Winnebago Man (2009) Poster

(2009)

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10/10
If you liked Anvil, you're gonna LOVE this
rduke727 June 2009
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.

Highly recommended.
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10/10
Incredibly Touching And Entertaining Documentary
aerodc7 February 2011
Winnebago Man is a hands-down great film. For documentary lovers, this is a true winner. It has a great subject, and the emerging story was excellent. It's amazing what an interesting person Jack Rebney is and how much he represents. In a day and age of technology, how does one address the situation of Internet fame (for better or worse)? This film is a great testament to human nature.

Winnebago Man had me literally laughing out loud and also had me holding back tears. Sometimes even just listening to Rebney talk is funny in its own regard. Other moments were touching in how they represented the up and down nature of life.

I think you'd have to be stone-hearted to not enjoy Winnebago Man.
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8/10
Jack Rebney shines, I wish I could have heard more of what he had to say!
Hellmant22 November 2010
'WINNEBAGO MAN': Four Stars (Out of Five)

A documentary exploring 'viral stardom' (sudden internet fame by accident) focusing on one man, Jack Rebney, and how it's affected his life. The film is co-written and directed by documentary filmmaker Ben Steinbauer, in his feature film debut. Steinbauer's past experience has been in the camera department on other films and he's directed two short films as well. He sets out, with no real plan, to find this man, Rebney, who was made famous by the internet in hopes of finding out who he really is and how he feels about his 'youtube' fame. Once he finds him he sort of aimlessly records video of him in an attempt to get him to open up to the camera, desperately hoping there's a story worth telling.

Rebney is a former CBS news broadcaster who quit when he got fed up with what he believes was the decay of the network. He later took a job on an RV commercial for Winnebago and was fired after a video of him circulated to his employers, by angry co-workers, of him constantly becoming frustrated on the shoot and swearing repeatedly in colorful ways. Copied VHS tapes of the video circulated to the public and Rebney became notorious for them, which later made their way onto the internet, specifically youtube, and made Rebney a star infamously known as the 'Winnebago Man' and 'The Angriest Man in the World.' When Steinbauer finds Rebney he's calm and living a peaceful life in a secluded mountain home in California. Steinbauer leaves and after some time passes Rebney begins contacting him and admits to putting on a show for him and is actually upset about the youtube video. When the director returns he finds Rebney blind and wanting to leave the world with a better reputation and has a lot to say.

The film is extremely funny as well as touching, a tearjerker in ways. Jack Rebney is a fascinating and lovable character who is extremely intelligent, honest and full of colorful dialog. When he really has something important to say he's often cut off by the director though who says no one wants to hear it (I wanted to hear it though and I'm sure others would as well). Steinbauer insists that he needs to open up more and talk about himself when in fact anything he has to say is interesting and entertaining. The film works despite it's flaws because of Jack Rebney and his performance. It could have been so much more though at the hands of a more talented director.

Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ntCQhhQwsc
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9/10
Outstanding Doc Meshes Insight and Humor
peterchanson8 June 2009
For many years, I've been entertained by the video I know as "The Angriest Man in the World," featuring a frustrated Winnebago salesman melting down during the hot summertime shoot for a promotional film. Originally distributed via VHS swaps and later disseminated on YouTube, the video comprising obscenity-laden out-takes is filled with quotable dialogue and deliriously funny meltdowns. When I had the pleasure of catching this doc about the video and its star during a sneak last night in LA, I expected little more than a quick and pithy revelation of the man behind the mad. However I was thrilled to discover a thoughtful, provocative, and even quite moving study of what it means to become an unintentional celebrity. The narrative surprises of this film are better discovered than discussed, but suffice it to say that Ben Steinbauer's utterly compelling and utterly hilarious doc should shoot to the top of your must- see list if it hits a festival near you. And while the movie provides unadulterated joy for those who have already joined the cult of Jack Rebney -- the Winnebago Man himself -- I'm confident that anyone interested in serious explorations of pop culture will be fascinated.
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4/10
Wasted opportunity
c131a10 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Well if you are reading this, I am assuming that you already know what the documentary is about, so I will not cliff the storyline for you here.......... It's a great setup for a documentary, angry old guy, internet sensation, has a sort of cult following etc but the filmmakers let it all go to waste.

