The film captures the truly violent and directionless nature of the Los Angeles punk/hardcore scene in 1980 and Crash's interviews segments somehow epitomized it more so than the others. Not particularly gifted musically, however, being a tight band wasn't what the scene was about.
This week sees the theatrical release of What We Do Is Secret, a Crash bio-pic rumoured to be in the making since the 90s after various financial backers kept dropping out. (It's yet to have a scheduled run here in Canada but when TIFF announces their program in the near future perhaps it will be included?)
I have to admit, I rolled my eyes upon first hearing about this film. The Germs' music was certainly influential in the spectrum of California punk, but Crash doesn't come off as a terribly interesting individual. If he didn't purposefully overdose on heroin at 22 (on the day before John Lennon was murdered, no less) you'd have to wonder if such a film would even exist. Director Rodger Grossman proclaims to be huge fan, but that's not necessarily a bonus since such scenarios usually lead to glorification of their subject at the expense of an engaging story.
Making this film further suspect is its cast. Not sure how many horribly acting turns Bijou Phillips (playing bassist Lorna Doom) needs to make before people stop offering her parts, but the real eyebrow raiser is Shane West, who mimics Crash's onstage debauchery and faux philosophies about fascism and anarchy. While some might know West from his ER days, other will remember him from a sappy little film with Mandy Moore called A Walk to Remember. Early reviews are not kind to West.
But here's where I give West credit. The Germs, including guitarist Pat Smear and drummer Don Bolles, reunited for the films' L.A. premier, and the actor actually joined the band in real life. He's adopted the name Shane Wreck and they've been playing shows like the Warped Tour ever since. Would Crash approve of some Hollywood hunk stealing his identity, touring a lucrative, corporately-sponsored event like Warped? The rest of the band probably aren't too worried about angering Crash's ghost. Not when there're mortgages to pay and movie premiers to attend.
Photos, from GermsReturn.com, by Erin Williams.