Addressing the ever-shrinking credibility of rock journalism since 2007. With a sasquatch.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Off The Shelf: Winnebago Man

Mr. Jack Rebney is what is known the recreational vehicle industry call a "hard sell" salesman.

Internet video-based television shows like Comedy Central's Tosh.O or True TV's endless parade of security cam footage is enough to give every oddball and mugger his own 15 minutes of shame. Many of the clips on these Internet based shows come from funny moments in relatively normal lives or from new web-based comedy series like The Retarded Policeman or Tourette's Guy. These shows and clips get serious attention in terms of millions of daily viewers.

In July of 2010, Winnebago Man, a web-based film based on the life of a video and internet celeb named Jack Rebney was released in U.S. theaters. The comedy-documentary concerns Rebney, an angry white Winnebago salesman, who can't seem to maintain his composure or remember any of his lines. His on-the-job meltdowns were all captured on video in the 80's and passed around on VHS tapes as collectors items, before exploding into an Internet phenomenon seen by millions.

Director Ben Steinbauer, Jack Rebney and Michael Moore.
Director Ben Steinbauer, Jack Rebney and Michael Moore at SXSW 2010.

Film maker Ben Steinbauer sets out to interview Mr. Rebney who, 20 years from the original video shoots that made him a poster boy for Tourettes, is now in his 60's and living in a remote mountain area in California.

Steinbauer's film is extremely funny as well as sometimes a touching tearjerker. Jack Rebney is a fascinating and lovable character who is extremely intelligent, honest and full of colorful dialog.


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