After getting lucky and be actually able to find and reach this guy, they simply do not let him talk. It seems like all they wanted him to do was do the same thing he did on those infamous tapes, what's the point of that?....... You do not get to know the man through this documentary at all, not sure why this film is praised so much, certainly tricked me into watching it that's for sure.

At one point the filmmakers wanted him to talk about his childhood and life and such and he informs them that he would rather talk about his political beliefs and why this country is going to hell and such and they simply stop the interview. Yes you read that right; they simply stop the interview and end it right then and there. Are you kidding me? Think of all the gems of wisdom we missed, all his wacky political theories, maybe some conspiracy theories, all lost in time now, never to be found again. By doing that the filmmakers simply gave us an extended "where are they now" sort of update. Hey say your catchphrase again for the audience; hey announce our radio station in a 2 second sound bite sort of thing. You do not need a documentary for that.

The filmmakers should be ashamed of themselves for this wasted opportunity and lapse of judgment and turning this into a childish hehehehe session. What a letdown.
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9/10
Can't you make your mind work?
StevePulaski13 May 2011
Some people see documentaries as pointless and boring films that just collect information about a topic "no one cares about." Totally not the case, especially with Winnebago Man. It is easily one of most entertaining documentaries I've seen and probably focuses on one of the quirkiest topics a film in this genre has ever touched on.

For those unfamiliar, "The Winnebgo Man" is a video from the late eighties that was passes around from VHS tape to VHS tape like a virus. The video consisted of a man, presumably in late forties or early fifties, named Jack Rebney swearing between cuts and takes off a commercial him and his crew were shooting over the course of two weeks. Normally, once a take is shot and something fails in the middle of the take, the camera immediately stops rolling. The crew decided they couldn't hit stop just when Jack Rebney messed up and decided to keep the camera rolling just a tad bit longer.

The lines Rebney drops make me laugh just thinking about them. Quotes like "Will you do me a kindness?" "Don't slam the f**king door...no more!" "God, I can't f**king make my mind work!" and "The acutrama that you will need, ACUTRAMA? What is that s**t?" are all just little tastes of the rage Rebney delivers in the four and a half minute clip. In 2005, a video sharing site named "Youtube" opened and the video as uploaded to the site currently boasting over six million views.

The real question was, what happened to Jack? Ben Steinbauer, the filmmaker responsible for this film, is hellbent on trying to answer that question. He calls in a private investigator to try and track down Rebney in hopes that he can answer one of his hundreds of questions. At first, it seems like a lost cause. He has no voting registration, no social networking accounts, and the Winnebago company stated after firing him for verbal abuse to employees they heard nothing from him and they didn't want too.

Ben finally finds Jack on a remote mountain in Northern California living a secluded lifestyle and being "a hermit" as he refers to himself. He has a a dog, he is going blind, and has a George Carlin/everybody's crabby grandpa type attitude towards everything. He is now seventy-eight years old and has published a book called Jousting With the Myth.

Ben is such a fan of "The Winnebago Man" clip that he shockingly did this out of the goodness of pure groupie curiosity. He is a likable guy and even goes into a detailed background about his obsession with the video saying how if he had a bad day at work he'd pop in the tape and also explain how he showed it to his grandmother and his dates.

Winnebago Man was included in a ten pack of Dvds my uncle purchased from the Found Footage Festival, a festival that two average joes named Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher put together showing random clips from VHS tapes they got from garage sales, thrift stores, etc. At the end of the film, Ben convinces Jack to make an appearance at the festival because the two men think of Jack like a movie star.

