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Winnebago Man (Video and Documentary)


Accoutrements! Accoutrements! This word takes on a new meaning when screamed in pure exasperation by “the angriest man in the world”. Jack Rebney gained Internet fame as a result of a blooper reel of his extremely foul-mouthed and unadulterated anger on the set of a group of Winnebago commercials. Ben Steinbauer decided to track down the man behind one of the very first viral videos in Winnebago Man.

Grade:

The story behind the video is actually quite depressing. The crew that worked with Rebney was so fed up with him they decided to create the reel to get him kicked off the program, all unbeknownst to Jack. After the videos release to the public, Rebney was, almost literally, never heard from again. Steinbauer somehow tracked him down through a group of P.O. boxes and was able to meet the Youtube legend. Man follows the relationship Steinbauer and Rebney build and how Rebney reacts to the fame he had unknowingly acquired.

The viral video phenomenon is a recent addition to the culture of fame and notoriety. As the “social media theorist” in Man puts, we view Youtube videos like the Romans did with the Colisseum as a spectacle of torture. We prefer to see the person in the video at their most embarrassing, not the aftermath or who that person is. Man covers a few other infamous viral video personalities who weren’t as lucky as Rebney to escape the scrutiny of the public. With the rise of Tosh.0 and his “web redemptions”, we are slowly breaking that mold, but there is still an innate desire to keep the ignorance alive.

This is why Jack decided to isolate himself in the mountains of northern California. Ignorance. He has a hatred for the way our society has changed that would rival the most ornery of individuals – it puts validity behind his “angriest man” moniker. If ignorance is bliss, then Rebney is blissfully ignorant about the masses living beneath his mountain. He shut himself off so completely from society that he is unaware of how intelligent much of the population is, but still finds solace in believing the masses are asses. You can attribute this to a generational gap or a heightened intellectual ego; Rebney won’t care.

While listening to Rebney and watching his video is wildly entertaining, there are moments where Man dips into dullness. It starts with a flurry of hilarious clips and comments and ends with a sentimental, yet poignant, scene. The bulk of the film lacks a high level of intrigue, which results in you simply waiting for the end even though there is no real direction. Steinbauer does well letting Rebney take control, but he has his moments where he wants the spotlight as if to say, “This is still my movie.” He asks way too many hypothetical, almost existential, questions about his reasons for seeking out Rebney giving the film a haphazard feel, and the camera work has moments where it more closely resembles the 1989 VHS versions of Rebney’s reel.

In any case, I am glad I stuck it out to the end, much like staying persistent with Rebney rewarded Steinbauer. We all know one person who absolutely loses their mind – and filter – when angry, which makes watching Rebney’s outbursts that much more enjoyable. As fans in Winnebago Man mention, watching the video is the quickest way to cure a bad day, and hell, it’s way more fun to watch someone else lose it than lose it ourselves.

*Note: the credits have their own blooper reel that is amusing.

Here’s the video (Obscenities a-plenty so be warned)

Here’s the trailer (Obscenities as well)

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