Winnebago Man Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 11, 2013
A poignant, in-depth look at arguably the first YouTube star before YouTube even existed, that being swearing RV salesman Jack Rebney. Instead of the documentary being a mash-up "greatest hits" of this figure, director Ben Steinbauer makes a concerted effort to find out what happened to this man who was last seen by the public eye in 1989 when he was flipping out between takes of these marketing videos he would make for RVs. What makes this film so interesting is the "everyday man" tone the current Jack Rebney strikes with the viewer. He may be a bitter, angry old man, and we might not ever figure out what makes him that way, but it does not stop us from pulling for him to feel appreciated for those many lives he has, almost inexplicably, touched and all the people he made laugh through the years. Not an ordinary documentary by any means, and certainly not a film for everyone, but still a film that shows a man looking for one last run at glory before retiring into his cabin in the woods with his loving dog for good.
Dr114
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2013
Who is Jack Rebney? And why is he so angry? These are the questions that film maker Ben Steinbauer wondered for years. Finally he decided to answer his own questions by finding Jack Rebney and documenting the experience. What we get is a look into the life of an interesting man. It may not answer every question you have, but it has heart and you feel a human connection with Jack Rebney. It's all about the human experience. What we find is a real, comedic adventure that I'm glad to be apart of (even as just a viewer).
blkbomb
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2012
Jack Rebney: I don't believe that I have the capability of being able to couch anything in a vernacular that's going to be understood by the people that you want me to talk to. 

Winnebago Man is an interesting enough documentary, in that we get to see the person behind the viral video. "Going viral" is a term we hear all the time now, but it has never really been anything I concern myself with. Honestly, I don't give a fuck if someone is playing with a sword, trying to do a backflip, or cussing up a storm. There's just more important stuff in the world. So I'm with Jack Rebney on that one, as he to, fails to understand the love for the video. Honestly, I don't even find the outtakes funny. Why I liked the movie to the extent I did, is because I grew to like I guy I really didn't know anything about or really care about.

A filmmaker who was obsessed for years over the viral video makes a documentary on the man himself. He wants to know if the guy is truly as angry as it appears. Is he mad about the publicity? Does he care that people find his rants amusing? Who is this guy? These are all questions the film asks, and like a good filmmaker, he answers them through his subject.