Being at the festival lands the brightest part of the film; Jack interacting with the fans he thought he never had. The boys ask him "What is an acutrama?" to spice things up. While the actual definition is an add on for something, Jack explains that he didn't know whether it was pronounced "acutrama" or "acutramaw." But he then goes onto say "When you're in Iowa, in a forrest, and it's 100 degrees it's f**king acutrama!" Starring: Ben Steinbauer and Jack Rebney. Directed by: Ben Steinbauer.
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10/10
Hilarious, Fascinating, Poignant -- As Great As "Anvil!"
timerrill8 June 2009
Alright, here we go: this is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen, on any subject. It's not only for members of the Cult of Rebney (in case you live under a g--damn rock, I'm talking about Jack Rebney: the Winnebago Man, the Angriest Man in the World, the original viral video star, and the greatest swearer who ever lived).

The film has comedy: Rebney is one of the great crotchety old men of all time.

It has mystery: who is this monumental man, where does he live, what's the deal with his anger, what the f--k is this thing?

It has commentary: most Americans have "room-temperature IQs," the Ford Fiesta (or is it Festiva?) is a great car, and Bush-Cheney-Rumseld-Rove all deserve hot pokers up their a--es.

It also has flies, towels, windshields, seat belts, yelling, doors slamming, s--t hitting the fan, all types of "accoutrama"...and, last but not least, Tony! (If you have no clue what any of this means, go to YouTube and search "winnebago man.")

See this film ASAP, ya g--damn jackass. Or you can put it up your fern, if you want to.

NO MORE!
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3/10
So much promise
hammer_thyme16 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
One of the few documentaries that I have been waiting for since the internet first introduced me to Jack Rebney. After seeing a trailer for the film i like most people couldn't wait to catch a glimpse of the film in its entirety. It starts off perfectly introducing us to the clips that made this man so famous. Then without warning it tanks and just keeps getting worse and worse. Not only does this filmmaker have no idea what he's doing but he actually came close to ruining Jack for me. With no clear direction, rhyme, or reason it becomes 90 minutes of garbage. Every single time I start to get interested in what Jack is about to say he is cut off and asked stupid questions no one wants to hear the answer to. I almost wish this Documentary had never been made well lets not go that far. I wish this Documentary had been made by anybody else then Mr. Steinbauer who has a knack for taking a good thing and just absolutely turning it into a pile of steaming ****. If i owned a time machine i would go back in time not to assassinate Hitler or save the world in anyway, but to make this Documentary myself for the rest of my life i will be wondering what Jack really had to say. His world views and his solutions to the problems we face today instead I have been left even more confused about the Man from the Winnebago commercials then i was from the outtakes. I would never normally trash a film to such degree but i hope all proceeds go to cure Jack glaucoma so he can see Ben well enough to punch him in the mouth for turning what could have been one of the greatest documentaries ever into a joke. With no information learned from this entire project I am amazed this film made it off the cutting room floor. Next time you want to make a Documentary Ben take my advice and produce it and nothing else, don't be on film, don't direct, and don't ruin anything else for me.
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5/10
Don't forget to leave your brain at the door
angry1278 November 2010
This film petered off about 30 minutes into it. That isn't the worst thing about the movie. That would have to be the Director of the movie. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

This film begins like most documentaries, by giving some context. We are given a short history of Viral Videos and a little info about the Director's experience's watching the Winnebago Man in his youth. This was all very interesting and put together in a not glorious, but sustainable fashion. The Director spends some time looking into how to get in touch with the Winnebago Man, and is unsuccessful at first. We do get to meet the crew which was around during the shoot, which is probably the best part of the movie. Later we see the Winnebago Man and he gives a dishonest view of his opinion of his fame.

Its at this point the film heads south. We are treated to another hour of psycho babble (and drama) about the Winnebago Man by the Director. The worst part is the way it is so transparent the Director is trying to use his subject to help out the film instead of trying to document the Winnebago Man as he is. Its kind of funny that he mentions that he taught a class in Austin (which would explain the lack of good films from there).

The climax of the film is the Winnebago Man speaking at some "hip" SF show, which shows viral videos. I'm guessing nobody told any of these hipsters about Youtube, as they watch reruns from "America's Funniest Home Videos." At this point the Winnebago Man and his gay counterpart (a character I willfully forgot to mention), go and get some wine from some chic bar and the film shortly ends afterward.

