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What We Do Is Secret (2008)

Shane West , Bijou Phillips , Rodger Grossman  |  R |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Price: $22.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Shane West, Bijou Phillips, Rick Gonzalez, Chris Pontius, Noah Segan
  • Directors: Rodger Grossman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Peace Arch Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2008
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,523 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


You're in for a helluva ride. --Film Threat

Actor Shane West and writer-director Rodger Grossman have a clear, unwavering perspective on Crash that should entice curiosity seekers and old punks to What We Do Is Secret. --Variety

West seems to be channeling the spirit of Crash. --Premiere

Product Description

What We Do Is Secret is the true-life story of Darby Crash (Shane West), who became an L.A. punk icon with his band The Germs. With his friends, Lorna Doom (Bijou Phillips), Pat Smear (Rick Gonzalez), and Don Bolles (Noah Segan), Darby Crash completely transformed the L.A punk scene, while sacrificing everyone he loved, his career, and ultimately his life

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT the Germs October 27, 2008
By M
If this movie has actually helped some people discover the Germs and the old school punk scene, then I guess that's a good thing.


This movie has nothing to do with reality. Far from a realistic portrait, this film presents Darby Crash as a nice, but misunderstood kid who could just as easily have been a supporting character on "Dawson's Creek" and makes the L.A. punk scene look like an episode of "90210."

Read "Lexicon Devil" or watch "Decline of Western Civilization" as a contrast. Or just listen to the Germs. Just Darby's lyrics on their own illustrate the yawning chasm between who he really was and who Roger Grossman and Shane West make him out to have been. Even Don Bolles has dismissed the movie as worthless in interviews.

Brilliant, whiny, pathetic, cruel, insecure, domineering, self-destructive, confused, deceitful and very, very sad, Darby Crash was a profoundly flawed and often unpleasant screwed up kid who also happened to write some of the best punk rock lyrics ever produced for one of the scene's most influential bands.

Grossman and West manage to gloss over everything that was difficult, disturbing and most importantly, tragic about Darby. And in their attempt to lionize him, they paint a bland and sterile picture of an average adolescent who seems like he'd be more comfortable singing for Fallout Boy than the Germs.

As I'm no stickler for obsessive historical accuracy, all of this could maybe - MAYBE - be forgivable if the movie were well-made or had something important to say. But no. It's just an oversimplified whitewash of one of the most complex, orginal and influential artists the punk scene has produced.

If you want a great fictional movie about early punk, skip this trash and go watch "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains." In it's way, that movie says more about old school punk rock than this film ever could.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Out of my element December 16, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As a 63 year old grandmother, who is as far removed from the punk music scene as you could possibly get, this was difficult to watch...but I did. I believe that you can't dismiss things that you don't care for unless you try to understand what they are about. I hope that the movie was fairly accurate because it explains why someone might create music with so much "hurt" in it. I gave it three stars because that is a neutral number and although the material was one star for me it did a five star job at showing the gritty, difficult, unhappy lives that the band members lived.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings were a given... January 1, 2009
First, I'm not going to pretend that I was around LA when all of this went down... I was in New Orleans, and I didn't really get into punk until 1980 or '81, when Black Flag came through. Darby Crash was already dead by then, so I never knew him, met him, or even saw the Germs. With that said, the fact that the surviving Germs are happy with Shane West and "What We Do is Secret" is enough for me.

I'll be honest though, I would've liked to have seen some more of the earlier years. Show some more of the time spent at IPS (read "Lexicon Devil"). I think that the film does try to project the complicated person that Crash appears to have been. I do think it comes off short though, perhaps because of the fact that the film itself clocks in around an hour and a half.

The list of people involved in the making of this film is impressive. It is a who's who of punk in Los Angeles. This, coupled with the input of the Germs and their immediate circle suggest that the film was credible.

What surprised me though was how many of the scenes of turmoil within the band seemed cliche. I've no doubt it was, but it still surprised me.

