Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winnebago Man (2009)

Humorous, semi-pointless doc about famed Winnebago salesman Jack Rebney, whose antics were captured in a cult youtube video that inspires a young documentarian to track him down, some 20 years later. The film opens with clips of the infamous video, which is actually a collection of outtakes from a Winnebago commercial from the late '80s. It shows Rebney continually breaking down in profanity-riddled tirades and acting cuckoo in front of the camera; while we laugh at him, his insecurities and apparently uncontrollable emotional outbursts make him a somewhat identifiable and human figure. This is what Ben Steinbauer wanted to follow up on with this documentary, and I'm not 100% certain he succeeds. There is a slight progression, as Rebney initially finds it difficult to reconcile his image with his personality, and then concluding with a festival for found videos where he is a guest of honor, but we never really learn anything about Mr. Rebney. He displayed his inherently human characteristics in the video, and, while it is fun to get a glimpse into his home life (he does not leave his house in the woods, and only hangs out with one ultra-personal friend), at feature-length, his demeanor begins to prove redundant and somewhat forcced; we get the idea that at his old age, he would not swear and make such a fit had Mr. Steinbauer not goaded him into it. That being said, he is a funny, interesting figure, and does not make one regret having watched this doc.

Slightly Recommended for fans of his youtube video or character-based documentaries. I'd say youtube Jack Rebney, and see if the video intrigues you to seek out this doc.

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