This film isn't terrible, its just not very good. The way the Director forces himself into scenes and acts dishonestly towards the audience leaves one with a sense of discomfort. It would have helped if the Director looked at more accomplished film makers like Werner Herzog and tried to make the film in that same vein. Instead we are treated with 90 minutes which gives little more satisfaction than watching a 1 minute viral video.
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3/10
Completely incompetent documentary about an interesting man
Skullbussa31 October 2010
This documentary is worth watching due to the vigor and articulate nature of the subject, Jack Rebney. My recommendation for viewing comes despite the clumsy efforts of the filmmaker, not because of them.

Director Steinbauer's exploitation of his subject crosses the line in such vulgar ways that it reminds me of Tod Browning's "Freaks". Mr. Rebney clearly is lonely, despite his solitary endeavors, and wants to share his mind with others. While Jack's opinions may or may not fit in with whatever narrative Steinbauer's trying to construct, to filter them out of the film is disgraceful and disrespectful to Mr. Rebney.

The director is an amateur. He has absolutely no idea how to harness Mr. Rebney's energy nor how to let the man tell his story without ham-fisted direct questioning in front of a camera.

I firmly believe that the vast majority of the accolades put upon this film are born out of good-will towards Mr. Rebney and not because of the artistic merit of this documentary.
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5/10
Doesn't do Jack a kindness
hte-trasme31 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The concept for this documentary was intriguing and filled with promise, and the piece of film that inspired it was not only very funny but mysteriously appealing beneath its surface. While we watch Jack Rebney the RV salesman, we simultaneously feel on the one hand that he sounds like a an angry, overbearing, foul-mouthed, pompous blowhard -- and on the other hand we feel for him being trapped in a horrible, humiliating situation, and appreciate him for colorfully expressing the mountainous frustration that we come to feel along with him.

With this documentary, history repeats itself. Jack is placed in just as frustrating a situation, and is just as eloquently, extraordinarily, literately uncouth about it. And that makes it an entertaining film -- inadvertently. In the end, "Winnebago Man" is not a deliberate success, but it's ironically a mesmerizing vehicle for the strangely interesting man that Jack Rebney is in the same way as the corny Winnebago ad that inspired it. And you get the sense that Ben Steinbauer is rightly as irritating to Jack as Tony, the hundred-degree heat, and the flies were in 1989.

Steinbauer wants to find the man in the video and make a film about him, but despite this he seems to make no effort to understand him. In fact, he almost seems determined not to understand him. Jack is a literate, opinionated man who wants to express his views about the world. Steinbauer says Jack sent him columns and the draft of a book, but doesn't say anything that even suggests he read them. He says he wants to understand Jack, but asks him quests he specifically doesn't want to answer, and ignored he organic attempts to talk. I can't help but think that more would have been achieved by letting the cameras roll as the subject was allowed to relax and speak his mind. Instead Steinbauer condescendingly tries to drive him to town so that he can buy a video camera (which, owning a computer, I expect he could have already acquired if he wanted it) to post on YouTube (a medium he hates).

In the end, there are some moments that consist mostly of what Steinbauer has filmed occurring at a live stage event, and Rebney does get to speak his mind rather insightfully if briefly about the appeal of the video itself.

