I fucking loved it all!” Added another. See those and more reactions below now.
#TheDirt was fucking wicked!!! Mgk and the rest of the cast absolutely killed it
— Owen ? (@SouljaGameFan) March 22, 2019
OMG The Dirt rocked!! I’ve laughed, cried, and was literally blown away how amazing it was!!
Job well done everyone!!!@NikkiSixx @MrTommyLand @thevinceneil @mrmickmars motleycrue… https://t.co/w6G3JVInlq
— Rebecca?? (@auntfrew) March 22, 2019
— Natayah (@Revadows) March 22, 2019
the dirt is fucking great .. @machinegunkelly killed that tommy lee role ?10/10
— . (@thegabbyxo) March 22, 2019
Just got done watching The Dirt. Loved it. Can't wait to talk about it with a couple of the guys from Hill Motley Lumber Company., Inc. on Another FN Podcast with Izzy Presley tomorrow night
— Izzy Presley (@realizzypresley) March 22, 2019
Just watched #thedirtmovie #TheDirt #MotleyCrue and I am super stoked to report that shit happened for real – there was a reason that I idolized people like #NikkiSixx the man's a genius, a fan or not a fan this movie is a must-watch.
— Christian Driscoll (@mishmash524) March 22, 2019
— Ray Belcher (@RayBelcher73) March 22, 2019
— Nic Nemeth (@HEELZiggler) March 22, 2019
Mötley Crüe recorded four new tracks for the soundtrack of The Dirt, including ‘The Dirt (Est. 1981), which featured Machine Gun Kelly, and a cover of Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’.