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What We Do Is Secret

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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


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

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Special Features


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
  • 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 (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,502 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 55 people found the following review helpful By M on October 27, 2008
Format: DVD
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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By SAM on 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 By Zelie Nic on January 1, 2009
Format: DVD
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James W. Harris on June 29, 2013
Format: DVD
Exciting and inspiring and fast-paced look at the creation and dissolution of a legendary punk band.

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.
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