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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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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Book Review: The Last Song (Nicholas Sparks)

The Last Songs

“The pieces all fit together. Yet everything was falling apart.”

Times read: Four times

Ronnie and her brother Joshua travel up to the coast to go visit their father, Steve, the man that abandoned their family three years ago, for the summer. She is extremely unhappy about it all, especially with her mother who is making her go. At seventeen, Ronnie is rebellious and argumentative about everything, and wears a streak of purple in her hair mainly to annoy her mother. Despite being constantly contradictory she still isn’t the bad kid she pretends to be – she is always kind to her ten year old brother and any strangers who need help, have good manners when needs be and never smokes and drink like many of her friends.

Immediately after arriving Ronnie heads to the beach without speaking to Steve. At the beach there is a volleyball game going on and one of the players, Will, accidentally runs into her and spills her soda all over Ronnie. Fuming, she storms away and meets Galadriel, a strange girl who calls herself Blaze. Blaze is dating Marcus, a sociopathic teenager with an affection for pyrotechnics. Together they hold fire-throwing shows illegally on the beach. Ronnie and Blaze immediately have a rapport between them, and Blaze shares how her parents are divorced as well and constantly dating. Ronnie tells Blaze about her troubles in New York, particularly her shoplifting escapades, which she did for fun until she was caught a second time and nearly got into big trouble. Marcus, who is cruel and likes being ugly to his very insecure girlfriend, begins to flirt with Ronnie. Ronniehowever is a true friend who has excellent senses when it comes to douchebags and tells him very firmly that he should leave her alone. Marcus, unable to stand her dismissal, turns it around so it seems that she was flirting with him. The next day Ronnie tries to tell Blaze what really happened but she refuses to hear anything bad about her boyfriend, and slips stolen CDs into Ronnie’s bag and Ronnie gets arrested by one of her father’s friends.

Ronnie is distraught to be caught stealing again, especially since she didn’t even try to steal the CDs. Surprisingly, her father believes her and suggest they don’t tell her mother unless it is necessary if charges are laid against her. This improves their relationship and she starts to connect with the father she has been ignoring for three years. Her brother tells her about the church window he and their father has been busy building for their Steve’schurch that had to be rebuilt after mysteriously burning down the previous summer.

Walking on the beach with her father they spot sea-turtle nests. Her father explains how endangered they are and that raccoons will probably destroy the nest before the eggs hatch. Ronnie becomes determined to save them and spends the night sleeping at the nest, protecting them. The next day she requests help from the aquarium and they send a volunteer to mark the spot so a temporary protective cage can be hatched. The volunteer is Will, and when the cage isn’t up the same day Ronnie is furious with him, sure he didn’t do his job. He insists he did and offers to spend the night protecting the nest, and they begin to understand each other and a relationship develops.

Blaze still refuses to acknowledge that she put the CDs into Ronnie’s bag and the charges against her remain. Blaze’s life is rapidly deteriorating and she moves in with Marcus when her mother kicks her out. Even though she asks for Ronnie’s forgiveness, she won’t admit to what she did because Marcus, with his ongoing grudge against Ronnie and Will, will kick her out of the house.

Will also has some problems. Accepted and forced to attend Vanderbilt when he actually wants to study environmental sciences, he feels trapped by his mother’s overbearing nature. He also knows what happened to the church – his friend Scott accidentally set it alight with a firecracker, and Marcus saw it go down. Marcus uses this important information against Will and Scott, knowing that Scott will most likely lose all chance at getting a scholarship for university if the story gets out. Will doesn’t want to split on his friend because Scott saved Will and his mother’s life when they nearly drowned, with Scott regularly reminding him of it. Will’s mother immediately dislikes Ronnie and it gets even more strained when Marcus ruins Will’s sister’s wedding and his mother blames Ronnie because Will can’t identify Marcus, in fear of Scott’s secret getting out. Megan, the bride and the only person who kept her head through the ordeal, visits Ronnie the next day and asks her to not back off from Will. Ronnie, who told Will it is over rushes to him and tells him that she is sorry.

To cap it all, Steve father reveals that he is dying of cancer. What will happen to his and Ronnie’s relationship, finally on the mend? Will Blaze be able to escape the cycle of abuse she is in and own up to her treachery? Can Will ever reveal the truth of the night the church burnt down and betray the boy who saved his life? Will Ronnie and Will survive the nightmare that surrounds them or will they only remain a summer fling?