Some points have to be awarded for this being an entertaining film -- but the only credit the filmmaker gets for that is for physically finding an entertaining subject and owning a video camera. His lack of curiosity about the man he finds seems to miss the entire point of this kind of film.
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10/10
Gem of a movie, gem of a character
sparklefur1 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I just saw Winnebago Man at the Traverse City Film Festival. It was ironic because I originally had the same attitude as Jack has in the movie: why the heck would I want to watch a movie about some guy swearing on RV commercial outtakes? It's amusing but not really my idea of comedy I'd want to spend money on, so I almost didn't purchase a ticket. I decided to take a chance on it anyway, rarely has the TCFF steered us wrong (*cough* soccer *cough*) and I'm really glad I did! This movie, and it's main character Jack Rebney, is both funny and deeply philosophical. This is one of those films (and real-life characters) that you want to watch several times to pick up on all the layers. Not only is Jack Rebney the greatest swearer of all time, but he's also smart, sharp witted, annoying, and endearing all rolled into one man. I hope that a publisher does pick up his book, It would really be interesting to read an entire book of his thoughts, even better to have the book on audio read by him. Anyway, this movie is highly recommended, you won't be disappointed!
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8/10
One Man's Human Condition...A Shot Heard Around The World
AudioFileZ30 October 2010
Ben Steinbauer's documentary about Jack Rebney is an interesting and entertaining piece of filmmaking. I realize there is a huge sub-culture of "YouTube junkies" mind-boggling in diversity and size. Because I do not regularly peruse YouTube videos I was unaware of one of the most iconic characters ever to achieve a kind of mass popularity in cyberspace: "Jack Rebney, The Angriest Man In The World". It is definitely a cultural phenomenon whereby a man who would otherwise be as unknown as any other has become a world-wide star. His dialog, and I'm not just talking about his profanity, has transcended the internet ending up even in Hollywood movies. The industrial video he made for Winnebago probably helped shift some units by helping dealers sell their product...maybe not? But, the outtakes, which originally only went to a few executives at Winnebago and the crew, have transcended time place and product & will "live in infamy" on the internet and within pop-culture.

How could one man's frustration shooting an "infomercial" come to this? Who is the man, the so-called "Angriest Man in The World"? What became of him after the video and, more saliently, is he still alive? These are some of the questions that Ben Steinbauer was interested in and he had to expend some effort, indeed, because Jack Rebney had long ago retreated and become a true hermit. Finally when Steinbauer found Jack, Jack was not often not honest, but still capable of great bursts of anger-many times still laced with language more suitable to jail and wartime. Jack is a juxtaposition who finds his notoriety irritating and intoxicating. He seems miffed that he is a kind of cultural icon due to the internet, more specifically due to film he thought shouldn't have ever existed in the first place. Perhaps in his seclusion he has found peace, but you get the feeling that under the surface he's mad as hell still with a lot of it centering around events culminating with the George W. Bush presidency. At one point I think Jack believes Ben's movie will to allow him to profess his manifesto regarding politics (and the general decline of the United States) which, it seems evident, is where Jack thinks his importance to his audience should lie. Ben tries to make it clear he seeking something more like how Jack got to the point he was as when he made the Winnebago video, that is what his fans are more interested in. This serves to irritate Jack and all grinds to a halt for quite some time. Ben does an end-around and finds a way to get back to Jack though and because of that we do end up getting this documentary.

As mentioned earlier, the film Winnebago Man is entertaining. We get a slice of Jack Rebney, though not a whole picture of who this man really is. The holes are unavoidable as Jack Rebney has covered his tracks, purposely fell away from the day-to-day trappings of civilization. Who Jack is, perhaps, is truly only known to Jack himself and he is playing his cards close.

In the end "Winnebago Man" fans are not terribly interested in Jack's life-story and/or his deeper views. The whole phenomenon rests on actually seeing a man voice "over-the-top" frustration so frequently and with, seemingly, bottomless profanity. Ben Steinbauer succeeds admirably by, first, finding the man behind the expletives who can still get just as frustrated and angry. This is what Jack's fans love him for...he's like us, but he has no need to fit in at all anymore. To coin Jack: "You believe any of that $#!+"?
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7/10
A Look At Internet Infamy
gavin694221 April 2015
Jack Rebney is the most famous man you have never heard of - after cursing his way through a Winnebago sales video, Rebney's outrageously funny outtakes became an underground sensation and made him an internet superstar.

