The Dirt, Netflix’s new biopic based on the life and times of “the world’s most notorious rock band” Mötley Crüe, dropped on the streaming service lately after spending years in development hell. The biopic has received mixed reviews from critics, with some describing it as “a funny, foul-mouthed whirlwind ride through one of the last great eras in rock history” and others describing it as an “R-rated Wikipedia article of a movie.”
But it has proven to be popular with audiences, so more hardcore sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll-laden music biopics could be on the way. Here are 10 Bands That Need A Netflix Biopic Like The Dirt.
Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne actually made an appearance in The Dirt, played by Tony Cavalero, as he snorted live ants and licked Nikki Sixx’s pee off the side of a hotel room (which apparently actually happened). That story is just the tip of the iceberg.
Sabbath wrote a song called “Snowblind” about a certain recreational drug they smuggled into the studio inside Bill Ward’s drums. Ozzy once reportedly ate the head off of a live dove (or bat, depending on the version of the story you read) on stage. A Black Sabbath biopic could be The Dirt set in the ‘60s and ‘70s as opposed to the ‘80s and ‘90s.
The Who was formed of some of the greatest rock legends who ever lived – Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon – and they were among the bands who created the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle as we know it today. The Live Aid sequence was one of the most acclaimed aspects of Bohemian Rhapsody – well, the Who performed at Live Aid, too, so we could have another scene that is just as spectacular, but strikes a completely different tone.
The Live Aid performance marked one of the Who’s few performances together after they broke up in 1983, so it would make the perfect ending for the movie (before letting written captions over a black background take care of the rest).
Country music gets kind of a bad rap, but Lynyrd Skynyrd’s blending of the country twinge and good old-timey rock ‘n’ roll has made them one of the best rock bands around. And they have an amazing behind-the-music story to back it up. Midway through Lynyrd Skynyrd’s career, a tragic plane crash wiped out most of the band.
But they persevered, made up the missing parts of the band with family members, and continue to have tremendous success touring and recording to this day. It’s an incredible story about loss and family and grief and resilience that needs to be told on-screen.
Everyone knows “Smoke on the Water” and a lot of mainstream music fans are familiar with “Highway Star,” but back in the day – and we’re talking 1968 to 1976 – they were one of the key bands forming what it meant to be a hard rock band.
Ritchie Blackmore is famously one of the most incredible guitarists who ever lived and, as a band, they were ranked the fifth most influential band of all time by Planet Rock. They were even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest band in the world. They’re like O.G. Mötley Crüe – they deserve their own biopic.
If a biopic of Pink Floyd was made, the filmmaking style would have to match their musical style. In the same way that The Dirt is a fast-paced, air-thumping, exhilarating ride to match their musical style, the Pink Floyd biopic would have to be surreal, existential, and unconventionally structured, just like their groundbreaking prog-rock tracks.
The movie would also have to include all of the tragic moments from their history, including the day a spaced-out Syd Barrett returned to the studio after being kicked out of the band years earlier and no one recognized him (he died not too long after).
Kurt Cobain’s life, death, and influence were explored in the brilliant documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. But his career and that of his band Nirvana have yet to be dramatized in a satisfying way.
Nirvana wasn’t the first grunge band – Soundgarden was actually the first grunge band to be signed by a major record label – but it was one of the most influential. Cobain was never happy with his own success. He was tormented by doubts over whether or not he deserved it. That would make a terrific dramatic backbone for a movie, with his suicide at the age of 27 making a tragic and powerful conclusion.
A Led Zeppelin biopic should get made if only to set the record straight about the infamous shark fin story, but also because they’re one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Zeppelin reached dizzying heights of success and it would be interesting to see that astronomical rise on the screen.
It would only be made with the involvement of the surviving band members themselves since they very rarely license their music to be used in movies – let alone their life story! But that just means it would be a more accurate portrayal of their story and could be a touching tribute to John Bonham in the same way that Bohemian Rhapsody was a touching tribute to Freddie Mercury.
Any discussion of the greatest rock bands of all time has to include the Rolling Stones in the first two or three words, so they’d be a great candidate for a biopic. A common misconception about the Rolling Stones is that they’re a bunch of streetwise working-class guys who made it big on the burgeoning rock ‘n’ roll scene of the ‘60s.
That is untrue. That’s the story of the Beatles, but the Stones’ is much different. They grew up quite privileged and were privately educated, so their story would make a different kind of music biopic – it would be like The Dirt meets The Riot Club (both of which happen to star Douglas Booth).
There’s a reason why Aerosmith has been nicknamed “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” They’re one of the bestselling artists of all time with over 150 million records sold, they’ll be getting their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year, and they actually had a huge influence on the hard rock stylings of Mötley Crüe (and countless other bands).
Over the years, they’ve broken up and gotten back together so many times that the movie would feel repetitive, but a biopic focusing exclusively on their early years could be really great if it’s shot, paced, and cast right, with the involvement of the band members themselves.
Guns ‘n’ Roses are the flip-side of the Mötley Crüe coin. They’re completely different bands with completely different backgrounds, but they both contributed to curating the glam metal subgenre. Both bands had the “hair metal” look, yet they both seemed really cool, too. Both bands’ music actually said something about their era. It wasn’t just about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll – it was about rebellion and anger and trying to hold onto love and moving on from tragedy.
GnR burst onto the scene with Appetite for Destruction, one of the greatest debut albums (or albums in general) of all time, but it took over a year after its release to take off. GnR went through even more behind-the-scenes drama and fallings-out and line-up changes than Mötley Crüe. And just like Mötley Crüe, GnR’s discography would make an awesome soundtrack.