Parents' Guide to

Rock Camp: The Movie

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Some iffy material in shallow but fun wish-fulfillment docu.

Movie NR 2021 87 minutes
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Even though it's a bit shallow, under-explored, and self-serving, this documentary still manages to capture the joy and healing power of music, as well as the dream of being a rock star. Renee Barron and Douglas Blush's Rock Camp: The Movie chooses its subjects -- Tammy Fisher, Blake Meinhardt, Scott and Jackson Keller, etc. -- wisely, and it's easy to see how much the camp means to them. As rocker Alice Cooper explains during the movie's opening, if only people who struggle through their jobs and their lives had a rock band to look forward to playing with on weekends, they'd be much happier. Moreover, it's truly inspiring to see how the camp helps both Blake (who's on the autism spectrum) and Jackson (who was born with severe birth defects) blossom.

The filmmakers capture footage of an amazing array of rock stars, including Cooper, Roger Daltrey of The Who, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, Sammy Hagar, Lita Ford, Nancy Wilson of Heart, Rob Halford and Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, and many more. But while it's cool to see them hanging out and jamming or talking about camp, the movie never goes very deep with them. Nor does it delve very far into Fishof's life. He's just a happy guy who hangs out with rock stars. Most glaringly, though, Rock Camp: The Movie neglects to mention the details of how to go there, how much it costs, and how hard it is to get in. That can make it feel a bit more like an ad than a documentary, but at least it's fun.

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