There are many things to like about Lowry Hill Liquors. First, it’s one of the cheapest places to buy alcohol in the Twin Cities. Second, they give away a bag of free ice with every purchase. Finally, if you’re lucky, you’ll be rung up by cashier and burgeoning filmmaker Beck DeRobertis, who always has a funny catchphrase to say as he rings you up—and if you’re a football fan, will likely commiserate with your team’s success or failure of the week. Currently, you can also purchase a copy of his comedic short film, Wingman, which the MCAD grad wrote, directed and starred, for $5 at the counter.
DeRobertis is hard to miss. Nearly always clad in some kind of Vikings gear, he’s an avid football fan, gaining fame for his “Bring Moss Back” blog. He started working at Lowry Hill Liquors in 2007, when he worked for eight months before getting “released” for tardiness, he says. He went and worked for Crown Video until it went under, before returning to Lowry Hill Liquors with what he describes as a “lucrative contract” of five years for $5,000. In December, he graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) with a degree in film.
The management at Lowry Hill Liquors has been very supportive of the film, allowing DeRobertis to sell copies at the counter. Manager Tim Roble says DeRobertis pitched the idea to him, and he and the other managers agreed. Many of the store’s customers are regulars, and often DeRobertis knows everybody by their name and team affiliations.
DeRobertis has always been interested in films. When he was 12, he began seriously watching movies and studying the careers of directors. He’s especially a fan of Woody Allen, and you can see that influence in Wingman, which features a rather flawed main character struggling in an effort to find love.
The plot is fairly simple. Eric (played by DeRobertis) and his cousin Dan (Danny August Moon) are at a bar, and Eric talks rather crassly about wanting desperately to get laid. They scope out the bar and narrow in on Ginger (Jennifer Stokka), an attractive young woman who doesn’t seem to mind when they approach her. Unfortunately for Eric, his cousin turns out to not be a very good wingman, and goes after the young woman himself.
The film had an extremely small budget production and a three-day shoot. Director of photography was Ryan “Kron” Thompson, who has shot music videos for Bon Iver, Brother Ali, and Frank Ocean, DeRobertis says.
DeRobertis based the main character on someone that he’s met, a “good-natured but slightly perverted nerd who doesn’t feel confident enough in himself to meet women, so he takes on this pseudo-frat-boy persona that he’s seen in American Pie or Axe Body Spray commercials because he thinks that’s going to help him meet women,” DeRobertis says. “He would be a lot better off if he would just be himself.” Ultimately, the story is about “the futility of trying to go out of your way to complete missions of romantic conquests,” DeRobertis says.
Other projects DeRobertis has been a part of recently have included The Team Presents, which makes short comedy videos for MPLS.TV; and acting in a feature length film by Britni West called Tired Moonlight that was shot in Montana, co-starring with St. Paul “punk poet” Paul D. Dickinson. He says he’s also going to be making a feature-length film called Sidewalk University, a selection of comedic short stories that take place “on the mean streets of Minneapolis.”
Correction: This article originally stated that Beck DeRobertis attended the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. In fact, he attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. This error has been corrected.