Dec 11, 2008

What We Do Is Secret

When I found out that a film full of Hollywood “has been” stars was going to be made about the punk legend Darby Crash and his band The Germs, I was disgusted. Hollywood has made enough films distorting the image of rockers (among other historical social figures), but I never thought that sunset boulevard would ever touch upon the short life of junkie fascist punk rocker Darby Crash. To top off this horrendous idea for a film, they decided to cast A Walk to Remember star Shane West as Darby Crash. I doubt Darby Crash was ever a fan of shitty teenage girl romance films.

After viewing the film, I was surprised to find that Shane West was the best thing about it. The young actor had the look of Darby Crash down pretty accurately. Although no one could ever truly impersonate the unique gestures and speech of Darby, Shane West at least gets by. The casting of Rick Gonzalez as Pat Smear was a horrible decision by the casting director of What We Do Is Secret. Smear never had an atrocious “latino (or whatever it’s supposed to be)” accent. I doubt Gonzalez even attempted to recreate the real Pat Smear. Smear is of negro, American Indian, Jewish, and German blood. For some reason, What We Do Is Secret tries to make him out as some cool avant-garde Latino. I guess the flood in third world immigration made having Smear become Latino more interesting for newly arrived “American” audiences.

Darby Crash

Apparently, Pat Smear referred to the cast of What We Do Is Secret as “the baby Germs.” Smear had the job of training the cast how to play The Germs songs for the film. Maybe Pat Smear could have also trained Rick Gonzalez to at least somewhat portray him. That would have required Rick Gonzalez to talk with a sort of gay California drugged out accent. For some reason, I think most Germs fans would have preferred that.

All and all, What We Do Is Secret is a weak film about Darby Crash and The Germs. It is the type of film that might inspire individuals that have never heard of The Germs to look further into the band. For those interested, Penelope Spheeris’ The Decline of Western Civilization is the documentary to checkout if you want to see the real Darby Crash. Also the book Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and The Germs is something worth checking out. The book spans the same period featured in What We Do Is Secret except much more in depth. That being said, What We Do Is Secret is at best watchable.

-Ty E

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