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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Winnebago Man (2010)


Now, all who’s left to find is that damn Star Wars Kid.

Although it was originally intended as an inside joke among co-workers, a video of a Winnebago salesman yelling, screaming, and cursing during a shooting for his new commercial spread across the globe like wild-fire. First, it was on VHS tape, then went straight to YouTube, and finally, the whole world. All of this notorious fame earned Jack Rebney the title of “The Angriest Man in the World”. The documentary explores the story of the clip’s origin and how, two decades later, it affects the man who never even knew it existed.

Before I get into this review, you got to know what you’re getting yourself into. If you have never, ever seen the “Winnebago Man” video, ever, then get your ass on over to Youtube, check it out, laugh your ass off, and get back over here.

Back yet?

Okay, solid stuff. Now that you know what all of the fuss is about, I can finally delve deeper into what this documentary really explores.

To be brutally honest, I thought that video was pretty funny back in the day. You know, because it’s all about a simple guy, who’s probably been having the worst day of his life, screams, curses, swats at flies, tries to figure out what the hell the word “accountrement” means, and just yells at every single person who dares walk into his wrath. That stuff was hilarious when I was in 5th grade, when it first came out, but now I’ll just watch it, laugh from time-to-time and that’s just about it. However, this director Ben Steinbauer, really found this stuff not only to be funny, but almost life-changing in a way and it’s surprising to see a guy get over-taken with so much joy and inspiration, by a guy who just drops F-bombs the whole video. But I have to give it to this guy, because he really goes all out in trying to find this Jack Rebney, and even if I wasn’t totally on-board with finding this guy; I have to say that it was a pretty interesting ride in and of itself.

Still makes that face from time-to-time.

Don’t laugh! You’d have that face too if some little piece of shit fly flew into your face on an extremely, fucking hot day during the fucking, hot-ass summer! Fuck!!

That’s actually where the whole charm of this movie comes into play: through Jack Rebney himself. This is one of those behind-the-scenes, insider-looks at a guy that everybody knows, loves, laughs at, and wants to meet, but hasn’t been seen ever since this video first came on the Y-tube. It’s interesting to see where this guy went, how he looks at the world, what he thinks of the term “internet celebrity”, and also see if this guy really is THAT pissed off all of the damn time. And it’s surprising to see, but yes, this guy really is as miserable in real life as we see him in that video. He’s cranky, he’s old, he’s pissed off at everybody around him for no good reason, but he’s not all that bad of a dude.

I was pretty interested in seeing what was going on with this guy behind those closed doors, but it wasn’t like I was asking for a documentary about this. Then again, what I got to see of Rebney was pretty cool because this guy is somehow able to be a total old fart, with all of his curses and insults, but still be able to be loved by over 50 Y-tube lovers in a room and probably more all over the world. What’s even crazier is that Rebney doesn’t change his personality once and it’s a surprise to see a guy that can be such a miserable git at some points, still have the love and adoration from millions and millions of people all over the globe. Not everything Rebney says is funny, that’s for sure, but when he is pissed off for no reason, it makes you chuckle here and there. Plus, by the end, when you actually see him confront his “internet celebrity” status, it’s actually pretty interesting to see since the guy has pretty much locked himself away from the world for the past 30 years. Wasn’t really begging to see where this guy went with his life and how he was doing, but it’s pretty cool to see what actually does happen to a normal dude that just so happened to be in the right mood, at the right time, at the right place, and in front of the right camera.

However, once you get past Rebney, you start to realize that there isn’t really anything else to this flick other than seeing what happened to one of the first V-list celebrities. Granted, it’s pretty cool to see where Rebney is mentally and physically in life, but we never get to know much about him other than he used to be a writer for CBS and left on his own terms. That stuff actually was interesting, but the film never dives deep into that probably cause this director seemed like he was too afraid to go for the hard and heavy line-of-questioning. He sort of just lets Rebney rant and rave throughout the whole film, which is fine because that’s who he is, but I kind of wanted to know what makes this guy tick (pretty much everything), and just more about him in general. Maybe there was TOO much love and adoration on Steinbauer’s part. Just maybe.

