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What We Do Is Secret
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Darby Crash was a screwed-up kid who nevertheless had vision and drive, and he hooked up with people talented and crazy enough to help him bring his dream to life. The Germs started with nothing, and despite that just went out and slapped the world hard upside the head with the sound and fury they created. That's the central message here.
What cool and maybe even world-changing thing do you want to do, but aren't doing? Maybe this movie will inspire you to do it.
The Germs knew they didn't need anybody's permission or approval or certification, and neither do you. And maybe Darby's screwed-up personal life and tragic stupid death can be instructive, too.
The director's commentary is quite interesting; it shows how DIY this film was, how it was a labor of love for all involved, and how the director, like the Germs themselves, didn't let anything stop him from bringing his vision to the world.
Of course this isn't the complete Germs story. It's a great snapshot, taken from a particular point of view. You can learn much more about the Germs via the excellent Feral House book "Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs" by Brendan Mullen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Instead of rambling on about the specifics, this movie is great from lyrics to pointing out Darby destructive behavior. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Heyoooo
I really love this film for its pacing and portrayal of the LA punk scene. Of course, no investor would have paid for a movie that showed the true-to-life grit of the scene, but I... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Joseph W. Miller
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 17 months ago by Barbara Ota
Excellent movie! I love every detail that was incorporated from Darby's life, his struggles and his band.Published 18 months ago by Brittany
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 morePublished 22 months ago by J. Roberts-White
A movie about Darby Crash, lead singer of the L.A. punk band 'The Germs'. He is a complex & memorable character. Read morePublished on August 31, 2013 by Mary D. Blackwell