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With: Carrie Brownstein, James Mercer, Renee Roman Nose, David Wodehouse, Erin McGarry, Benjamin Farmer
Written by: Matt McCormick
Directed by: Matt McCormick
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 93
Date: 03/12/2010

Some Days Are Better Than Others (2011)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Life Sucks, and Is Beautiful

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In Some Days Are Better Than Others, one character, Katrina (Carrie Brownstein) dreams of getting on a reality TV show. She shows up to a seminar that provides audition videos, makeup artists, and other services toward that end. The irony that this stuff has very little to do with "reality" is not lost on the film. But what is lost on the film is the idea of "independent" movies.

Indie movies used to be available to filmmakers that wanted to tell very personal stories on a low budget. Now they appear to be a business, as regulated and controlled and manufactured as big budget movies are. This movie throws in a healthy dose of "quirky" shots and montages as if they were required. The very typical "indie rock" music score features the typical liquidy guitars and even the typical backwards masking on one track to make things sound "weird."

Writer/director Matt McCormick also throws two cool indie musicians into his cast, just to round things out. Brownstein is a member of the late, great band Sleater-Kinney and James Mercer is a member of the Shins. They play two of three major characters, and the movie jumps back and forth between their separate storylines, bringing them together for a vague connection in the final ten minutes. Besides her reality TV obsession, Katrina works at a pet shelter and has just lost her boyfriend of five years. She mopes around, considers taking an overdose of sleeping pills and checks his e-mail.

Mercer plays Eli, a slacker that wants to go back to school but is too heavily in debt. He works crappy temp jobs, such as one terrible one emptying out the house of an old dead lady. He's in love with his lesbian roommate Chloe (Erin McGarry), and hangs out with his step-grandfather Otis (David Wodehouse), who is making a film about soap bubbles. Finally, there's poor Camille (Renee Roman Nose), who gets the short shift in the narrative. She barely has any dialogue as a worker at a thrift store that finds the discarded urn containing the ashes of a young girl.

Though it's fairly easy to pick on the film for its quirky, indie quality, McCormick's rhythms eventually find their groove. The movie has very little to say other than the fact that sometimes life sucks, sometimes people die, and sometimes things are OK. But sometimes little moments seem to find their footing, such as a long day where Eli has been hired to videotape the changing light on a beach. He borrows Otis' car and he and Otis sit and talk about life. In another good scene, Katrina pretends to interview herself, and finds herself speaking the truth for the first time.

I get the impression that McCormick at least tried to put himself on the line with this material, as some of it feels heartfelt, but at the same time, the film seems just as aimless as Eli, as if McCormick were trying out filmmaking as a temp job.

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