Rating: 6/10

I had a much nastier rating planned for this but the book improved slightly as I kept on reading. I have to say that it seems Nick Sparks is writing books for movies these days. His earlier works (The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, a Walk to Remember) are poignant and strong, beautiful and solidly written. His most recent books are littered with cheap, compulsive, tear-jerking tricks that I truly get irritated with. The writing style is still enjoyable but he seems to have lost focus as to what his books used to achieve.

I have issues with the male leads in his books. I get that Steve was trying to reconnect with his daughter before his death, but it is highly unrealistic that any parent would tolerate such attitude under any circumstance. It is irritating when a female is a whining-snotbag but it is utterly revolting if you read a whining-snotbag male. Will had some cute moments but overall he came through as utterly spoiled and privileged. I mean, honestly, he was complaining about having to go to Vanderbilt. If that isn’t a brat, I just don’t know what is!

Lastly, I dislike the book because it reminds me of a time when Miley Cyrus, who played Ronnie in the movie adaption, was still a pretty brown haired teenager instead of a blonde haired attention seeking desperado. I miss those days.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

5 Things Friday: 5 WTF moments lately

5 things friday pic

Happy Friday! The last few weeks have truly been some of the most entertaining of the year. People are tired and incredibly cranky, and it is showing in the entertainment industry, with politicians, criminals and us ordinary folks. Hell, even the weather is throwing a tantrum.

Here are 5 things that was truly WTF the past two or three weeks. Enjoy!

Justin Bieber is a BOY

Like any other self-respecting person over the age of twenty (I am being generous here, that age line should be eighteen) I look at JB with a touch of puzzlement. First of all, his initials makes whiskey – something I would need in large quantities to survive his singing.

JB

Okay, he is marginally talented. I am just past the phase where I am impressed with pop stars/boy bands (so that includes 1D). I am not even afraid to declare I dislike him in a world populated by his Beliebers. My point being, this week in Brazil he made the rookie mistake of sleeping (?) with a girl he didn’t know and was probably a groupie. Mere seconds later the girl posted photos of the practically naked, sleeping Biebs online. It proved many things:

The Biebs is now by all accounts straight

And a boy

Don’t trust groupies or sleep with them

And thirdly, if you HAVE to sleep with them, at least hide their phones/recording devices/notebooks

Justin Bieber is still a KID (what is he, like 19?) Stop perving about his body or manhood or whatever the fuck you are doing, pedophiles.

Celebs bashing one another

I have always thought that celebs should be united in their hate against the paparazzi and fame. I understand that they are still humans and disliking people is a natural part of life, but I really disagree with openly bashing one another. There was Sinead O’Connor bashing Miley Cyrus (that might have had some valid reasons, but the fact remains), Jennifer Lawrence also bashing her in coded messages – which wasn’t necessary as they aren’t even in the same field or on the same level, and George Clooney took out Leonardo DiCaprio earlier this week.

It is seriously mean and petty and uncalled for. You don’t show how strong you are by breaking other people down, not even in Hollywood. I have the same opinion of women bashing each other in the corporate world to climb the ladder. You are at the end of the day embarrassing and degrading yourself as well as someone else, just because you are insecure. Sies man.

Robert McBride

Robert McBride was perhaps the worst person in law enforcement in South-Africa (apart from Jackie Selebi of course). During his stint managing the Metro Police, there was corruption, intimidation, unfair promotions and evidence tampering. He was finally released from duties when he was caught driving a state vehicle drunk. This week a statement was released where it was announced that he is actually being nominated to become the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) head.

I have to be honest and say that it seems like shit like this only happens in South-Africa. How is it remotely justifiable that a man known for intimidation and corruption can be on a shortlist to become the head of a unit dedicated to sniff out police corruption?

My other question is whether the ANC wants to lose the elections next year? Because their current campaign of choosing corrupt members for parliament certainly suggests that they plan to lose.

