Director: Ben Steinbauer
The Bear Media
Synopsis: This documentary follows angry, yet lovable salesman, Jack Rebney, whose outtakes from a Winnebaggo sales video circulated for years before becoming a viral sensation without his knowledge.
Overview: There is something inherently special about Jack Rebney. Even those who just discovered him by watching Winnebago Man (like I did) are still engulfed by his aura. He has two special talents: he can cuss better than anyone and he can sell some Winnebagos. Through his stinging personality, his ability to be lovable while being the biggest asshole we have ever seen, and his sheer intelligence, Jack Rebney has become one of the most interesting people I have ever come across. And, he obviously doesn’t give a fuck.
This film exists to call on how much Jack Rebney is cherished. This guy is a gem; he is the type of person you love to be around but go home thinking, “Why the hell do I like this guy? He’s a dick.” Perhaps willfully, Director Ben Steinbauer falls for the same tricks that transfix the audience of his movie. He called on our historical familiarity towards those who make us laugh at their own expense, and our own recognition of the often abusive nature the internet. But, most importantly, Mr. Steinbauer called on how much we love to laugh. His main interest in Jack is giving back to the man who gave him so many laughs and helped so many people through tough times. The thing that drives Winnebago Man is Jack Rebney’s realization, through this journey with Steinbauer, that he has an audience that would love to hear more from him. It is nearly tear-jerking to see him bring out his true character.
Winnebago Man, as a whole, flows in a thoughtful manner. It’s a story of redemption and charity for those who are seemingly cast from society. It is evident that Jack sees himself as an outsider; his choice to live in seclusion is a testament to how he feels towards society. His overly political nature nearly drove Steinbauer away, but the director’s relentlessness towards finding the real Jack Rebney brought about one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. The film’s success doesn’t come from the fact that the viral video that made Jack a sensation is hilarious, it’s that the man behind the videos is not only hilarious, but also identifiable. In one scene, Jack tries to get his dog Buddha to stay on the porch, before he eventually gives up and yells, “Fuck you, Buddha.” That is Jack Rebney.
Winnebago Man is a heartfelt character study. The overall outcome provides a deeper, far more sophisticated tale, but it is everything needed to deliver a dose of humanity and humor. Jack Rebney is damn cool guy and Ben Steinbauer did everything he could to prove it. If you’re looking for a good laugh and a dose of compassion, please watch Winnebago Man.