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Winnebago Man (2009)
If you liked Anvil, you're gonna LOVE this
Just came back from an advance screening by the Cinefamily in Los Angeles. Don't take it lightly when I state this is one of the best documentaries in recent years. It's the portrait of a man known to many simply as "The Angriest Man in the World," and it's a story of redemption, humanity, and oddly enough, an examination of comedy - what we're laughing at and how it affects those that become the object of our amusement.
It's best to simply know the premise and little else going in. Jack Rebney was the star of a viral video titled "Winnebago Man" before there even were such things. His profane tirades were passed around from VHS to VHS for years and are now readily available on YouTube. Documentary filmmaker Ben Steinbauer took it upon himself to find Ben, who was essentially living off the grid, and find him he does. What unfolds is at first funny and fascinating and eventually profound. It's easy to dismiss those in the videos you email back and forth each day, but "Winnebago Man" shows that there might be a compelling story there, and it might not be what you think.
Over the course of the film, Jack more than redeems himself, and his journey becomes our own. This isn't a film where we're made to feel bad about our actions or even feel bad for Jack. It merely asks us to think about the things we do and what they mean to those around us. And if something that we disregard as trivial becomes much more to others, was it ever so trivial to begin with? Should we embrace that? This is just one layer in a movie that is alternately hysterical, sad, and ultimately hopeful. Above all it is humane. I'm not sure who's distributing it or when, but I can't imagine someone walking away from the movie without a smile on their face.
That is, of course, unless you're easily offended by profanity.