Ages ago a video started circulating around the internet (and before that on VHS) of a rather disgruntled individual attempting to film an industrial video for Winnebago. This video was nothing more than the outtakes stitched together. Obscenities were flying, fists were shaking, and viewers of this video could do nothing but laugh at this guy having what appeared to be the worst day of his life. You can still find the video on YouTube today here. I urge you to watch it as its one of those videos that will be around forever.
Recently a documentary was completed by Ben Steinbauer entitled simply, Winnebago Man, I hadn’t heard anything about it until a preview played before a movie my wife and I were about to watch. Before the trailer had finished I had my phone out and I was adding that sucker to my Netflix queue. Click through to see my thoughts of this documentary.
While watching the original outtake compilation, one can’t help but wonder, who is this guy, why was he so mad, or does he have a temper like this all the time. Others may even find themselves identifying with the man, having themselves been in frustrating situations. One thing this documentary did an exceptional job of doing was answering those questions and many you didn’t even know you had. Finally a documentary about a topic that’s not maddening, depressing or just flat-out boring. To be honest though, we weren’t sure what to expect from this film.
During this documentary we get to see who this man, Jack Rebney, really is. We eventually learn that he does have a bit of a short temper and is willing to speak his mind regardless of whomever is present. The beautiful thing about this documentary is that we get to see Jack progress from beginning to end in dealing with his association with this famous video. He tries to claim ignorance, but later pipes up and vents his frustrations with it. Over time throughout the film he goes from absolutely hating the film, what its done to him and the people who see him as celebrity/hero to accepting his fate and even coming to respect his fans.
During the film I found myself caring about what happened next. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about a documentary. In fact, I started to relate to Jack almost as if he were my grandfather (since he was obviously old enough). I realized that, sure, this guy definitely has a temper, but beneath that all is a sweet old man who has been simply misunderstood this whole time and improperly labeled as, The Angriest Man in the World. Needless to say, at least one point in the film I found myself getting a little choked up at what Jack was going through with the recognition that he never even wanted gained by this video.
This documentary is one that I would recommend watching to anyone who, like me, saw the YouTube video above and started asking questions about the man in it. It had moments of comedy and moments of sadness but was very enjoyable throughout.
Shortly after Winnebago Man was released, Jack Rebney and Ben Steinbauer appeared together on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. If you want to get an idea of what Jack Rebney is like in real life you can watch the segment on Hulu.
To see the official trailer and find some additional information, visit the Winnebago Man Official Site.