Portland. With images of co-op shops selling trinkets and totes with birds on them, grizzly bearded men dressed in plaid, and tattooed girls riding Dutch bikes, the city's been the backdrop of hipster dreams ever since indie kids got tired of Brooklyn.
The film stars Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia) as Katrina, a reality television-hopeful who works at an animal shelter; James Mercer (of The Shins) as Eli, a slacker working a series of temp jobs to barely make ends meet; and Renee Roman Nose as Camille, a worker at a thrift store distribution plant who unexpectedly finds an urn.
While Some Days Are Better Than Others has its moments of ironic dark humor, the film is anything but a comedy. McCormick examines each character individually and spends an incredible amount of time on each so that the audience picks up on their respective quirks, internal struggles, and overall personalities.
Together, the characters share an underlying element of loneliness, some form of heartbreak, and similar employment in less-than-promising jobs.
Katrina, like the dogs she looks after at the shelter, feels unwanted, and dreams of being on a reality television in order to feel loved by the masses. She's a little compulsive, and finds that her boyfriend has been cheating on her after reading his e-mails.
Brownstein proves her acting versatility with Katrina, a more complex character than she's used to playing on IFC's Portlandia. Indie music's James Mercer even acts.
He made a cameo playing himself on Portlandia, along with other Porland-based musicians, but had never tackled a dramatic role. As Eli, he's an intellectual slacker that values his relationship with Ottis, his widowed step-grandfather played by David Wodehouse.
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Renee Roman Nose's character, Camille, is arguably the film's loneliest. Her job sifting through other people's memories trigger sad ones of her own.
The city of Portland is just as much a character in the film as the actual characters in the film are. And while it seems to constantly rain in Portlandia, some days truly are better than others.
Some Days Are Better Than Others opens Thursday, August 4 at Film Bar.