Some Days Are Better Than Others

Film
2 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

The wit and intelligence of director Matt McCormick's short films (see 2002's "The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal") show up fitfully in the filmmaker's first feature, a listless tale of three underemployed Oregonians. Cast largely with untrained actors and musician friends, including Shins singer James Mercer and Sleater-Kinney alumna Carrie Brownstein, Some Days unspools in a depressive deadpan that might be more effective were the characters' plights not so clearly of their own making. Eli (Mercer) is a slacker longing for the shelter of academia, working temp jobs to pay down his college debt; Katrina (Brownstein) is a human doormat who thinks becoming a reality-TV star will bring her validation and lacks the courage to confront a faithless ex-boyfriend; Camille (Roman Nose) is a thrift-store worker in a funk after a funeral urn turns up in a donation pile, her only meaningful relationship being with a jar full of ash.

Some Days wallows in its protagonists' aimless dissatisfaction, only to reduce their career-minded counterparts to caricatures, like the fratboy vulture who hires Mercer to clean out a deceased woman's house. (He spends the entire job spewing sexual innuendo into his Bluetooth headset and reveling in the late grandma's liquor supply.) Better, in McCormick's eyes, to be an elderly widower videotaping the refraction of light through films of soap---an art-quirky affectation that makes American Beauty's wayward plastic bag look positively profound.

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