Film and TV

Winnebago Man sets out to find the YouTube star known as "The Angriest Man in the World"

Opening with a deeply sincere "I don't give a fuck!" Austin filmmaker Ben Steinbauer's investigative doc Winnebago Man sets out to prove the contrary. Steinbauer's mission is to find Jack Rebney, the hitherto-anonymous pitchman whose fabulously profane tantrums during the course of making a 1989 RV infomercial — amid a plague of insects on the hottest days of an Iowa summer — led to YouTube stardom two decades later. Rebney's performance, popularly known as "The Angriest Man in the World," was a five-minute clip reel produced by the crew as an act of vengeance. Originally a bootleg VHS tape dubbed and passed from hand to hand, the reel went viral once posted online and subsequently entered popular culture. Steinbauer offers other examples of YouTube boobery — the haplessly uncoordinated "Star Wars Kid" and malapropism-prone positive thinker Aleksey Vayner — then documents his search for Rebney.

Turns out that the Winnebago man is a hermit living atop a California mountain with a dog named Buddha; he's also a former broadcast journalist and the author of a screed titled Jousting With the Myth: An Heretical Analysis of God, Religion, Sex, and Politics. Rebney's good-natured calm and apparent indifference to his Internet notoriety initially foils the filmmaker. Hoping to re-create the original clip reel, Steinbauer is nonplussed and abashed. Was it all an act — or is this? Pay your money and find out.

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J. Hoberman
Contact: J. Hoberman