If the pandemonium outside the Festival Theatre in Westwood was any indication, Saturday night’s world premiere screening of Rodger Grossman’s “What We Do Is Secret” was THE hot ticket to have at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
The story of Darby Crash, the lead singer of the seminal Los Angeles punk band The Germs, “Secret” brought out surviving Germs members Pat Smear, Lorna Doom and Don Bolles, plus the film’s stars Shane West (who excels as Crash), Bijou Phillips and Tina Majorino, and Majorino’s “Veronica Mars” co-star Kristen Bell (whose significant other was also a producer on the film), as well as many of the original kids from the first wave of the punk scene and those who have come after. There hasn’t been so many tattoos, pierces and leather in one place since the last Erotic LA show.
The movie itself is a marverlous walk down memory lane, for those of us who grew up in Los Angeles during the late 1970s and early 1980s, or a fascinating look at the birth of the West Coast punk scene for those who weren’t. While it does play fast and loose with some facts (including, most infuriatingly, the timing of Crash’s deadly overdose, which happened the day before John Lennon was assassinated in real life, but happens just after the shooting in New York in the film), first-time feature director Grossman beautifully and otherwise accurately recaptures the era now lost to history. (A full review of the film will be forthcoming.)
If you are in Los Angeles in the coming days, make sure to catch “What We Do Is Secret” when it plays again Monday, June 25 or Wednesday June 27. More information is available at the official Los Angeles Film Festival website.