If there's anything we can take from a film like Winnebago Man... actually there is nothing I can truly take away from it. I didn't learn anything about the human condition or about anything that truly matters. I just learned that Jack Rebney is a pretty cool old guy that loves to swear and thinks Dick Chaney is the worst human being to ever live. That's enough for me. This little documentary did enough to entertain me, while presenting a story I can't say I really care about.
flixsterman
Super Reviewer
½ November 16, 2009
Who knew that under all those layers of cynicism and misanthropy that Jack Rebney would turn out to be the most likable old bastard on the planet?
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2012
This is a comprehensive documentary that varies its message in many ways, but comes out the other side as an expanded student film venture and radically changes a viewer's perspective on its subject. The film itself is broadly about Jack Rebney, who unfortunately starred in ten minutes of outtakes from a Winnebago industrial film, which spread around the internet as of 2005. It was a traumatic and humiliating experience, a fact that filmmaker Ben Steinbauer addresses by also talking about other Youtube sensations such as the Star Wars kid, who ended up in a mental institution. Instead of being solely about how we as the public view these people's embarrassment in lieu of our own laughter, we look at Jack Rebney and the interesting way he himself deals with the sensation and how his life has been effected. The filmmaker is passionate about his subject, interested in the plight of Jack and where these no name celebrities end up, or where they are in their lives. Just because it isn't encompassing of the entire Youtube community does not diminish its subject's journey through life, the way he is perceived by different audiences, and the view of personal safety and one's own self image when the spotlight is shone without permission. Jack ends up isolating himself in the cavernous California mountains, and becomes quite defensive once Ben wanders around to find him, unraveling the hatred, the workings of Jack's powerful mind. Jack turns out to be a man of intellect, unchallenged and unchecked. He is only slightly more controlled than his video shows, but is a man of thought and wonder above all else. Overall, I found this documentary engaging simply because Jack was so insightful and surprising. This film gave me an entirely new perspective on the infamous video in question, and now makes me think before I laugh at the misfortune of others. Truly, a thinker.
Beefy
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2010
Not quite what you'd expect. Sort of funny, but also sort of sad.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2010
Winnebago Man is a documentary about Jack Rebney, one of Internet's biggest superstars. Rebney is known more as the Winnebago Man. During the late 8o's he was doing a shoot for Winnebago, and the outtakes of the commercials ended up being a cult phenomenon. Jack Rebney's delivery of vulgarities and obscenities in the outtakes struck a cord with many people, and people started making copies of the outtakes to friends. It wasn't until the arrival of YouTube that his popularity soared even more. Jack Rebney himself has been surprised at his unwanted attention due to the outtakes. He doesn't see why the video sparked so much popularity. Rebney doesn't seem ashamed with the video, and throughout the film Rebney proves that he's not the angriest man, and he's very humble at times. But also it's very clear that he's got strong political opinions, and he's at time irritated with the filmmakers. But in the end, he's very humbled at how his outtake video ended up cheering up alot of people. The famous outtakes themselves are hilarious and it's no wonder why it's become the most popular viral video ever. If your a fan of the viral video or love documentaries, then I suggest you give this film a viewing. The film uncovers the man behind the video and it answers a lot of questions on the outtakes.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2010
Its difficult to say if director Ben Steinbauer is really giving Jack Rebney his fair say or if he's (even if its unintentional) just exploiting him in the same way the infamous outtakes have. Regardless, I cannot deny the fact that Rebney is a fascinating individual .
Super Reviewer
½ August 23, 2010
A frequently entertaining and thought-provoking documentary with a great central character. Jack Rebney, a.k.a. the Winnebago Man or The Angriest Man In The World is just as crotchety and pissed in the twilight of his life as he is in the video sensation that began with VHS outtakes of a Winnebago sales video in the late eighties and became a YouTube sensation decades later. However hysterically outspoken Rebney can be, the blame for this film falling short of perfection falls on Steinbauer, who does not let it breathe for a second. He seems too content in presenting a basic run-up to Rebney's appearance at the Found Footage Film Festival in San Francisco. The first thirty minutes is the most informative and intriguing section of the film, but with less than an hour left after that, Rebney makes us laugh, cry, and cheer, which is great, but if the film were a bit longer, we could have had a more provocative film and I think a better one. Not to say that it's bad. Far from it. It just needed a little more.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2010
No one delivers obscenities quite as colorfully as mr.rebney. A cult hero finally sought out and studied. A must see for documentary lovers.
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2010
not necessarily hard hitting documentary fodder, but I ultimately enjoyed getting to know Jack Rebney, and actually started to like him.
Super Reviewer
February 10, 2011
Funny, Strange, and thought-provoking! You would never expect to be so engaged in a movie about the life of a man who gained fame from a video where he cusses and carries on like a maniac.
A lot of fun to watch, and surprisingly one of the better documentaries to come out in a long while.
mattsigur1
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2010
A very sad, yet often-funny story of a former Winnebago salesman. There are some great, honest moments of a journalist trying to get the truth out of this actor. As much as this guy wants to wax nostalgic about the olden days, Jack Rebney will be remembered as an angry commercial actor. He doesn't want to be, and once he finds out that his audience embraces him, he kind of changes.
Up until that point, it's frustrating because he hasn't become a calm man, he's become quite a sad hermit, the worst definition of Thoreau's Walden.
Whoa, where'd that come from?
Blaster1618
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2010
This movie is a more of a collage of a film that pivots on the point of most people's life where they finally realize they are not going to ever fulfill there dreams they had when they were in there 20's. I love movies and books based on real life have a unmistakable quality that all movies based on constructs just lack. The narrative questions why is Jack Rubney (and all the other fails on Youtube) are funny.
The narrative of Rubney eventually explains that his dream was to be announcer like Walter Conkite and he did work for CBS which did not work-out, which brings him to doing ads for Winnebago. The point where his life went from a vocation to a job. Like most people who live long enough it was a job that if the twenty year-old version of himself would kick his ass. On top of it his camera man and intern are just peachy with their future and cannot see the down turn in the over serious Rubney do they just taunt him.
The movie is really built more about Ben Steinbauer's narrative of trying to gel all the footage into a decent movie that says something. The final 15-20 minutes he actually succeed in pulling it together. The negative gaps in the plot are as interesting as the plot ie why won't Rubney talk about his past.
If your young and at the point where your career looks like stepping stones to your dream, you will not get or enjoy this movie. The rest of us will just enjoy the laughing with commiseration.
sjcole4
Super Reviewer
½ November 3, 2010
Solid and effective depiction. There was a lot of potential hinted at here though. Just as the film begins to tackle a much larger cultural issue it does a 180 and becomes decidedly limited in scope. This may have been necessary to keep the film as personal as possible and sustain its focus on Rebney, but it makes these more profound musings irrelevant to the documentary as a whole. In addition, there are still a few things we don't really grasp about Rebney by the end, but really that only makes him more intriguing.
½ June 23, 2014
I was completely unaware of the Winnebago Man videos that were passed around on video cassette, and then hit youtube. But I didn't feel as though I missed out on much; so much of it is played throughout the duration of this documentary that a newbie gets caught up to speed pretty quickly.

