Rated Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman for language, Rock Stars is a curious and disturbing documentary/film. When I looked at the front cover art, I assumed it was going to be about the world of  ‘would be’ musicians. I could not have been further from the mark.

The ‘Rock’ in the title refers to Crack Cocaine, a hideously addictive drug, easy to make, easy to sell, and ruinous to the lives of the user. The ‘Rock Star’ is both the buyer and the seller of this misery. The two minute high makes you play better than the Rolling Stones, alas there is a downside, that high just begets a yearning for the next one. From the dealers perspective (the other Rock Star), this is instant money. Crack has been growing in popularity for several years, although the dangers inherent in the manufacturing process are huge, and many ‘cooks’ have lost their lives in the brewing process, the financial rewards are enormous.

“Unfortunately we have decided to pass on this project as it is not right for HBO” is the quote used in the opening credits. I am not surprised. The liberal use of Duane Dog Chapman’s favorite word is enough to scare off all but the hardiest viewer. The images are raw, the people featured surrealistic, and the dialog right off your favorite mature rated rap CD. I read once that some people have a vocabulary of only 200 words, well you can meet them on this DVD! Oh, and a good portion of those 200 words are not what you would say in front of your mother!

Anthony Quinn (King of the Streets) directs this very stark look at the life of “Rock Stars” in some of the worst cities in New Jersey: Newark, East Orange, and Irvington. Crack addicts, and Crack dealers are interviewed in their natural setting. Maybe the most shocking aspect of this DVD is the impunity and openness that the dealers show. Not scared to show their faces, or their street names, they come across as being impervious to the law.

Rock Stars is not family entertainment, but it certainly should be on your viewing ‘to do’ list. The people are real, the scenes sometimes disturbing, and the message crystal clear, you do not want to be involved in this economy of trading misery.

You can get your own copy of Rock Stars from MVD.

Simon Barrett


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