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With: Alice Cooper, Roger Daltrey, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Sammy Hagar, Lita Ford, Nancy Wilson, Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner, Joe Perry, David Fishof, Scott "Pistol" Crockett, Tammy Fisher, Blake Meinhardt, Scott Keller, Jackson Keller
Written by: Renee Barron, Douglas Blush, Kimberley Furst
Directed by: Renee Barron, Douglas Blush
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 87
Date: 01/15/2021

Rock Camp: The Movie (2021)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Band Wagon

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Even though it's admittedly shallow, under-explored, and self-serving, the documentary Rock Camp: The Movie still manages to capture the joy and the healing power of music, as well as the dream of being a rock star.

Promoter David Fishof tells his story. He wanted to be a musician, but lacked talent, so on the advice of his father, he became a promoter, first of athletes, and then rock musicians. In 1997, he founded Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, which allows ordinary folks to hang out with real rock stars and play music for a few days.

We're introduced to Scott "Pistol" Crockett, who missed a chance to play drums for Lenny Kravitz and still dreams of making a living playing music. Then there's a grandmother who has participated for years as a drummer, and this year wants to try singing. We also meet a man who found that music gives him a way to connect with his son, who is on the autism spectrum. As they jam with various rock legends, they radiate pure joy.

Directed by Renee Barron and Douglas Blush, 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 that struggle through their jobs and their lives only 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 is 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 the camp, the movie never gets 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. In this way, it resembles an ad more than a documentary, but at least it's fun.

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