Nick and Chris Libbey, the Minnesota brother/filmmaker duo, are back with another loving portrait of what life is like in this state. Last month, the Libbeys released a short documentary honoring our spirited, even cheerful endurance of a snowstorm.
This time, the Libbeys set their sights on a target that makes Minnesotans happy for more obvious reasons: the state high school hockey tournament. Only, they're not focusing in on the talented teens playing the games. This is about the fans.
As in their Minnesota winter effort, the Libbeys specialize in man-on-the-street color; or, in this case, man-at-the-bar. Capturing lifelong fans and former high school players, much of the film plays out in a variety of local liquor landmarks — the Liffey and Gopher Bar both feature prominently — with interviewees often a couple beers deep. Maybe a couple dozen.
One of the more telling moments in the film comes at a Carbone's Pizza in Farmington. A server tells filmmakers that people are "skippin' work, comin' out, drinkin' lots of beers, eating lots of pizza."
Moments later, cut to: A guy turning down an interview and getting away from the filmmakers, saying, "No, I'm at work. I can't be here."
At about 15 minutes, this movie's more than twice as long as the Libbeys' ode to winter. Corey Roberts, one of the film's executive producers, told the Pioneer Press that it was supposed to be much shorter, but they just couldn't cut it down.
"The content was so rich and good and authentic and real," Roberts said.
See for yourself.