WITH SOME DAYS Are Better than Others, local filmmaker Matt McCormick is responsible for some of the prettiest footage of Portland you'll ever see. Whether he's shooting an overpass or the inside of a Goodwill, McCormick's representation of the city is arresting, with a heft and depth that demand you consider Some Days as a visual statement as well as a narrative one.
By the unavoidable metrics of character and plot, though, Some Days is a flop, with a predictable, overlapping-lives setup that's doused in hipster melancholy and uninspired quirk. The film follows Eli (the Shins' James Mercer), Katrina (Portlandia/Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein), and Camille (Renee Roman Nose; not a rock star), three lonely Portlanders filling their empty lives in different ways.
Mercer's low-key performance is fine, but you'll want to slap his unmotivated, diffident character as he works a series of demeaning temp jobs and harbors a hopeless crush on his lesbian roommate. Renee Roman Nose doesn't have much to work with as the quiet Camille, a depressed/depressing Goodwill employee who, for no reason we're given to understand, becomes obsessed with a donated urn. But worst of all—and this is painful for a longtime Sleater-Kinney obsessive to acknowledge—is Brownstein's performance as Katrina, the Saddest Hipster. The Saddest Hipster compulsively hacks her ex-boyfriend's email account to read his mail, crafts hats out of stuffed animals, and works on her reality TV show audition tape. The character is a note-perfect embodiment of the very clichés that Brownstein takes aim at in her sketch comedy show Portlandia, and Brownstein's dour performance lacks both nuance and depth.
David Wodehouse as Otis, Eli's step-grandpa, provides a small grace note. Sure, wringing pathos out of a lonely old man isn't exactly tough, but Wodehouse brings dignity to a character that could've easily been just another float in Some Days' sad-sack parade.
The hipster class likes to make movies about themselves, which is fine—as long as those movies can distinguish themselves somehow, as another local filmmaker, Aaron Katz, did with his recent noir Cold Weather. Some Days, though, just feels like the desiccated husk of a Miranda July movie, drained of all humor and joy.