Poor Rodger Grossman. He spent 15 years trying to make his first feature film, a biopic about punk-rock suicide god Darby Crash and his band the Germs. The result is an accurate, reverent, lukewarm nothing.
It's not like Crash wants for documentation. The Germs were a fireball carnival and Crash was their Barnum: a literate, intelligent heroin addict and closeted gay. He elevated punk to a kind of gutter-glam pageantry. If David Bowie was the superego of 1970s rock 'n' roll, Crash was its id. He slashed himself with broken bottles, threw sugar and goop onto the crowd (which regularly attacked him), and got himself banned from nearly every club in Los Angeles.
Just before and after his legendary death—an intentional heroin overdose, as part of a suicide pact, the day before John Lennon was murdered—Crash became a point of fascination for documentaries (The Decline of Western Civilization), novels (What We Do Is Secret, no relation), and biographies (Lexicon Devil). So what does Grossman add to the pile? Not much. Secret is a simple, just-the-facts narrative that borders on hokey: band forms, band fights with selves and others (sample quote: "Do you guys have to destroy everything?" "Yeah!"), heroin happens, Crash dies.
Grossman stacked his production crew with old Germs and vintage scene queens for accuracy control, which was the wrong impulse. The world doesn't need another gritty, authentic Crash hagiography. (Note to the world: Unless you're a reporter or a historian, striving for authenticity is played. Fuck authenticity, whether you're writing a novel or starting an Indian restaurant. We don't need authentic, we need imaginative and good.)
You know who should make the next Germs movie? Julie Taymor and Sofia Coppola, as producer and director. It should be as over the top as Crash's imagination, four hours long and filmed in IMAX, with cameras zooming into Crash's self-mutilated chest and through his veins Fantastic Voyage style, and extended opium dreams, and animated passages from Crash's favorite books like Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Dianetics.
That would be worth 15 years.