Who is the angriest man in the world?
The angriest man in the world is Jack Rebney, the Winnebago Man, who inadvertently launched one of the most popular videos in history, propelling a young YouTube forward with his notoriety. The Winnebago Man (2010) is a very heart-warming and entertaining documentary to watch, and there’s not one part I didn’t enjoy. The story of Jack Rebney is very interesting, and the documentary captures the best parts of who this man is.
In the early days of YouTube, the Winnebago Man video was very popular. It was made when Rebney was trying to do a video shoot marketing some winnebagos, and couldn’t get any of the script right. His frustration is obvious, and his swearing is legendary. He kept trying though, and clips of his frustration made it online, to the entertainment of thousands of people who would later watch him all over the internet. This is one of the very first viral videos. Later, the guy who made this movie, began asking questions about the real Jack Rebney.
The film-makers eventually find Jack Rebney atop a mountain in California in isolation and start a relationship with him. They tell Jack how many, many people have come to love his video, but he treats the notoriety with disdain. Eventually, they help Jack meet his fans at a film festival and bring some joy to a crotchety, old man. He finally smiles and admits that he had a good time thanks to those good people, which is what it’s all about.
This movie feels genuine, and I have to complement the interviewers. They don’t seem to censor Jack Rebney at all, although he probably should be. He just tells it like it is, and he feels he’s too old to tell it any other way. After a while of watching the movie, you can see that the swearing and the carrying on is not who he really is. He is like everyone’s grandfather, a good guy. Maybe opinionated, but Jack is very intelligent and human, and the movie really treats him well. Very well. This documentary is just great.
You’d think the offensive nature of the YouTube video might rub off on the documentary. Not so, because even the most obtuse person can see that even Jack Rebney deserves a little good humor and praise. The film-makers seem very selfless and very patient, treating Jack to a trip to a film festival, where a packed house is ready to meet the legend. He is the guest of honor. We can see it’s a treat for him and he gets to meet some of the young people in the crowd after the show.
Overall, this is a great documentary. It is not a trip through Jack’s life or an expose, but it is merely a peek into how he thinks, how he lives, and what he makes of all this notoriety. I think the best part of the movie is the trip to the film festival, but there are many other humorous moments throughout the whole thing, where Jack swears and is as crotchety as you might expect. This documentary doesn’t tell you much about Jack’s background or his former marriage, but it still feels personal, maybe because of the hand-held shooting style. The investigation into the “mystery” of how this viral video got so popular is just a bonus, and is interesting too. Myself, I like this movie for the humor, and I think even an old guy like Jack can appreciate that.