I confess that I was not aware of Jack Rebney or the "Winnebago Man" clips from YouTube. Of all the memes out there, this one somehow escaped me. But that in no way lessened my enjoyment of this film, because it was only partially about Rebney and more about Internet infamy, and the lives of those who have been shamed on the Internet. (Though, luckily for Jack, he was more honored than shamed.) I would have liked to know more about "Star Wars Kid", but that could easily spin off to be its own documentary, and possibly a far more fascinating one.
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10/10
One of the finest documentaries I have ever seen! A MUST see!
SteveHistory11 January 2012
The filmmakers behind "Winnebago Man" have crafted a thoughtful, entertaining, and engrossing piece of documentary journalism. I had never seen the internet clip of Jack Rebney but I was hooked in the first five minutes of this movie. The director leads the viewers through his quest to find "the angriest man in the world" and the pay-off is well worth the ride. I can't say enough good about this documentary and just when you fear that the ending may turn out to be distasteful and unsettling the tide turns and you see a side to Jack that makes the entire viewing experience memorable.

My only frustration with this review is that there are only ten stars available--it deserved higher. In an age when Hollywood screenwriters seem nearly unable to write a decent script with a satisfying ending, this documentary sets the bar high.

A trip with this Winnebago man is well worth the effort!
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4/10
Grotesque Documentary that Willfully Manipulates its Subject
l_rawjalaurence2 October 2016
In 1989 Jack Rebney made a series of videos promoting Winnebago products. The shoot was not a happy one, taking place in Iowa during midsummer, and Rebney became highly frustrated with his efforts. Unbeknownst to him the camera crew edited many of the outtakes together and released them on VHS; they showed Rebney cursing everything and everyone in the basest terms.

Due in no small part to the ease of copying tapes, the video became something of a cult with Rebney cast as "The Angriest Man in the World." With the advent of the internet its popularity soared - so much so, in fact, that filmmaker Ben Steinbauer was persuaded to search for Rebney's whereabouts and find out what he had been doing since the videos were made.

WINNEBAGO MAN follows a familiar thematic path with Steinbauer at first finding difficulties in his quest, then discovering Rebney; trying to establish a relationship with Rebney; and at the end persuading the reluctant ex-salesperson to appear at a fan convention in San Francisco dedicated to the original video. Steinbauer manufactures a happy ending in which the fans congratulate Rebney, and the old man returns home apparently touched by their affection for him.

But that is not how the documentary pans out. Throughout the action there remains the distasteful suspicion that Rebney's sensibilities are being willfully exploited by the filmmaker. Now in his mid-seventies with a glaucoma rendering him almost blind, Rebney uses aggression to compensate for his shortcomings, and by doing so conforms precisely to that sobriquet that has stuck to him ever since 1989. At one point he tries to act calm, but eventually admits that this was nothing more than a form of pretense.

In truth it's not Rebney who pretends, but Steinbauer himself. Saddled with the responsibility of making an "hilarious" film for the fans, he willfully allows Rebney to give vent to his anger. The fact that he is now a frail old person seems irrelevant. When the two of them end up in San Francisco, the sight is grotesque: I was reminded of the most notorious sequences in Tod Browning's FREAKS (1932) in which the disadvantaged were presented for our entertainment.

The film reveals one of the seamier aspects of fan studies: whereas people of all classes, ages and ethnicities might be devoted to a particular text, their addiction can destroy as well as enhance. This is precisely what happens to Rebney. For all the director's attempts to manufacture a happy ending, the old man's melancholy expression (revealed in close-up at the end), denotes his true state of mind.
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9/10
Up Your Fern
aciessi16 June 2015
There is only so much to know about people who aren't willing to share who they are, but Ben Steinbauer tried milking every bit of information he could about the reclusive, well-read curmudgeon Jack Rebney, who is reluctantly the star of his own Outtake reel on YouTube. The result is a film, very similar to Alan Berliner's classic "Nobody's Business". In that, a filmmaker tries to get through to a broken down man. Jack Rebney is about as broken down as an old Winnebago, minus the accoutrement. As evident in the clip online, and in this documentary, Rebney hates the 21st century, and stupid people, and Dick Cheney... but mostly Dick Cheney. Jack is an exceptional human being, despite his temperament, and about as wise any elder you know of. Against his will, perhaps, he unravels here with the help of introspective filmmaker. This is a hilarious, fascinating documentary.
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An interesting documentary subject
oscar-356 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoiler/plot- Winnebago Man, 2009. Some raw video footage of a TV commercial pitch-man for motor homes gets bootlegged released on the Internet and makes him a celebrity. A documentary catches up with the pitch-man in retirement and let's him enjoy his new audience.