Topically Winnebago Man falls into the category of "mildly amusing". But unlike most things that are mildly amusing, Winnebago Man offers some poignant insights both into the culture that consumes videos on youtube AND the people who are the unwitting stars.

The success of Winnebago Man as a movie stems largely from the man himself: Jack Rebney. He's a fascinating guy with a voice of gold (easy to see why he was hired to do industry videos) and his screen time drives the final 2/3s of the movie.

It's hard not to look at weird direction decisions, however, and dream of the film that could have been. The most egregious sin is starting the documentary out with a clip of the real Jack Rebney, something that would be better suited AFTER the bluff, not before.
July 7, 2010
"Winnebago Man" is an interesting look into the real life of accidental Internet sensation Jack Rebney and his infamous Winnebago sales outtakes. Although I had somehow never seen this YouTube viral video, I can see why people quickly latched on to the misfortunes of this frustrated salesman. Although it is layered with profanity and disdain for humanity, this is actually the story of a sweet old man who wishes that he had a voice beyond that of his famous freakout. The film never grows stale as it has three distinct sections: the search for Jack, the true nature of Jack, and the film festival. I would only put the quality of the documentary as average but it brings perspective to the power of the Internet and drives home the point that you can't judge a book by its cover (or a Winnebago by its salesman).
November 9, 2012
An interesting, though not entirely breathtaking, documentary. This viral video man - who endlessly curses out the Winnebagos while shooting their promotional video - is slowly revealed to be highly intelligent, naturally likeable, an eloquent speaker as well as someone who once possessed a highly successful career. Would you have imagined this endlessly rude and cursing man to have also owned a dog named Buddha?

More so, he turns out to be someone who once took a tough stand upon his ethical principles, resulting in the life changes that eventually deposited him into this third-rate promo gig one humid summer in Iowa. And into his bouts of frustration and cursing that are, in part, the struggle with his internal demons tormenting him for having once taken that tough stand. Know now why he truly curses with anger.

And yet he also curses as a form of endearment, having embraced his character flaw, turning it into a compliment-of-sorts for those for whom he cares. As the film progresses, the viewer also gets to see Winnebago Man wrestling with his posterity, coming to terms with the fact that, as a 76 year old man, this viral video - not his other life works - will be how he will be best remembered.

The viewer may well conclude that the world was short-changed, that this man did not have the opportunity to be remembered for, to have accomplished, more.

Worthy viewing.
May 13, 2012
A great look into one of the first internet sensations ever. I think the part I was so fascinated about was that this man's story made a really interesting movie with or without the viral video.
½ March 18, 2012
Although we're still left with a lot of questions about Rebney's past, the movie certainly gives us a look into who he is as as individual and does a good job humanizing him, while also being thoroughly funny and entertaining.
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