DAYLIGHT SAVINGS, part two in the SURROGATE VALENTINE Trilogy, is THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK of this offbeat universe that writer-director Dave Boyle has engineered with his star, collaborator, muse and drinking buddy, Goh Nakamura. Darker than the more lighter toned, and sometimes silly SURROGATE VALENTINE, this next chapter in the life of musician Goh Nakamura is a moodier piece, as our lovable loser in love looks like he’s hit the jackpot in the opening minutes of the film. We see him in a committed relationship with a young professor living in Los Angeles (Ayako Fujitani exuding Japanese pixieness to kawaii effect), and it looks like he can finally move on with his longing crush with childhood pal, Rachel (Lynn Chen) . Goh and his new love are laying in bed, enjoying a Sunday afternoon, when a TV commercial airs advertising depression medication (it might as well be erectile dysfunction) and we learn that Goh scored the music for this nationally televised commercial. The professor then looks into his eyes and whispers, “You’ve made it.” At that moment, you know this relationship is doomed.
Soon enough, Goh gets the “break up” conversation (on Skype no less), as his usual hangdog expression gets droopier and more expressionless. Enter in Goh’s loose-cannon cousin, Michael (Michael Aki from STRANGERS and SUNSETS), who is set on a mission to get our eponymous hero to the road trip of his life, which includes attending the San Juan Bautista Film Festival, and getting him over to Vegas to meet up with Yea-Ming (the luminous Yea-Ming Chen of the SF band DreamDate), a singer-songwriter of the similar Asian pixie fashion, and hopefully, get the man laid! What transpires is a transformative six days for Goh, as he embarks on an existential journey that includes an encounter with some Hells Angels, constant calls from the Professor, a magical evening in Vegas that harkens to BEFORE SUNRISE, and a visit to the sight where James Dean, the man, became legend.
The cinematography should be noted -- shot in scope, the desert vistas are impressive, capturing barren landscapes that make Goh seem truly alone in the world. In addition, the scenes in Vegas are reminiscent of Ken Mackenzie's luminous cult classic, THE EXILES, capturing the hopes and dreams of young people basked in neon afterglow. In the end, DAYLIGHT SAVINGS is perhaps better than SURROGATE VALENTINE, for this is the chapter where Goh is tested through his walkabout of pain and heartbreak. What more could a singer-songwriter want, right?
DOUBLE FEATURE SPECIAL: Experience both SURROGATE VALENTINE and SURROGATE VALENTINE 2: DAYLIGHT SAVINGS for the special double feature price of $18. To order this special double feature ticket, click here.
Synopsis written by: Anderson Le