What We Do Is Secret | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

What We Do Is Secret

Bio-pic looks at the short career of 1970s Los Angeles punk band

Darby Crash, lead singer of 1970s Los Angeles punk band, The Germs, left the classic résumé to become a minor cult legend: Make a glorious mess, be misunderstood in your time and die young (Crash died in 1980 from an intentional drug overdose). Now, Crash's Germs days are the subject of Rodger Grossman's rather lo-fi, pseudo-documentary bio-pic. Shane West (ER) mumbles, broods and rages as Crash; he's compelling but it still comes across as play-acting. (The real-life Crash proved the cautionary highlight of Penelope Spheeris' 1981 documentary on the L.A. scene, The Decline of Western Civilization.) Ultimately, Secret doesn't shed much new light on Crash, or establish whether the long-ago, local train-wreck of a band deserves more recognition. Fans of early punk, though, may find the film an intriguing curio -- who'd have thought they'd make a movie about The Germs? Through Thu., Aug. 21. Harris (AH)

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary
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Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary

By Mars Johnson