*Special Stars- Jack Rebney, Ben Steinbauer.

*Theme- Internet videos can cause some fame.

*Trivia/location/goofs- Documentary, Northern California near Reddening.

*Emotion- An interesting documentary subject that could only be due to the rise of the Internet and You Tube. This film speaks well of the power of the download.
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8/10
Jack Rebney: The Worlds Angriest Philosopher
ianfarkas919 December 2010
Summary: If you are like me, one of the greatest days of your life was the day you discovered "The Winnebago Man", a compilation of outtakes from a promotional video gone horribly awry. The reason for the brilliance of the video is a man named Jack Rebney, a man who forgot his lines, mercilessly harassed the crew, and commented on the idiotic nature of his own dialogue. After recovering from the epidemic of laughter that swept through the land, America was left with just one question: Who is Jack Rebney? Ben Steinbauer, a documentarian with nobility in his heart and courage in his mind, decided to step up to the plate and take the daunting task of tracking down Mr. Rebney. After multiple Google searches and a visit to a private detective, Steinbauer finally finds the true Jack Rebney, although the results are initially disappointing. A sweet, well spoken old man who lives a life of monk-like solitude in a remote cabin expresses remorse at his coarse language and attitude he adhered to in the past. Steinbauer, seemingly defeated, retreats back home, only to be contacted by Rebney a few weeks later with a startling confession: the innocent Jack Rebney Ben had met before was a charade, and the real Jack was dying to get out. From this point, we begin to see Jack Rebney as he truly is: a bitter, cantankerous, but somehow lovable old man who has an affinity for cursing.

Review: Over the next hour, we begin to see a genuine relationship grow between Ben and Jack, and this relationship is easily the strongpoint of the movie. Ben's patience and gentle nature acts as a perfect antithesis to Jack's short-fused attitude and explosive personality. As the two begin to bond, the audience takes a trip through Rebney's mind, finding potential clues as to why The Winnebago Man is the disgruntled, frustrated shell of a man he is now. Although the movie never probes as deep into Rebney's psyche as it ought to, leaving many questions posed at the beginning unanswered, it still provides a fascinating look at a terminally angry man. Although this journey through the mind could end up being dark and depressing due to the somewhat tragic nature of its subject, Rebney throws in enough absurdist quips throughout the movie to keep things light and entertaining, creating the perfect mix of comedy and drama. And yes, the movie is quite funny at certain points (a live appearance by Rebney at a comedy club left me in stitches.) Overall, Winnebago man fails on some level by sidestepping some of the darker elements of Rebney's character, but it more than makes up for it with a great dynamic between the two leads and some genuinely funny moments.
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8/10
Grumpy Old Man
SnoopyStyle14 August 2016
Ben Steinbauer has been one of the many fans of the bootleg outtakes on VHS tapes of a Winnebago industrial promotional film. He is obsessed with the angry Jack Rebney swearing his way through the filming. Jack seems to be a tough man to find until Ben finds him as a zen-like caretaker of a remote fishing camp in northern California. Later, Jack reveals his true foul-mouthed angry old guy persona as Ben convinces him to meet his fans.

I didn't see the found footage tapes before this movie. After watching this film, I watched the footage and can see why it has gathered such a cult following. It's hilarious. The non-stop flow of expletives builds to a funny short. His angry tirades just keep coming. As for this documentary, it takes that tape and does the expected route of tracking Jack down. He doesn't disappoint. He's a grumpy old man and everybody knows at least one in real life. He has a quaint charm and one can't hate on the old guy going blind. Although the narrations could be cut back.
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10/10
something they'll understand
BERSERKERpoetry1 December 2010
I can't say that I've ever witnessed such a heartwaking and true cinematic representation of a human being in my life. Jack Rebney is shown from every possible angle as a complex, contradictory, and intensely intelligent man. The fact that he works so hard to subvert the form in which he is being captured is what makes this work so well. The documentarian aspects are good enough. But it's the subject on display that brings it together. Rebney isn't just a source of amusement, he's an example of true, real, complete humanity. Someone how achieved some measure of peace and happiness in life through self-acceptance and understanding. The anger is a side issue.

