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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Dirt is an account of the rise and fall (and rise again) of Motley Crue, a rock band from the 1980s known for the shock value of their shows (unrestrained performances, distinctive costumes, pyrotechnics) as well as their music. Based on their book, The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band, the movie follows the band members from their early days as Los Angeles "bad boys" to stardom and ends as they embark on a decades-long "sober" career. Viewers can expect nonstop self-destructive, amoral behavior for most of the film. Graphic hard drug use (snorting, shooting up, overdoses) plays relentlessly alongside drunkenness, vomiting, in-your-face urination (literally), and a scene in which a wasted singer snorts a poolside line of ants. Sex and nudity underline the basic misogyny of the band; women are used and discarded, sex acts are tabulated and emotionless. There's a fiery, bloody, fatal car accident; the over-played, maudlin death of a child; violent, drug-fueled vandalism, and assorted drunken brawls. Countless obscenities ("f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "p---y," "a--hole," "pr--k,") are heard, including from the mouth of a young boy. Not recommended for kids of any age.
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What's the story?
Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth), Tommy Lee (Machine Gun Kelly), Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon), and Vince Neil (Daniel Webber) take the 1980s Sunset Strip rock scene by storm in THE DIRT. Their band, Motley Crue, with its penchant for shocking behavior and explosive musical performances, catapults from Los Angeles to international stardom with lightning good luck and a boost from a major record label. But these young men, unleashed and unfettered by insight or morality, implode on a grand scale. Alcohol, drugs, sex, and criminal behavior lead to a horrific downfall... both victims and perpetrators of their fame and misfortune. After a series of near-death experiences and calamitous lapses in conscience, the men resolve to get sober, renew their vows as "family," and begin again, ultimately grinding out a decades-long musical career.
Is it any good?
If viewers get past the terrible writing, bad performances, one-dimensional characters, and overall inept filmmaking, what's left is self-destruction, depravity, and a little music on the side. Director Jeff Tremaine brings all the subtlety and skill he showed in his Jackass movies to rock and roll's lower depths. In a startling lack of responsibility, the misbehavior, graphic drug use, drunkenness, sexual degradation, and disrespect for others makes up about 80% of the film. The other 20% consists of sparse musical numbers and one shot of the exterior of the Betty Ford Clinic represents their "journey" to sobriety. The Dirt is awful in every way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Think about how filmmakers choose their projects. What were these filmmakers hoping to accomplish by making The Dirt? Who is their intended audience? If you are a Motley Crue fan, did the movie add to your understanding of the band members or your enjoyment of their music? Why or why not?
What is a "cautionary" tale? In what way(s) is this movie a cautionary tale? When does a portrayal of bad behavior cross the line and become exploitation of that behavior? How much is too much?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.