Starbucking The Movie (a review)

I recently made a purchase on Amazon US for a DVD called Starbucking. All I knew about it was about a guy who has made it his life’s work to visit every Starbucks in the world. My motivation to buy it I think was to sneer at this guy doing this really strange project, and also wondering a little if this was some sort of promotional thing Starbucks had set up.

In the beginning I had no connection with this main character Winter. He seems very excitable a little immature and very strange. Straight away you realise there is no corporate intervention here, if they were going to select someone he wouldn’t be your guy. You can see the physical and mental strain Starbucks PR department must have with Winter. They want all the good publicity he brings (and he gets treated like a mini superstar when he arrives at a “bucks”). But you can see they want to keep him at arms length as he is very unpredictable, he is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

The more the film goes on, the more I begin to warm to him as a person. Yes he’s strange but he loves this mini celebrity he has become, and you realise Starbucks is just the vehicle he has found to make people be interested in him, and more importantly to give him direction. In fact Starbucks really doesn’t mater, it could be anything or any one in the world. The coffee became less important in the film and the whole looking at someone’s life became the primary focus. I didn’t even mind he liked Starbucks (although I was desperate to pull him a real shot of something to wake him up). There seemed a different personality to Winter when he was talking about what he did than we he was doing at it.

You get insight into his personal life. The relationships he builds seem to be very transient and very shallow a little like his everyday life driving up and down the country for coffee (even swapping continents). He doesn’t seem to have a lot of substance to anything he does apart from a drive to do what he does and become a celebrity.

You also find out a little about his upbringing, and his real name isn’t winter. In fact you don’t really know who he is apart from a loner who goes to Starbucks.

I finished up upside down from my original expectations of the movie. I really enjoyed it, I didn’t expect too, I thought I’d hate the guy, I really liked him, and I thought I’d hate his goal and you know I loved it. Its something he can really never achieve I’m sure he knows it but he carries on, because it gives him some notoriety, it gives him a goal and it makes him feel good. Great film.

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  1. Ha! Funny you should mention Winter. I just heard from him the other day. As you know, I used to do a spot of managing for Big Green. One day I came into my store and my baristas were all excited because this guy came in the night before…some guy who was trying to hit ever Starbucks ever, etc., etc. I knew about him and was a little sorry I had missed him. The next day, however, when I came in in the morning, there he was, sitting at one of my tables. I immediately recognized him and went in to say hi. We chatted a bit and whatnot. After that he visited my store whenever he was in town (Philadelphia).

    Well, the other day I get an email from him out of the blue. He had been the first customer at a Philly area sbux opening and my old district manager recognized him and gave him the scoop that I had started my own company and all. He sent a nice email and said he’d come by when he was home (he lives in Texas). No big deal. Just funny timing.

  2. WOW I’m impressed Aaron. Was he as hyped in real life (I wondered if he was playing to the cameras a little).

    As I say I thought he came out at the end as a cool guy with an idea, it could have so easily been anything else. Good watch.

  3. It does sound on the surface as the perfect vehicle for one of life’s, shall we say “eccentrics” ? and having not seen the film but reading the comments shows that as with most things there is more than what appears on the surface.
    As usual Steve’s honesty is refreshing and I too having seen the title, started to read to amuse myself at the ridiculous nature of this guys ambition. I wonder if when he starting this he had any idea of the mini celebrity status he seems to have achieved and as we all like a bit of attention now and again, I wonder how intoxicating this becomes as time goes on and more attention is given!…………
    its hard enough to find something to make people smile on some days and another example that coffee/coffee related stuff can help do that, even *$$ (sorry cant resist) makes me smile as well …………….
    great stuff more power to the chap but it does make me wonder what is a man to do once all outlets have been done !!!!!!!!! or will the green machine take over the world and open more shops per day than this man can visit ??
    ** shudder **

  4. he’s pretty much the same on and off the camera. i’m sure it has to be a gratifying feeling when strangers recognize you, as i did when he came to my store, especially back then before the movie came out and before he got “big time.” fun stuff.

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