What We Do Is Secret Rodger Grossman

What We Do Is Secret Rodger Grossman
Like most artists, Los Angeles punk rock outfit the Germs seem to have more status and/or clout in death than they ever did in life. Over the 30some years since they disbanded, their legacy has blown up to the point where they are beyond cult status, while realistic history tells us their actual performances yielded little of consequence outside of the L.A. punk circuit. Barely keeping that in mind, Grossman attempts to make a mountain out of a molehill with What We Do Is Secret. Focusing mainly on the Germs singer Darby Crash (played almost too well by Shane West), we are treated to a Coles Notes of his life. Important personality-defining details such as his upbringing, schooling and life as a punk rocker during punk’s least popular days are overlooked in favour of glamorizing him as some sort of Bowie-esque revolutionary who forever altered the course of music. We see him form the band, drive it into oblivion due to drug addiction and finally destroy himself on the eve of the Germs’ last performance. And that’s it. From shoddy wigs on actors such as Bijou Philips (Lorna Doom), Rick Gonzalez (Pat Smear) and Don Bolles (Noah Segan) to half-hearted lip-synching and an odd forcing of the Bronx into a role originally filled by Black Flag during one performance, everything about What We Do Is Secret feels rag-tag and disappointing. To that extent, if the disc’s sparse special features (filmmaker and actor commentary, trailer and digital copy of the film) are any indication of what scraps Grossman had left over to toss in with this straight-to-DVD feature-length film, one might wish that he’d have kept what Crash did a secret amongst his L.A. brethren instead of turning it into a well-shot but flaccid movie of the week. (Peace Arch)