I originally wrote this post for Rock Chicks Rule!, but, it has nothing at all to do with rock chicks, so I’m moving it here. This is one of my favorite movies, like, ever …
OK, I love loud, snotty punk rock, fist-pumping hard rock, and gory, brutal horror movies, but I also appreciate a good independent drama. Dakota Skye (2008) is more than a good independent drama – it’s an amazing independent drama, and one of my favorite films ever! Dakota Skye (Eileen Boylan) is 18-years-old, only “medium cute” [which is an understatement!], and has a superpower – she is incapable of being lied to. Dakota sees the truth when people tell lies (like reading subtitles in a foreign film). Friends, family, teachers, even her boyfriend Kevin (J.B. Ghuman Jr) lie, and she accepts that, but is bitter and angry all the time because of it. But, then, she meets her nemesis, a cute stoner boy named Jonah (Ian Nelson). Jonah is Kevin’s best friend, and he, it seems, is incapable of lying. Or is he just impervious to Dakota‘s powers?
Dakota Skye was directed by John Humber, and written by Chad J. Shonk. This brilliant little film is a fanboy’s idea of a romantic comedy/drama. However, if you’ve never seen Dakota Skye, and are thinking, at this point, that the movie is about costumed superheroes, well, think again. Yes, Dakota has the “superpower” to see the truth, but the idea of Jonah as her nemesis is purely metaphorical. Watch the trailer here:
Everything about this movie is amazing, from the script to the acting, right down to the cinematography with beautiful Arizona landscapes as a backdrop. At one point, Dakota, reluctantly, asks Jonah to come over. She gets in his car and tells him to drive, and he does until, hours later, they end up at the Grand Canyon. “That’s a big fucking hole,” Dakota observes. “That’s a Grand fucking hole,” Jonah clarifies, as Dakota lays her head on his shoulder, gazing out at the wonder. Beautiful. Every single scene in this film is a pure unashamed pleasure to watch, but, a few, for me, stand above the rest.
First up is the scene that made me realize how amazingly special this movie is. It’s the scene where Jonah drops Dakota off at her home after a brief visit to Papago Park. Jonah gets out of the car, too, stopping her. He wants to tell her that he likes her but can’t because Kevin is his best friend, but, at Dakota‘s urging, he tells her even though he can’t tell her. The earnest delivery of this dialogue by Boylan and Nelson leaves me grinning ear-to-ear every time I watch this scene. Writer Chad J. Shonk, in the extras, said that the words Jonah speaks were from an actual letter that he wrote to someone. Watch this amazing scene here:
Next up is the scene at the club where Kevin‘s band is playing the night of Dakota and Jonah‘s return from the Grand Canyon. Kevin is in a punk band called Brookhaven Three, even though there are four members. “I don’t know, I don’t get it either,” Dakota admits to Jonah in an earlier scene. Kevin pulls Dakota on stage to sing a duet with him, as Jonah watches, in the crowd, his heart breaking. This scene is cool because we know that Kevin is not a bad guy, so we, too, are torn between Kevin and Jonah, just like Dakota. The song they sing is called “Got My List” and was originally by a Reno, NV, hardcore punk band called 7 Seconds, but was also covered as an acoustic ballad by Jonah Matranga, whose song “Crush On Everyone” is also used in Dakota Skye. Matranga also fronted an awesome alt-rock band called Gratitude who released one great self-titled album (2005). Anyway, in the movie Boylan and Ghuman actually sing the song. It’s a cool scene and a cool song. Speaking of music, some of the awesomely cool songs on the soundtrack to Dakota Skye are by a now-defunct band called The Mercy Kiss. Bay Dariz, a founding member of that band, plays Jacob, Brookhaven Three‘s guitar player, and he wrote the songs the band performs in the movie. Well, except for “Got My List”. Watch this cool scene here:
Finally, I love the scene near the end, in the bowling alley, where Jonah tells Dakota that he’s in love with her. The only response that Dakota can muster, to Jonah‘s confusion, is “How do I know?” Dakota has lived her entire life knowing what is true and what is not, knowing how people truly feel. She knows that Kevin doesn’t really love her (even though he thinks he does), but he’s a nice guy and they have fun, plus his looks don’t make her want to vomit. But, with Jonah, she becomes one of us, a mere mortal. We mere mortals have to accept that the people who say they love us really do. We don’t really know if they do or not. We trust. But, Dakota doesn’t know how to trust because she’s never had to. Is Jonah telling the truth? Does he really love her? Or is he lying and she just can’t see the truth? But, in the end, Dakota learns that not everything is black and white in the world and that, sometimes, lies are not that different from the truth. “Same difference. Whatever,” Kevin says, and those three words change Dakota‘s entire world view. “Same difference. Whatever.”
Dakota Skye is not for everyone. I absolutely love it and have watched it more times than I care to admit. If you watch nothing but big-budgeted mainstream Hollywood movies, you will probably not like it. But, give it a try anyway, and, you just might be surprised.