"You eye-ballin' me, little director boy?

“You eye-ballin’ me, little director boy?

Also, I couldn’t help but think that this documentary is a bit mean-spirited in some of its own ways. Think about it for a second: you’re alone, happy in your life of solitude, free to do whatever you want, have the world all to yourself, have your own little doggy to keep you company, own rifles for protection, and just no real bother from the outside world. Sounds pretty ideal, right? Well, it was for Rebney, who seemed pretty effin’ glad to be living the way he was. That is until Mr. Director had to bring his simple-minded ass up there and bother the poor, old guy. I get that this kid wants to meet “his inspiration for life” and will stop at nothing to do so, but really; think about what that guy wants. I highly doubt Rebney wanted anybody bothering him in his peaceful life, and it’s kind of rude when you think about how this director just walks himself into poor Rebney’s life, without Rebney able to stick up for himself and tell him to beat it. Poor Jack Rebney. I just hope that he’s feeling free and relaxing on his own terms now. Just hope he stays the eff away from that little punk, Ben Steinbauer!

Consensus: Winnebago Man is the type of documentary that’s interesting because of what the human-mind wants to, and must know in order to feel some sort of relief after laughing at this poor, old guy after all of these years. However, it doesn’t seem to go any further other than the fact that dude’s just a slightly-senile, cranky person that wants to be left alone, and probably should have been for the sake of his own health.

6.5 / 10 = Rental!!

"Blacks and whites should continue to be segregated. Wait what? They aren't?"

“Blacks and whites should continue to be segregated. Wait what? They aren’t?”

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14 responses to “Winnebago Man (2010)

  1. Nick Powell May 16, 2013 at 5:03 am

    The movie confuses me. I like some of the insight and the hunt for the man, but when we find him, he’s a bit disturbed and not there. You feel sorry for him and wonder if the filmmakers are taking advantage of the situation, as opposed to genuinely caring about the guy. Still worth watching though. I agree it’s just a rental (I caught it on Netflix).

    • CMrok93 May 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      It’s worth a watch if you want to see where this guy has ended up with his life, but the filmmakers are a bit dick-ish in their pursuits.

  2. David Baruffi May 16, 2013 at 6:05 am

    You know, I disagree with both of you on that, and if anything, I thought the filmmaker was way more hesitant to show Rebney’s extreme side than Rebney was. Yeah, he was getting sicker and sicker, but the filmmaker was also trying to talk him out of saying all the Cheney stuff, and when he finally found him the first time, and Rebney put on the old man act, he would be content to leave it at that, then Rebney calls him! It’s starts out as the search for the obscure man, but I liked how it became about him, and I didn’t it wonder at all if the filmmakers were taking advantage him, if anything, like I said, I thought the opposite. It was nice to find out, that this cult figure, was in fact, not just having a bad day, on a shoot he didn’t want to do, but was also an old, opinionated curmudgeon, who’s pissed off the footage got out. I thought it was, just a good documentary, about an interesting character, and I thought it way better than both of you are giving credit for. I’d love to watch that film again if it was on.

  3. keith7198 May 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I forgot about this movie! Never seen it. Solid review and it gets me curious despite the films flaws.

  4. Alex Withrow May 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Yep, I’m in full agreement with this review. I thought the idea for Winnebago Man was a good one, but once they found him, the movie more or less went no where.

  5. brikhaus May 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Hilarious movie, and fantastic documentary. It’s one of my favorites of the genre. The movie is certainly odd once they find him, but we learn he was a real person, so it was definitely worthwhile.

  6. Nostra May 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I really liked this documentary and thought it was very interesting. I think Mr. Director was contacted himself as Rebney saw that he had an outlet for his thoughts and hoped it would give him a bigger platform.

  7. filmhipster May 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    This movie cracked me up! The guy was just so wacked out!

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