Saturday, September 25, 2010

WINNEBAGO MAN - Great F#?%!NG Movie

Well you know The Reel Rhino usually runs a nice, clean, family friendly show.  In honor of the star of WINNEBAGO MAN, Jack Rebney, the internet-proclaimed "Angriest Man Alive," I had to cut loose a little bit!

JACK REBNEY takes cursing to the next level.  He has a unique and resonating voice and to hear him unleash a torrent of rage is almost poetic.

I will be honest with you in that until I heard of this movie, I had not ever heard of THE WINNEBAGO MAN.  The YouTube clips are hilarious, yes they are...check it out for yourself if you haven't seen them - BEWARE - These are not safe for work!

This movie is directed by Ben Steinbauer and he plays an active role on-screen as well.  He is both our on-screen guide and narrator.  Some of narrated dialogue comes off as overly scripted, but by far, his end product far overshadows any  shortcomings.

This is a great movie.  With funny material at its core and a beating heart to go with it.  Things play out in three parts.  The first act is Steinbauer discussing his experiences enjoying the Winnebago Man footage.  He looks at how Rebney existed as a viral video, long, long before the term viral video even existed.  This guy became a sensation, without the internet.  He became a sensation from people dubbing VHS tapes and passing them among their friends.  If you wanted to share this footage, you actually had to do some work.  It wasn't until the advent of YouTube that Rebney's popularity really hit stride....and all the while, Rebney himself had no idea.  This first act is about Steinbauer's desire to get to the heart of this phenomenon....and maybe to meet the man behind the magic.

Steinbauer reaches out to the found footage and underground video community and he learns more about the legendary video clips.  Events take off after Steinbauer manages to track Rebney down and even set up a meeting with him.  This leads to act two...getting to know the man.

As for describing the structure of this film, I will stop there.  There really aren't spoilers, to say, for it is a documentary.  It is all based on real life and it is all dealing with clips that have been viewed millions of times over.  I went into this film knowing very little and it enhanced my enjoyment.

I will share with my feelings on the film and more specifically, Rebney.  At the outset, seeing the clips made me laugh.  Hell, they are funny and if you don't think so, yikes!  It is funny to hear a grown man, with such a distinctive voice, get utterly frustrated and to let his curse-flag fly.  But as the film progresses, you start to feel things moving more towards tragedy than comedy.

In the movie, Steinbauer interviews a variety of people, but it is his talk with the hosts of a found footage show that are the most revealing.  When Steinbaier asked them if they have ever tried to track Rebney down, they both answer with a resounding, NO!  They go on to explain, it's funny to anonymously laugh at strangers, but the minute you get to know that stranger as a person, the hilarity turns to tragedy. 

So true, if you think about the clips and photos that get circulated via probably received some today.  We don't know these people and we can laugh at them.  If you got a picture of your brother or sister sent to you, passed-out drunk, with a bucket over their wouldn't be'd be pissed. 

Steinbauer's approach manages to humanize Jack Rebney.  There are a few unsettling moments in this film, but I think that ultimately this film could be called a flattering portrayal of Jack Rebney.  This is a very compelling and endearing portrait of a sometimes angry man, whom by the end of the movie, you actually care for.

As someone in the film put it, (paraphrased)
~ he is really a sweet guy, kinda like my angry grandfather. ~

The man Jack Rebney reminds me of how I felt for Clint Eastwood's character, Walt Kowalski, in Gran Torino.  Yes, Walt was capable of being a miserable old cuss...but at the end of the day, you couldn't help yourself for rooting for him.

The Reel Rhino gives this a solid 5 of 5 horns and says get out there and see this at all costs. 

I had to opt to NOT go and see CATFISH, which was playing in Kansas City at one theater, for just one day.  Catfish previews have been playing in front of some big name movies, so I am sure it will eventually get a wide- or semi-wide run.  I will see it then, but I'll have to keep working to avoid any talk on it.  From what I have heard, the colder you go into CATFISH, the better.

I just watched I'M STILL HERE, which is currently available on TIME-WARNER On-Demand.  I will try and write on it soon.  I loved it.  I know that up until recently, controversy existed as to the authenticity of this film as a documentary. 

I will say simply, even now with director Casey Affleck admitting publicly that this film is in fact, a piece of performance art or some type of mockumentary, there is a part of me that thinks he is lying.  If this was solely acted, Joaquin gave the performance of his life.  If it is in fact a hoax, I think that Casey will be competing with big brother Ben for an Oscar nod and that Phoenix should be the shoe-in favorite for Best Actor.  But that this "hoax" was intended to mock the press, to mock celebrity, I think that these seemingly great semi-scripted performances will be tainted come awards season by how much people were duped.  And by the way, I think Phoenix is good, but not that good.  I think calling this performance art became Joaquin Phoenix's only way to save face...he walked the plank and he needed some way back.  I enjoy his fictional work, but this was too visceral to be a set-up...there was real pain, real frustration, real passion, and real hate in his eyes.  When he hurt, you could see he was hurt for real. 

For now, Reel Rhino out.
Catch you later....

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    There are many people in this world who have been inspired by movies to do something big in their lives.