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The Dirt

★★★☆

After Nikki Sixx emerges from the emotional ashes of Frank Feranna, the Dirt quickly sets the stage with Motley Crüe starting to come together as a band. Sixx was already writing music and had some experience performing in LA clubs when, after a performance while in the band London at Hollywood's famed Whiskey a Go Go, Tommy Lee spots Nikki in a diner after the show. Although Tommy is on a date, he ditches his girl to go meet with Nikki who reveals that he is looking to put together a new band.

Though Nikki and Tommy have good chemistry and some strong ideas for where they want to go musically, its not until Mick Mars answers an ad for a loud and rude guitarist that the boys get the edge they are looking for. Now, all they need is a lead singer that can draw in the girls. With the addition of Vince Neil, a little more speed and some down-tuning, Live Wire becomes a song to be reckoned with.

Crüe's bad boy reputation quickly grows with well-publicized international incidents, lots of drugs and booze, and much sex of several varieties. It doesn't hurt that the band and their music are dubbed Satanic by conservative religious groups.

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Much like the career arc of the band and the resulting album releases, the film comes in with a bang (Too Fast for Love), hits a higher gear (Shout at the Devil) and mainstream success (Theatre of Pain) then cruises the rest of the way, trying but not quite succeeding in regaining previous heights, even while producing more commercial hits (Dr. Feelgood).

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The casting and portrayal of the band members is interesting - they don't quite nail it and it never feels like an authentic representation of the personalities followers of the band may have come to know over the years. They were all good but not quite right.

But maybe that's not the point. The film does give a vivid picture, in broad strokes, of who the band was and how they became one of the most successful, influential, and most definately - notorious, Heavy Metal bands of their day.