Rock Camp: The Movie

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Rock Camp: The Movie Movie Poster Image
Some iffy material in shallow but fun wish-fulfillment docu.
  • NR
  • 2021
  • 87 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Shows how playing music (specifically, rock music) can bring joy, connection, and purpose to people's lives. But it also hints at some of the more risque aspects of the rock lifestyle. And it doesn't really go into any of the technical aspects of the camp (specifically how much it costs or how hard it might be to get into), which can make it feel like an advertisement and set kids up for disappointment if it's beyond their means.

Positive Role Models

While they're only featured for a small amount of time, Blake (who's on the autism spectrum) and Jackson (who was born with severe birth defects) offer positive representation by demonstrating how learning to play music has helped their confidence. That said, many other interviewees don't really demonstrate any particularly admirable qualities.

Violence

Barely-seen fake blood used in a prank. Mention of Auschwitz concentration camp. "Devil horn" gesture shown several times.

Sex

Showgirl shown in skimpy outfit (her behind is nearly visible). Female figurines intended to be viewed as sexy are shown. Panties shown (relating to the band KISS). Reference to rock stars "getting chicks."

Language

Uses of "butt," "crap," and "God." Middle-finger gestures.

Consumerism

Old, archival TV ads for Sassoon and Disneyworld.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to drinking. Mention of Alcoholics Anonymous. Mention of drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rock Camp: The Movie is a documentary about Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp and features rock icons like Alice Cooper and Roger Daltrey. It's a bit shallow and at times feels almost like an ad, but it's also a lot of fun, with inspiring stories of camp attendees. A Vegas showgirl is briefly seen in a skimpy outfit (her bottom is nearly visible), sexy female figurines and panties are shown (part of a KISS-related collection), and there are references to "getting chicks." The movie's poster also features a woman's bra draped over an amplifier. Barely seen fake blood is used in a prank. Language includes a use of "butt" and a use of "crap," plus middle-finger gestures and uses of "God." Drinking, drugs, and Alcoholics Anonymous are referenced.

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What's the story?

In ROCK CAMP: THE MOVIE, promoter David Fishof tells his story. He wanted to be a musician but lacked enough talent, so on his father's advice, he became a promoter -- first of athletes and then rock musicians. In 1997, he founded Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, which lets ordinary folks hang out with real rock stars and play music for a few days. The movie introduces us to Scott "Pistol" Crockett, who missed a chance to play drums for Lenny Kravitz and still dreams of making a living playing music. There's also a grandmother who's participated for years as a drummer and this time around wants to try singing. We also meet a man who found that music gives him a way to connect with his son, who's on the autism spectrum. As they all jam with various rock legends, they radiate pure joy.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Rock Camp: The Movie's sexual references. How does the movie view women rock fans? Why is there a cliché about rock stars "picking up" groupies?

  • How are alcohol and drugs referenced? Do they seem glamorized? Are there warnings about consequences?

  • How does the film represent people on the autism spectrum and with disabilities? Do they have their own power? Are they stereotyped?

  • Does the movie feel like an ad for Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp? Why, or why not?

  • Does music have the power to make positive change? How?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music and documentaries

Themes & Topics

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