Bizarro Masterpiece Theatre: Fubar 2

Film: Fubar 2 (2010)

Director: Michael Dowse

Starring: Dave Lawrence, Paul J. Spence, Andy Sparacino

Written by: Dave Lawrence, Paul J. Spence, Michael Dowse

 

My favorite Canadian hosers of all time are back!  (Sorry, Rowsdower.)  The successor to the great Fubar reunites the world with Terry and Deaner, the Beavis and Butt-head of the Great White North.  Their noble philosophy of partying their asses off and givin’r has not waned in the long years between the first film and the second, though the sequel does lead toward a resolution of sorts.

There is something confusing about this film.  The first Fubar was presented as a faux-documentary in which the filmmaker died after performing the wussiest bellyflop in human history.  I’m not sure if Fubar 2 is meant to be the same breed of Spinal Tap or not.  Occasionally people speak to the camera, and their names are listed on-screen, but more often than not people act as though the camera is not there.  There’s definitely no evidence of a camera crew.  More disturbing, when the dead filmmaker pulls a Jacob Marley and appears before Deaner in a Christmas vision, it’s caught on tape.  So if Fubar 2 is meant to be a documentary, it’s one that has evidence of the afterlife – which may or may not be more important than the misadventures of two rowdy Canucks.

The worst part of Fubar 2 is that Terry sells out for poontang.  Here’s another thing I don’t get about the movie: he starts hooking up with a burly strip club bouncer who quickly becomes a shrieking, gold-digging shrew who screws around on him and gets pregnant with somebody else’s kid, but all of a sudden Christmas comes and she becomes a saint.  There’s no transition in this; one minute she’s a bitch and the next she’s a sweetheart.  Sadly, Terry puts up with it.

The best part of Fubar 2 is Tron, the whipped pal of Terry and Deaner’s from Fubar who flew off the wagon, ditched his bitch, and resumed his responsibilities as a one-man wrecking crew.  He’s kind of a turd when Terry and Deaner come around his work buddies, but by and large the man does not screw around.  The film’s opening scene shows Tron storming onto the scene by running over a tree with his truck, after which he has a rap attack and demolishes Stately Terry and Deaner Manor with a chainsaw.  His slow decline into a drug-fueled depression over the story’s progress only makes him more awesome.  Tron funkin’ rules.

Deaner is as sage as always, dispensing Socratic pearls of wisdom such as “Knowledge of non-knowledge is power.”  He also sings a wicked cover of Boston.

While it doesn’t eclipse the first film, Fubar 2 is pretty goddamn epic.

The Designer’s Drugs: Memory Tapes/Handsome Furs

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Memory Tapes – Player Piano

Anno: 2011

 

When jerkwad music journalists like me use the word “ethereal” to describe a work, they usually mean one of two things: the music is a near-ambient sound collage that aims for pixielike and adorable, or the singer is drugged to hell and babbling inane or incomprehensible lyrics.  Memory Tapes is an example of the first school of ethereal, though Player Piano gets a bit too motivated in places to be completely described as fly on the wall.  There are a lot of precious electronic-driven instrumentals on this album coupled with earnest smurf pop tunes, and all of it adds up to one simple message: hug us.

The instrumentals are generally better than the vocal tracks, but one lyrical track stands out as the album’s best work.  “Offers” is a moody and seductive song full of empty hallway vocals, bleeding synthetic squeaks, and some really pretty keyboards at its core.  While there’s not much on Player Piano that I’d call memorable, “Offers” is a fairly arresting piece of work.

 

 

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital

Anno: 2011

 

Though it could be called a few different things, one thing Sound Kapital is not is a slick album.  The keyboards which overpopulate what is ultimately a rock album sound like they were purchased at a rummage sale, and the tones they create for the album are so rough and abrasive that they dominate every song.  The vocals and beats are rendered incredibly secondary.

That said, Sound Kapital is a pretty sterling example of bargain basement electronica.  Sure, there are tracks like “When I Get Back,” which is one more example of the recent crop of drawling hippie electropop, and “Bury Me Standing” sounds too much like a teched-up Billy Idol song to be taken as anything but silly.  But there are good tracks like “What About Us,” which blares its Nintendo dancefloor to maximum effect, as well as the glittering, pulsating “Memories of the Future.”

On this album, Handsome Furs sounds highly competent, but its caustic lo-fi orchestration does seem to render this work as strictly for old school tech geeks.