Released: 2002, Xenon Pictures
It is not too often here is a feature length movie about the metal culture that gets full distribution in theaters, so I had to review this film. FUBAR was filmed and produced in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, hence my soft spot for this film. It is an independent movie that won some rave reviews at Sundance this year and is being compared to Spinal Tap.
FUBAR is a mockumentary/rockumentary… meaning it is a film about a pretend documentary about headbangers. The two main characters are two, average, working-class, lower socio-economic, hard working, hard drinkin’ headbangers. There is not too much plot per se but many many sight gags and hilarious one-liners. The basic plot is that one of the two bangers is diagnosed with testicular cancer and has to have the one offending nut removed. So they decide to go on a weekend camping trip and get seriously drunk, pick fights, chase girls etc…there is not too much more to it. The whole thing has the feel of a giant in-joke that we were privileged to see. This is not highbrow humour…fart jokes, barfing, shotgunning beers and tons of vulgarity nicely capture the essence of some of the members of the metal sub-culture.
The film quality is shabby which is perfect for this kind of mockumentary, it has a similar look and feel to the Blair Witch Project, bouncy camera angles, not a lot of filters, zero make-up etc… The soundtrack is classic 80’s rock and metal and oddly enough the official soundtrack on CD has very few of the songs in the movie but modern bands doing covers of classic Canadian bands like Helix, Kick Axe and more. Even the Mighty Thor contributes an original tune.
There is one serious flaw in the movie and it’s portrayal of the headbangers…the almost total absence of music as an integral part of the culture of metal. The directors and actors because they are not metal fans missed the main point that the music is the defining element of the metal subculture, not fighting, drinking, swearing etc… It would have been nice to see them arguing about who is better Ozzy or Metallica for example or perhaps have them wear more metal shirts, and be seen listening to music way more. They captured all the peripheral stereotypes nicely and expanded them for excellent humorous effect but left out the heart of headbangers, the rebellion and worship of the music that defines our lives.
At first I was mentally prepared to NOT like this movie as it was produced, directed and acted by people who are NOT headbangers and essentially I felt it would degenerate into making fun of metal fans. I had little desire to see it. The temptation was too much and great reviews around town changed my mind. I laughed out loud many, many times, I was doubled over with laughter a couple of times…the whole concept was so ludicrous and so well done I highly recommend people see this film. It’s scary that I know people like this. Destined to be an underground metal classic like Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Just fucken give ‘er!