Winnebago Man : Directed by Ben Steinbauer
Review By: Mut Asheru
This summer has been filled with great documentaries. The Winnebago Man is colorful to say the least. Jack Rebney had a bleepity-bleep-bleep melt down during the taping of sales commercial in 1998. Naturally his crew, after having had enough of this man’s temper, did a mash-up of the curse fest and sent it around via vhs. Having circulated in tape format for a while It eventually landed on YouTube and became a viral sensation.
This documentary is about what happens to a sensation subject after the storm of “watch this,lol” emails have passed. Director, Ben Steinbauer saw the video back in 2002 and wanted to find out whatever happened to Rebney dubbed “The Angriest Man in the World”. He wasn’t easy to find so hence we have the birth of a project.
Rebney had the misfortune of having his angry moment caught on film and then distributed across the internet. I’m not really sure I understand the need Steinbauer had to track Rebney down. Surely one of the forerunners of viral videos he seems to be an interesting subject, but only when considered in the context of the viral video phenomenon itself. Did he want to see if he was alright? Did he want to know if there was an even bigger story waiting there? I won’t tell you what he ultimately finds. I will say that after watching this I will think twice maybe three times about where I rant and rave because 20 or so years down the road someone my try to track me down for ?of it.
I left the film with bigger questions in mind outside of ‘whatever happened to Jack Rebney’. It made me wonder things like “why do we think that someone having a break down is funny?”, “why do we spy on those moments and then decide to share link and email them to everyone else?”, and “does his/her caught on tape breakdown in any way compare to the one I had a couple days ago”?
The documentary is cut very well and is entertaining although the impetus behind the project is still rather vague and foggy.