Jason Bateman runs away from summer camp and into trouble in ’80s TV movie ‘Moving Target’

Made for television movie Moving Target tells the story of teenage musician Toby Kellogg (Jason Bateman), whose father makes him leave his garage band for the summer to go to performing arts camp at Interlochen (a real summer camp in Michigan referred to in the movie by its name at the time, National Music Camp). Miserable at the camp, Toby runs away after seeing a newspaper article about his band Bazooka being on the verge of hitting it big back in L.A. but when he returns home his house is empty and his family gone.

Adding to the mystery of his missing family, Toby finds himself being pursued by men in suits from the U.S. Justice Department and a hitman. Enlisting the help of a female friend (played by Chynna Phillips of Wilson Phillips fame) he had recruited to play in the band earlier in the summer, Bateman tries to make sense of what’s going on, running from his pursuers while trying to locate his family.

The summer camp scenes are more or less like the rest of the movie, run of the mill and slightly embarrassing in that cheesy ’80s TV movie way. The most memorable part of the scenes at Camp Interlochen is probably the reaction of Toby’s bunk mate when he tells him he’s running away:

“Your parents are going to hatch a brick; this place ain’t cheap.”

From a summer camp perspective, the moral of the story – TV movies and their morals – seems to be that bad things happen when you run away from summer camp. That and if you’re going to run away from camp home might not be the best place to go because there’s a chance your family may have had to change their names and relocate to run from the mob and didn’t have a chance to tell you yet because they expected you’d be safer blissfully unaware of what was happening for a few more weeks at camp.

The movie debuted on February 8, 1988.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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