Movie Review: Winnebago Man (2010)

A bizarre, pertinent and often hilarious documentary for all you Generation Y kids out there.

Winnebago Man is about a crotchety bastard named Jack Rebney who unintentionally received global internet fame as “The Angriest Man in the World” after an outtake reel of him losing his mind and cursing up a storm while trying to make a promotional video for a line of motor homes hit YouTube and took it by storm. Then one day film maker Ben Steinbauer starts wondering what the hell ever happened to this guy, by some grace of God manages to track him down and so begins his journey to show the world how this viral king has coped after all these years of unwanted notoriety.

Alright, if you’ve never seen the “Winnebago Man” video before, you don’t know what you’re missing. Just as a heads up, this sucker’s not safe for work in the least (unless your boss is all about cursing people out in the workplace, then I expect a “Thanks, Aiden!” when you get that raise), but if the coast is clear and you’ve got your handy-dandy headphones plugged in, enjoy:

Now, if we’re on the same page and you still can’t get over him swatting at those jackass flies and screaming about whatever the hell “accountrements” means, then you’re on the level, this . But if the swearing is too much, you just feel bad for the guy or for some reason it just wasn’t funny, stretching the experience out to an hour-and-a-half isn’t gonna make you feel any different.

The idea behind this documentary is strange in that part of me is somewhat interested to see what this guy is really like, but the other part of me really had never cared whatsoever until this movie came along. Granted, Jack Rebney and his foul mouth are fun to stumble across every now and again, but he never quite worked his way into the canon of comedic greatness like he did for director Ben Steinbauer. But even if I was just coming along for the ride because I was familiar with the guy, the real heart of what makes this movie interesting is Rebney’s outlook towards his status as a viral “celebrity”.

And that right there is the appeal to Winnebago Man, the behind-closed-doors look into the real Jack Rebney it provides us. After watching the infamous video, one can’t help but think that Rebney must have just been having one hell of a bad day, but as it turns out, he’s always like that and he is none too happy that a blooper reel made without his knowledge has become his lasting legacy. I wish I could say that Ben Steinbauer’s narration and on-screen contributions are just as interesting, but it’s kinda hard to top a guy who says bye to his dog with a “Fuck you, Buddha!” on the drive into town. It’s not like everything he says is a flat-out riot, but when he’s piping mad or genuinely touched, he had the whole theater hooked and winds up being a pretty interest subject for someone I never would have wondered about otherwise.

But, really, you gotta wonder about some of these people. Rebney seems like a normal enough guy with a short temper, but then you’ve got people like Fred (arguably the most intolerable person on the planet) and that whackjob who begged us all to “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! and I can’t help but think, “It must suck to be known as that guy for the rest of your days.” Just look at “The Star Wars Kid” – no one was ever meant to see that, his classmates somehow got a hold of it, one thing led to another and now he’ll always be “The Star Wars Kid”. Yeah, it’s an absolutely hilarious video, but the story you don’t hear behind is that the kid ended up going to an institution as a result of it and his parents sued the shit out of the kids who made it public.

Anyone who’s ever looked the comments section of any YouTube video should be well aware of the fact that the mass of people who troll over that haven of overnight celebrities and freaks on parade are some of the most ruthless and unforgiving mofos you’ll ever come across. Coming from someone who posted his first (and subsequently last) video four years ago for a film class assignment, trust me, it sucks to read that shit.

But then again, I never got “famous” for it and I can go on with my life as Aiden R. instead of some douche who drew a picture of Thom Yorke. Man, I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of therapy I’d have to submit myself to after that.

These days with Lindsay Lohan’s two-week jail stint trumping the Gulf of Mexico oil spill headlines, you can’t escape from celebrity news even if you tried and even though most days I wish it would all just go away, it’s hard to drive by a trainwreck without gawking like an idiot. Winnebago Man can be very funny even if you’ve never heard of Jack Rebney and, more importantly, it’s pretty interesting to see the E! True Hollywood Story behind one of the first V-list celebs in a culture where more people are getting their 15 minutes than ever before. You really don’t have to be talented to be famous these days (God, I hate those Kardashians), but it’s always interesting to see and hear how people cope whether they want it or not. Not a groundbreaking documentary by any means, but oddly fascinating and entertaining if you’re cool with all the F-bombs.

7/10 Swear Jars

To read more reviews from Aiden Redmond, also be sure to check out Cut The Crap Movie Reviews.