What We Do Is Secret (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

What We Do Is Secret (2007)



Critic Consensus: Despite its dynamic subject and reckless anti-glamor, this biopic about the legendary punk rocker Darby Crash fails to translate the excitement its subject generated.

What We Do Is Secret Photos

Movie Info

The true-life story of Darby Crash, who became a Los Angeles punk icon before taking his own life in 1980, provides the background for this gritty musical biopic. Not long after getting kicked out of an experimental high school in Los Angeles, charismatic misfit and major David Bowie fan Jan Paul Beahm (Shane West) announces that he wants to form a rock band. With his best friend Georg Ruthenberg (Rick Gonzalez), Beahm creates a group called the Germs, mainly because their first choice, "Sophistif--k and the Revlon Spam Queens" costs too much to put on a T-shirt. Beahm appoints himself lead singer, Ruthenberg becomes guitarist even though he has no command of the instrument, and Beahm creates new stage names for them -- George becomes Pat Smear, and Jan is now Bobby Pyn. After a few less-than-impressive attempts to putting Beahm's "five-year plan" into action, the Germs begin to click with the addition of sweet but musically inexperienced Lorna Doom (Bijou Phillips) on bass and Arizona transplant Don Bolles (Noah Segan) on drums. Bobby Pyn gives himself another new name, Darby Crash, and the Germs become the talk of the Los Angeles punk scene with their reckless but literate songs and Darby's aggressive performance style. The Germs become big fish in the small pond of L.A. punk, but when hard drugs enter into the picture, Darby begins alienating those closest to him, and after the Germs' collapse, he's at a loss for how to bring his grand scheme to the next level. The real Pat Smear served as a music producer for What We Do Is Secret, recreating the sound of the Germs and other seminal L.A. punk groups for the soundtrack, while the surviving members of the Germs played a series of reunion dates following the production of the movie, with Shane West standing in as lead singer.

Watch it now


Shane West
as Darby Crash
Rick Gonzalez
as Pat Smear
Bijou Phillips
as Lorna Doom
Noah Segan
as Don Bolles
Tina Majorino
as Michelle
Ashton Holmes
as Rob Henley
Keir O'Donnell
as Chris Ashford
Lauren German
as Belinda Carlisle
Sebastian Roche
as Claude 'Kickboy Face' Bessey
Ray Park
as Brendan Mullen
Azura Skye
as Casey Cola
Michele Hicks
as Penelope Spheeris
Chris Pontius
as Black Randy
Ozzy Benn
as Capt. Sensible
Christopher Boyd
as Dave Vanian
Brian Oerly
as Bouncer
Jared Show
as Football Player
Brian Gleason
as Regi Mentle
J.P. Manoux
as Rodney Bingenheimer
Rich Moreno
as Tomata Du Plenty
Sara Rivas
as Shannan
Richard Wharton
as Whiskey Manager
Howard S. Miller
as Starwood Manager
Noah Abrams
as Audience Member No.2
View All

News & Interviews for What We Do Is Secret

Critic Reviews for What We Do Is Secret

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (24)

Despite its thorough attention to historical detail and the obvious love of all involved for their shattered subject, What We Do Is Secret is, in the end, awfully sterile for a movie about the Germs.

October 17, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

While What We Do Is Secret may not be remembered for much more than West's performance, it's an impersonation worth saluting.

October 10, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4

The battering live shows prove West's dedication to the role, but as always there's too little insight into both music and musicians and too much period design

September 12, 2008 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Some of the supporting performances, like those of Phillips and Gonzalez, are very strong, but it's West who lifts the entire film to a whole other level.

August 29, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Despite a terrific performance from Shane West, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Crash, Secret is a chronology, not a biopic.

August 28, 2008 | Rating: 2/4

First-time writer-director Rodger Grossman bangs out a visceral, energized biopic that captures the vibrant idiocy of punked-out youth and a tortured soul gaining his wish of cult status.

August 22, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for What We Do Is Secret

For someone who's never even heard of The Germs, I thought it was fairly good.

Lovable Misanthrope
Lovable Misanthrope

Super Reviewer

What We Do Is Secret Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features