This is a great film.
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8/10
Compelling and entertaining
thatoldbookstore1 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I had to say something after seeing this movie. I am a movie-alcoholic and watched this with very low expectations. I am not into viral videos and had never seen or been aware of Jack Rebney. I found myself at first afraid that Ben Steinbauer was going to make mistake and end up doing more damage than good. You feel for Jack when Ben finds him. I found myself worrying that this man would never get to say what he wanted and in a sense would be exploited all over again, ending in certain disaster. That could have easily happened. In one scene when Jack starts ranting about the evils of Dick Cheney, Ben stops him trying to get him to focus. I thought that was the big mistake that would end the film and and chance of us really learning more about Jack. But Ben was right to stop him. I have to give him props It seemed to me the process was healing for this already fascinating highly intelligent man, the sometimes angry Jack. In the end this experience seemed to help resolve what anger he had over the video going viral and the video outtakes themselves. This movie has allot going for it. It's a fascinating character study and much much more. It's funny at times and it just works beyond any expectations.
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5/10
Killer subject matter; fumbled execution
Mr-Fusion26 February 2016
As viral videos go, The Winnebago Man is one of my very favorites (I know it's been a meme for ages, but just I came upon it recently). And to find out that someone actually made a documentary about Jack Rebney certainly piqued my curiosity. Sadly, it's not great.

The movie's fantastic for the first 30 minutes or so. Its focus is on giving context (what the video is, how it came about, why we love it), and this is where it's really entertaining. Most of the good stuff is found in the interviews with the production crew, and this is where I laughed and enjoyed myself the most.

But the director crafts a narrative out of tracking down the reclusive YouTube star and trying to bring him out of retirement for more Internet glory. This was my problem with the movie; it got away from what made that original video fun and tried to exploit the guy's unwanted celebrity for new fame. It gets uncomfortable, and I really wish the director would've kept himself out of the movie. It's very forced.

There's a sizable part of me that regrets having seen this. As one of the interviewees in the movie said, to dig deeper into the legend is to ruin the fun of it. And in this case, I wholeheartedly agree. Rebney was far more entertaining when he was railing against flies and had trouble saying "accoutrements". I still very much love the ill-fated Winnebago sales video, but this movie I can do without.

5/10
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Winnebago Man (2009)
robocopssadside-129 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
*mild spoilers* Ben Steinbauer takes us on journey into the mountains of California in search of an internet cult icon.

In 1988, Jack Rebney was filming a marketing video for Winnebago. It was a two-week shoot in the heat of summer, and the guy just simply goes bananas (if you have never seen it, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSWUWPx2VeQ). While the edited video gets sent off to Winnebago to be used as a sales pitch, a 4-minute VHS outtakes reel is being passed around by crew-members; it eventually ends up in the hands of collectors and is copied an uncountable amount of times. Years later, the internet blows up and gives birth to video sites i.e. Youtube, and Jack Rebney is instantly a viral superstar.

The quest is for Ben to find out how Mr. Rebney, now twenty years older, feels about being dubbed the Winnebago Man, aka The Angriest Man in the World; or to see if he knows of his popularity at all.

Jack Rebney is a person everyone in life has most likely known at one point or another. He is the older man that pulls off being grumpy and charming simultaneously. He is a wizard with profanity, and uses body language that demonstrates his disdain. For many of us, he is the anti-hero we long to be during those times of stress and irritability.

Ben Steinbauer has created something hilarious and moving with "Winnebago Man". His efforts in finding someone that is a legend to some are truly sincere. The deeper this documentary goes into Ben's pursuit, the more you learn about a person that is slightly different from what you would expect. There are a few moments where I felt Ben was prying too much with things involving Rebney's life, but I do not think he was trying to be nosy, just overly enthusiastic. This would be perfect to watch back-to-back with "Best Worst Movie". A high recommendation to fans of comedy documentaries.
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