Winnebago Man (2009)

The internet is full of awesome stuff: things for sale, great movie review blogs (hint hint), boobies and most importantly… funny videos of people making an ass of themselves. Some of you might have seen a video called ‘Winnebago Man’, it has about 3,500,000 views on YouTube.  If you haven’t seen it (there is a link at the bottom of this post), it features a guy named Jack Rebney doing an informational video for The Winnebago Company in 1989.  It was quickly clear to the crew that this guy was crazy, so they left the camera rolling between takes and compiled all of the outtakes into a separate video that spread around the country via copied VHS tapes (that’s what us old folks had to do before the internet).  This documentary follows one guys journey to try to find Jack, and see what he thinks about his internet stardom.

Finding Jack turns out not to be as easy as the filmmaker, Ben, had thought.  After locating the crew and getting their thoughts on Jack; they thought he was insane for the record, they never saw him again after that shoot. Although they still think the video is funny, they sort of feel bad about doing it in the first place, as it led to Jack losing his job.  Ben turns to a private eye who can’t find out anything about jack, except for some PO box addresses. The guy is completely off the grid.  Is he that embarrassed by the video?  And one day… BAM, they find him living on a mountain in Northern California.  Ben arranges a meeting with Jack, and he finds him to be the complete opposite of the guy in the video: calm and relaxed, a guy at one with nature.  That was odd, who would have thunk it?  Well, a bit later Ben gets a call from Jack, who feels like he needs to come clean – he was putting on an act, and is exactly like the guy in the video, who can’t finish a sentence without throwing a ‘fuck’ in there somewhere.

So Ben’s happy about this for some reason, and aims to get Jack the recognition he deserves.  He arranges to get this foul-mouthed bastard to a found video screening in San Fran, where Jack is sure people are going to make fun of him or think the whole thing is crazy.  To his surprise all of the fans really like the video, and like him as well.  After saying a few words for the crowd, they go crazy and he is extremely humbled and gracious for the support.  So this insane guy gets some love, and something good finally comes from the internet; not like that escort we got from Craigslist, who came over with her boyfriend AND a penis.

Alex’s Thoughts: I’ll admit that I had never seen the clip before watching this movie.  Tim briefly showed me some scenes from the movie before we decided to review it, and that was enough for me.  I was completely enamored with the guy.  I don’t consider Jack to be a buffoon like some people do, but just thought that his temper and frustration got the best of him; which can happen to anyone.  The movie itself isn’t too bad.  At times, I wonder why this is even a feature-length documentary; but so does the filmmaker, so at least we had that in common.  You can’t help but feel bad for Jack at times, and although he is a bit of a curmudgeon  at times, you can tell that his probably is a good guy at heart.  It was nice to see him get some recognition at the film screening, that poor old bastard deserves something good in his life.  This thing is good for what it is, but it might not appeal to an older audience.  Alex Rates This Movie 6/10

Tim’s Thoughts: I felt so torn while watching this movie, the clips were hilarious, and the interviews the Jack are so sad and nearly tragic. My attention wandered at times, but when he goes to the theater for a live viewing of his clips, it’s so heartwarming to see Jack get some of the love and respect that he was so desperate for. I wouldn’t say that this is a great documentary, but I do think it’s a good one.  Even if you just watch this to see what became of the star of one the first viral videos, I think that you too will get drawn into the world of this sad, crazy recluse. Tim Rates This Movie 7/10

“Will you do me a favor, huh? Will you do me a kindness?”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue