Nicholas Sparks Movies: A rundown of the good, the bad and the downright cheesy

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I hope you guys enjoyed my double posting yesterday – HINT: I accidentally scheduled both posts for Tuesday instead of Tuesday and Wednesday, and I realized this at work. Sometimes I really do wonder if I’m as smart as my mom thinks I am…

To continue our nice cheese venture we will today take a look at the Nicholas Sparks movie adaptations I’ve seen.  Of the nine movie adaptions Sparks produced I’ve seen seven, which you can see listed below. The other two are Message in a Bottle and Nights in Rodanthe is definitely something I’ll find the time to watch and then come tell you all about it.

When you willingly choose to watch a Nicholas Sparks movie, you can know for a fact that it will be unbelievable, inconceivable and utterly romantic. Nicholas Sparks is Disney for grownups – the male lead is sensitive and wants you to love him eternally and the woman is damn lucky to find him wandering on her little stretch of Southern American road. There will be villains but mostly there will be love and adventure and lots of smooch time.

Still, I can watch most of these movies and have fun while doing it. It sets you on an emotional high and even though it creates a false idea in your head permanently that men are like that, you still feel pretty happy afterwards (the depression sets in when Spark’s kills someone, and he loves killing, that man)

Nic Sparks movies watched, ranked from best to worst:

The Notebook (2004)

A Walk To Remember (2002)

The Lucky One (2012)

Dear John (2010)

Safe Haven (2013)

The Last Song (2010)

Best of Me (2014)

Female Leads

First Place: Rachel McAdams as Allie Hamilton

Allie Hamilton

Rachel McAdams has always been the epitome of class to me. Even from her days as skanky Regina George, McAdams made sure you notice her and it wasn’t surprising to anyone that she became the most successful of the Mean Girls clan. McAdams plays a darling Southern girl perfectly and even though she is hampered by the time she grows up in Allie Hamilton still gets her say in things and she is determined.

Second Place: Mandy Moore as Jamie Sullivan

Jamie Sullivan

A Walk to Remember went down when Mandy Moore was still relevant, and I’m surprised this didn’t take her even further into fame. She manages to be the sweet, innocent and sincere Jamie without being too sugary and that is a mean feat to achieve. She also worked really well with Shane West, and they complement each other well enough so that you end up sobbing for them. I really do enjoy A Walk to Remember – it is a book and a movie where Nicholas Sparks was still original and had fresh ideas, and you couldn’t predict what would happen.

#bringBackOriginality

Third Place: Amanda Seyfried as Savannah Curtis

DEAR JOHN

Amanda Seyfried probably ranks as one of my favorite young female actresses. I love her unique looks and her acting ability. She always seems so sweet and pure and that made her perfect as Savannah. I don’t think she has a lot of chemistry with Channing Tatum but they made a good pair onscreen and I also really liked Savannah’s character – she put others above her own needs and cared for the people in her life.

Honorable mention: Miley Cyrus as Ronnie Miller

I used to adore Miley Cyrus. Really, I know she grated on everybody’s nerves long before she grated against Robin Thicke, but I’ve always liked her voice. She wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination a good actress in the The Last Song, but it was pretty much the last time we all understood Miley Cyrus. I also really liked her and Hemsworth together (reunite now, lovebirds!)

Male Leads: Deliciousness always

nicholas-sparks-movie-actors-hotties

To land a spot as the main man in a Nicholas Sparks movie, there are two main requirements:

One: Be so hot you are one of the main culprits in a sudden increase in global warming

Two: Have the ability to look pained/pensive/heroic with extra benefits if you can do all these at once.

That said, most actors in these adaptions have done a very good job and they are all fine actors. I think some of them like Channing Tatum and Zac Efron (Especially Efron) are still proving themselves in Hollywood and romantic movies is a good way to get noticed #MatthewMcConaughey

First Place: Ryan Gosling as Noah Calhoun

Noah

My favorite actor in this set of movies is definitely Ryan Gosling: I love the man, I loved Noah in the books and how Gosling represented Noah in the adaption. Gosling himself is three hundred percent charm and can act exceptionally well. The Chemistry between the main characters is another topic but the intense attraction between Gosling and McAdams also contribute greatly to the success of both their roles.

Second Place: Shane West as Landon Carter

landon-carter

Shane West has the perfect face and personality to be the angry teenager with a chip on his shoulder. He worked as Landon Carter as few others could have and he brought the change that took place in Landon after he met Jamie to the table authentically. He had very decent character development – Landon was a spoiled rich kid that found something more rewarding to live for than getting in trouble all the time.

Third Place: James Marsden as Dawson Cole

James marsden BOM

I had a truckload of issues with this movie, but James Marsden as the leading man in Best of Me was a good choice, even if he had no chemistry with Michelle Monaghan. Marsden is cute as hell, he can act, he has gorgeous blue eyes and he is a perfect mix of defiance and sweetness in his portrayal of Cole.

Honorable mention: Zac Efron as Logan Thibault

Logan 1

For the sake of full disclosure, I’m admitting I just wanted him on here because he’s so gorgeous. That, and he really did the sad, hardworking ex-marine thing well (go talk to Zoë about that obsession of mine)

logan dog

Yes, It’s Zac Efron holding a dog. You’re welcome!

Death of a Central Character:

Contenders:

George Martin

Suzanne Collins

Veronica Roth

JK Rowling

Nicholas Sparks

In this epic battle Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins would square off, but I think Collins would win as the most psycho writer because we loved Finnick WAY more than we loved Tris, right? Then as our next set of contenders we would have George Martin killing Nicholas Sparks without mercy (beheading, of course) while JK Rowling would not even notice them and keep writing in her castle, smugly, because she killed Dumbledore, Mad-Eye, Hedwig, Dobby, Lupin, Tonks, Fred, Sirius and Snape within a book and a half.

My point here is that Sparks sure loves killing people off but it is usually after they’ve gotten some bits of happiness in. The impact is also less because his books are singular entries and not a continuing series, so your attachment, book or movie-wise is not gut wrenching forever.

The title for the saddest Nicholas Sparks movie is shared by The Notebook and A Walk To Remember. You can still argue that A Walk To Remember is worst, because Noah and Allie end up together for a few decades before they both die whereas Jamie dies on Landon a few months after they fall in love.

Book Vs Movie

book vs movie

But will I rewatch?

Best of Me (2014): No. It’s mediocre at best and there are far better alternatives if you want some cheesy romance.

Safe Haven (2013): Maybe – It’s not horrid but it’s not the best movie either

The Lucky One (2012): It has Zac Efron in, I definitely will

The Last Song (2010):  Hmmm, maybe.

The Notebook (2004): You mean apart from the other ten times I’ve rewatched? Then yes.

Dear John (2010): Hmmm, maybe.

A Walk to Remember (2002): Definitely. Nothing better than a good cry 😀

Hope you enjoyed this enormous post! Let me know what your opinions are about the movies you’ve seen on this list!

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Movie Review: Dear John (2010)

kissing scene

Le Sparks movie means le-kissing-in-the-rain

Staff Sergeant John Tyree meets Savannah on the beach during summer vacation. John is introduced to one of Savannah’s friends, Tim (Henry Thomas) who has an autistic son Alan (Luke Benward). Savannah meets John’s father (Richard Jenkins) and comments that he might have high-functioning autism. This upsets John, who has a very strained relationship with his coin-obsessed father already, and he gets into a fight that accumulates with Alan getting unfairly punched in the nose. John storms off but later apologizes before he returns to the army. Savannah and John keep in touch with dozens of letters during his tour.

Just before John’s tour is supposed to end the September 11 attacks takes place. His fellow team mates immediately sign up for another tour but John is uncertain. He returns home to the weekend to see Savannah and meet her parents. Savannah is devastated that John is considering reenlisting but accepts that it is something out of her control. He returns and commits to another tour.

Months pass and Savannah’s letters become more infrequent and eventually ceases. She writes one last letter to John to break up with him and tells him that she is engaged to someone else. John extends his tour again and works in the army for a few years.

His father has a stroke and john returns. He feels guilty because he wasn’t there to take care of his father, but the doctor tells him it wouldn’t have changed his father’s condition if he had been found earlier. That still isn’t much comfort to John because his father dies shortly after, but John manages to tell his father how much he loves him before he dies.

John is alone in the world now and decides to go visit Savannah. He is shocked to discover that she married Tim, not someone else. Tim is dying of cancer, and tells John that marrying Savannah had the added bonus of knowing that Alan will always have someone to take care of him and love him.

John asks Savannah why she didn’t have the decency to call him and leave him, and she says that by hearing his voice she would have changed her mind. Devastated, he leaves.

A few months later, John, who is now a civilian, sees Savannah, now a widow, in a coffee shop. The movie ends with them hugging, leaving the ending open.

Rating: 6/10

dear john

Dear John isn’t actually generic within its genre. It is never fully clear whether John and Amanda end up together. The end is realistic, although that makes the final moments not nearly as enjoyable as the normal endings in romantic movies.

The Chemistry between Tatum and Seyfried is strong enough to make John’s nearly obsessive love possible. Tatums’s character inspires sympathy – a brave soldier that doesn’t really have anyone in his life except his girl and his dad. Seyfried exploited that innocent air she carries around her to the maximum. Savannah is the rich-kid-that-has-a-soft-heart and does well as that.

In this movie I liked that the film is about them – the supporting roles don’t ever take the spotlight more than the leading storyline, and that is refreshing when the modern trend is to try and fit 600 story lines into one movie.

The contrast between the war zones and the beautiful American coastline was integral to the story –to me it showed the changes John always had to face and cope. It was fun seeing Richard Jenkins (from Eat Pray Love) in something else. He probably has gazillion movies I haven’t seen yet but so far he played his parts really well in the movies I did see.

Basically, Dear John is a bit mushy but not offensive. I did enjoy it but can only recommend it to people who generally like romantic movies though. Not for everyone.