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FUBAR is a 2002 mockumentary film, directed by Michael Dowse, based on the lives of two lifelong friends and head-bangers living out their lives, constantly drinking beer. FUBAR debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in the 'Park City at Midnight' category, which previously launched such films as The Blair Witch Project. Since its release, it has gained critical acclaim and a cult status in North America, but especially within Western Canada. It was both filmed and set in Alberta, particularly in and around Calgary.

Directed byMichael Dowse
Produced byMichael Dowse
David Lawrence
Paul Spence
Melanie Owen
Marguerite Pigott
Mark Slone
Written byMichael Dowse
David Lawrence
Paul Spence
StarringDavid Lawrence
Paul Spence
Gordon Skilling
Music byEnglish Teeth[1]
Paul J. Spence
CinematographyMichael Dowse
Distributed byOdeon Films
Release date
  • May 24, 2002 (2002-05-24)
Running time
76 minutes
Budget$400,000 CAD (estimated)

It was filmed entirely with digital cinematography, on a shoestring budget that required many involved with the project to max out their credit cards in order to complete the movie (according to an interview on their official website). Many of the people featured in the movie (including the fist-fighters) were bystanders who thought that the filmmakers were shooting a documentary on the common man.

FUBAR features characters partly based on a comedy routine performed by David Lawrence and Paul Spence that they developed based on the head-banger subculture. Lawrence, Spence, and Dr. S.C. Lim also appear in Dowse's It's All Gone Pete Tong. (Dr. Lim plays himself in FUBAR as Dean's doctor. Lim actually is Dowse's personal physician in real life.) The characters of Terry and Dean were later seen again, featured in the Michael Dowse-directed music video "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism" by The New Pornographers.


This is the story of two lifelong friends, Terry (David Lawrence) and Dean (Paul Spence), who have grown up together: Shotgunning their first beers, forming their first garage band, and growing the great Canadian mullet known as "Hockey Hair". The lives of these Alberta everymen are brought to the big screen by documentarian Farrel Mitchner (Gordon Skilling), a young director who decides to take a look at Terry and Dean through a lens, exploring the depths of friendship, the fragility of life, growing up gracefully, and the art and science of drinking beer "like a man".

Their lives are complicated by a snubbing by their "party leader" Troy, better known as Tron (Andrew Sparacino). When Farrel discovers that Dean is hiding a serious case of testicular cancer, the wheels are set in motion for Dean to seek treatment from Dr. S.C. Lim (Dr. S.C. Lim). With Dean's last weekend before surgery approaching, Terry decides to take Dean, Farrel and the film crew camping. Things take an unexpected turn by the third day, and Terry and Dean must cope with further tragedy.[2]


Role Actor
Farrel Mitchner Gordon Skilling
Trixie Anderson Tracey Lawrence
Chastity Murdoch Sage Lawrence
Dr. S.C. Lim Dr. S.C. Lim
Ron Miller Jim Lawrence
Troy (Tron) McRae Andrew Sparacino
Laurie D'Amour Laurie D'Amour
Fist Fighter #1 Cameron Swirka
Fist Fighter #2 Peter N. Cipriano


A sound track album FUBAR: The Album, was released in 2003.[3]


Brandon Ryan reported in April 2009 that funding had been secured for a sequel film.[4] FUBAR 2 was filmed in Edmonton, Alberta.[5] Director Michael Dowse reported that the plot involves Terry and Dean moving to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Once again the dialogue is heavily improvised, and the budget is "a lot more" than the first film.[6] The sequel premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 9, and was released throughout Canada on October 1.

Television seriesEdit

On February 10, 2017 Rogers Media and VICE Studios Canada announced an eight-episode television series based on the films to air on Viceland later that year. The show will see Lawrence and Spencer reprise their roles with Dowse returning to direct.[7]


FUBAR received generally mixed reviews, with a 58% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on a dozen reviews.[8]


  1. ^ Maimann, Kevin (May 7, 2010). "Gruesome tunesome", Edmonton Sun
  2. ^ Slone, M. & Michael Ladano: Story Synopsis (first paragraph) written by Mark Slone. Story Synopsis (second paragraph) written by Michael A. Ladano
  3. ^ Fubar: The Album an AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason
  4. ^ Barney's Version, Fubar sequel get Cancon movie funding
  5. ^ 'Fubar' sequel ready to rock
  6. ^ 'Fubar' director Michael Dowse dives into TV with black comedy, 'The Foundation' Archived 2014-05-05 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ David, Greg (February 10, 2017). "Vice Studio Canada and Rogers Media announce start of production on FUBAR". TV,eh?. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "FUBAR on Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved October 24, 2019.

External linksEdit