To say that Jack Rebney is a pissed-off guy would be an understatement. For background, go and YouTube the phrase: The Angriest Man in the World. What you’ll encounter are a slew of viral videos all centering upon Rebney, back in the late 80’s, working as a pitch-man for the Winnebago company. During a particularly arduous, steamy-hot, mid-August shoot, Rebney kept screwing up (and cursing up a fuckin’ storm), and all of the outtakes were edited into a reel by one of the editors working on the shoot. The rest is history. What you get is pure and raw and utterly hysterical; a guy coming undone on camera, flipping out repeatedly on both his crew and himself, and even laughing about some of it. The documentary Winnebago Man is part genuflection, part investigation, and all absolutely fascinating and grin inducing. After becoming fixated on the viral videos, newbie filmmaker Ben Steinbauer boldly tracked down Rebney in northern California, in an effort to get a glimpse into the man’s life and apparent madness, and with the obvious hopes of getting Rebney to talk about the infamous Winnebago shoot.
Winnebago Man is many things at once — funny, dark, sad, eye-opening, and by the end, oddly moving. Rebney, unlike, say, Timothy Treadwell (another eccentric doc subject — see Grizzly Man), doesn’t come across as a total loon, but rather, a man fed up with a country that he feels unfamiliar with. All one has to do is view the completed sales tape that he produced for Winnebago and it’ll become clear that this was a guy who cared about his job and what he was doing. He could never have figured that some cussing and yelling done on a closed set would ever be remembered the way it has been. I won’t spoil any of the priceless surprises and genuine twists that you’ll learn from watching this exceedingly entertaining movie. It’s the kind of doc that a lot of people are going to discover and instantly love.