The documentary/ bio-epic presentation is interesting. I wonder why Grossman decided to do it this way. I don't know. If this film had a larger budget and this is what they turned out I would rate this movie lower... but the fact of the matter is that this film had a small budget and took almost two decades to make. This fact perhaps explains the relatively short length of "What We Do is Secret" as well as other shortcomings.

I'm glad this film was completed. I'm glad its out there and it is absolutely worth seeing, but, if you are a Germs fan you'd see it even if it was absolute trash.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good job Shane West March 2, 2011
By Exo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Shane West has Darby down is good. sometimes cheesy and low budget but thats cool,it's still a good flick. It's about the Germs, come on, they rocked in the day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh February 3, 2011
Lassoed into watching this thing cause my wife has serious lust issues towards the main actor (Shane West) Been a casual acquaintance with the Germs since I found punk around 1985, but always saw them as more of an acquired taste. They really are pretty atonal compared with the Ramones or Clash, or even the Sex Pistols for that matter. What they did have was that great raw, youth energy which has since been quelled via gaming and Facebook. The film in and of itself was not very good, but kudos go to the folks who slugged it out to get it made. Found a renewed appreciation for the Germs and started listening to them again. It's worth a view....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What We Did is ... Not So Secret Anymore February 16, 2010
Some of this movie is exciting, intense and powerful. But it's hard to make a great feature film that retains the power of real life. This was one of those situations. It reminds me of when I saw the movie Dogtown as opposed to the documentary. The features often lose the power and depth of the situation by having to explain it somehow in a couple hours without a budget that can make it more real as far as concert footage, etc. If you want to know more about early L.A. punk this is good to see. You can see the fashion and hear some music and get the basic story of the Germs. I would suggest the book, Lexicon Devil, for those who really want to know the deep inside story of Darby and the Germs. I remember Darby and the Germs from 9th grade and going to shows and parties. The book Lexicon Devil helped me understand it more. Doing a movie about the Germs is so hard to pull off. I think only Scorcese or someone of that caliber could have made it awesome.

Check out my book about growing up as a goofy punk kid in L.A. during the early 80s:

One Step Beyond: A Teenage Odyssey in 1980s Los Angeles (Volume 1)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the movie
Whoever Shane West plays, he's nails it to perfection. He's got that certain charisma that carries through into his character. Loved the movie.
Published 23 days ago by Barbara Ota
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent movie! I love every detail that was incorporated from Darby's life, his struggles and his band.
Published 2 months ago by Brittany
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best rock movies ever!
This is my second copy of What We Do Is Secret, The first one was stolen. I had to get back in my collection. If that doesn't get the point across! Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Roberts-White
5.0 out of 5 stars What we do is Secret
A movie about Darby Crash, lead singer of the L.A. punk band 'The Germs'. He is a complex & memorable character. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mary D. Blackwell
2.0 out of 5 stars Darby Crash turned into an ignorant, straight homophobe does not serve...
turning the semi-closeted, screamingly gay Darby Crash into a homophobic idiot did not serve this film well... Read more
Published 13 months ago by jane
4.0 out of 5 stars See how the Germs slapped the world upside its head
Exciting and inspiring and fast-paced look at the creation and dissolution of a legendary punk band. Read more
Published 15 months ago by James W. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT WE DO IS SECRET
Published 18 months ago by DANIEL
4.0 out of 5 stars good germs movie
Gives you a look at darby crash and the germs rise to
the top of LA's punk scene in the late 70's early 80's.
Published 18 months ago by we_ae_maxi
1.0 out of 5 stars nice try
the movie was o.k. at the most. could have been more detailed and not soo slow. it was a curious buy, one watch and thats it.
Published 19 months ago by joshua
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining film....but very glamorized
Although an highly entertaining film it is not all entirely accurate. Darby was a seriously torchered soul and I know that's cliche but the man simply could not come to terms with... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Neal Damiano
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