Movie Review: Winnebago Man
Release Date: October 28th @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
Rated 14A for coarse language
Running time: 86 minutes
Ben Steinbauer (dir.)
Ben Steinbauer (writer)
Malcolm Pullinger (writer)
Jack Rebney as Himself
Ben Steinbauer as Himself
Our reviews below:
Winnebago Man Review By John C.
*** (out of 4)
When Jack Rebney was filming a 1988 promotional video for Winnebago recreational vehicles, he lost his cool numerous times during the sweltering hot shoot, all the while swearing and cursing at the young crew. The outtakes of the video surfaced, and went on to become an internet phenomenon. Winnebago Man is the fascinating story of director Ben Steinbauer’s journey to track down and uncover the real Rebney, who was dubbed by one internet commenter as “the angriest man in the world.”
We know Steinbauer will succeed in his mission from the opening scene, but layers are added to the story as we start to understand the man behind the outbursts. Jack Rebney is the perfect subject for a documentary, even when he is just warning us about Dick Cheney. To him swearing is an art, and he’s charmingly grumpy in front of the camera, regardless of whether or not he’s truly angry.
Although the film does feel a little top-heavy in the first half, this is a thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking exposé on the YouTube generation. It poses questions about our obsession with watching others’ mistakes, but most importantly shows us the human side of an internet icon.
Winnebago Man is a crowd-pleasing and often touching documentary that is worth seeking out.
Winnebago Man Review By Erin V.
***1/2 (out of 4)
For years, a clip had been passed around by those in the know – the clip of the ‘Winnebago Man.’ By the time director Ben Steinbauer got a copy of an old VHS copy, it was practically worn out – the tape jumping and the audio staticky. Astounded to find out that he was not the only one fascinated by this man caught on tape, he went out to find the Winnebago Man in person, aka, Jack Rebney. With the advent of YouTube in 2005, suddenly, like so many other people’s private moments, ‘what started as a bad day, became an internet phenomenon.’
Most people watching this doc will have seen the video it’s about beforehand, (hardly ever using YouTube), I however had not. Until the trailer for this film was released, I was unaware of this internet-famous video of the so-called ‘angriest man in the world.’
The fascinating thing about this documentary is the fact that it really shows a human side of those behind a viral video such as this one. These are real people with real stories. Winnebago Man plays very well as a film, a fine example of how with an interesting story and captivating subjects, we can excuse less than Hollywood level camera quality.
Paced well in it’s 86 minutes, if you get a chance, go see this entertaining doc – it’s worth it.
Winnebago Man Review By Nicole
*** (out of 4)
A little over 20 years ago, outtakes from a Winnebago camping commercial got leaked out. They featured a frustrated salesman who swore like a sailor and complained about the heat, the bugs, etc. Once YouTube was invented. the “Winnebago Man” videos went viral. But who was “the Winnebago Man?” And what became of him? Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer decides to track down the elusive man himself. It turns out that he is Jack Rebney, an eccentric but likable character who lives on a California mountain with his dog Buddha. While Jack still uses colourful language, he is more opinionated than angry, possessing a quirky sense of humour. Though reluctant at first, Jack agrees to attend the Found Footage Film Festival, much to the delight of his fans.
Winnebago Man is a funny and charming documentary. Every moment is interesting, pointing out that you can’t judge a person by one embarrassing moment in his or her life. The message is more important than ever, considering the recent cyber-bullying cases in the USA. If you can handle the rough language, Winnebago Man is a must-see documentary.
Winnebago Man Review By Maureen
*** (out of 4)
Jack Rebney, “Winnebago Man,” “angriest man in the world.” For over twenty years people have been watching on video and then YouTube a Winnebago sales rep. who uses very entertaining and colourful language while trying to shoot a Winnebago promotional segment. For over twenty years people have been asking, “who is this guy?” and “where is he now?” Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer asked himself the same questions. The result? The highly entertaining and often touching documentary – Winnebago Man.
It turns out that finding Jack Rebney wasn’t easy. Steinbauer finally tracks him down to a remote California mountain fishing resort. The man he finds surprises him. By now Rebbney is 80-ish and losing his sight. All these years Rebney was oblivious to the fact that people even gave a damn about his long-forgotten promotional video.
The charm of this documentary is Jack Rebney himself. This is a wonderful and often charming portrait of an intelligent, aging, unintended celebrity. Rebney’s sense of humour, sharp tongue and sharper observations about society and its obsession with YouTube are interesting to watch.
Aside from being a glimpse into the life of Jack Rebney, Winnebago Man is a good social commentary on the pros and cons of YouTube and other internet videos. Check this one out even if you have never heard of Winnebago Man. Just be aware, it contains lots of colourful language. It’s also touching and entertaining.
Winnebago Man Review By Tony
*** (out of 4)
Winnebago Man Jack Rebney was enjoyed by many viewers since the 80s of one of the first viral videos, copied and spread on VHS tape for years before popping up on YouTube. Consisting of outtakes from a series of promotional training videos for RV sales staff, it shows Jack in one frustrating situation after another, all met with outbursts of foul language that many have found cathartic in their own dark moments.
Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer explores the impact of viral videos on the public and particularly on their subjects, who are often traumatized by instant celebrity or notoriety. As a featured subject, Rebney was particularly elusive, requiring the aid of a P.I. to track him to his isolated home, and he proved to be full of surprises that carry the film through a length of about an hour and a half to a touching conclusion.
Consensus: Winnebago Man is an interesting look at director Ben Steinbauer’s journey to expose the human side of internet icon Jack Rebney. This very entertaining and touching documentary is one worth seeking out. *** (Out of 4)