Radovan Krejcir

I have to confess that I am revolted with myself. I am being ridiculously entertained with the drama surrounding the “business man”, Czech national Radovan Krejcir. Firstly, it is rumored that he is being searched for in his own country as well, but the crimes in South-Africa is much worse. He is a rumored Mafia boss in SA, and he is the main reason people in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, is either hearing gunshots or explosions these lately. Earlier this year Krejcir narrowly escaped an assassination attempt as well. This week there was a bombing in his business estate, and while the police have confirmed he is alive, they aren’t disclosing where he is yet. This dude obviously ticked off some big guns. It is comforting (?) to know that here we also have a Mafia, not just petty criminals causing havoc. I am still following the story religiously and hope there will be some clarification soon.

Johannesburg had an EARTHQUAKE

While sitting at our desks on a Monday morning, following the Monday morning tradition of doing nothing, bemoaning the fact that it was Monday and reminiscing about the weekend, we Johannesburgers felt the EARTH SHAKE. What on earth? How is this possible? Is it finally the apocalypse?! NO. What happened is there was a fault line in the earth, we had a magnitude 4 earthquake.

I can feel people laughing at me across the globe. I full well understand that in essence it was a puny earthquake. But it is news worthy as this doesn’t happen in South-Africa – we don’t get earthquakes, tsunamis or tornadoes. It is one of the only perks of living in South-Africa.

We were all fine though. But it made for entertaining social media material the entire day.

Anything happened in your country this week that made you go dafuq?

Xx

N

 

It’s Ben Affleck’s fault

Ben Affleck became Batman.

Unless you have been living under a rock this past month, you must have noticed the explosion on the internet when Ben Affleck got cast as Batman. I was amused and alarmed at the outrage directed at him. Since then, Hollywood has gone to shambles.

The outrage might have stemmed from the fact that Daredevil was a horrifically bad film. I have always thought that bad productions are not only the actor’s fault, but also the producer and directors’.  He also dated Jennifer Lopez, which meant he is still perceived as an idiot. Then he married Jennifer Garner, and now he is happy, and has these adorable babies. So guys, he saw the errors in his ways. He changed. He has had a phenomenal career both as producer and actor (did he not win an Academy Award for best actor in Argo?)

He is a great actor, and a kind man. My only concern with him playing Batman is that he might be too nice. But then, he is supposed to be this fantastic actor, and has shown depth in his roles.

Nonetheless, the day he became Batman served as a catalyst to Hollywood going crazy on our asses.

Second incident:

The VMAs

The producers of the VMAs are probably still feeling victorious, since nearly all the stars there managed to make fools of themselves, and ensured that everyone will now watch it next year. Taylor Swift openly dissed Harry Stiles in her accepting speech. I like Harry and Taylor in equal measure, meaning not at all, but girl, get some class. You just got an award, and all you can think about is your ex-boyfriend. Lovely priorities you have there.

Let us not forget to mention Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s rendition of Blurred Lines. The song’s music video had already caused major controversy, as naked girls in music videos are prone to do. Then Miley had to enter the picture and started twerking. My opinion? World’s largest publicity stunt by both parties. It was ridiculous, and the little love I still had for Miley went down the drain.

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Third incident:

Fifty Shades of Grey casting

Dakota-Johnson-Charlie-Hunnam-50-Shades-of-Grey

I have to mention that I only read the first book, and stopped because it is terribly written. So I am not planning to go watch the movie. I thought Christian Grey had blonde hair, and my sister thought he was a ginger. Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson were cast respectively as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. The world exploded.

I love Charlie Hunham. He is a great actor, especially in Sons Of Anarchy. But does he have the ability to be Christian? I don’t know – he has this intensely good-person vibe to him, and he is extremely charming. He certainly is good-looking enough. I have to mention that it seems the only reason Johnson was cast as Ana is because she has famous parents (she is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) – she is virtually non-existent in the acting world.

Let’s be honest – if you liked the books, you are watching the movie – no matter who acts as who. We will see how much of the book can be introduced into the movie, and keep the age restriction under 50.

Conclusion

It’s Holly-weird for a reason. People will be given jobs even if you don’t think they are the right choice. Little girls who grew up in the spotlight will act out and seek attention. Men will dance around with naked woman. The best you can do is hide from it all.

Or like me, say you are done with reading celebrity gossip and then still obsessively follow the drama.

Life lately

Happy Spring! I am so excited it is becoming warmer. I usually love winter, but my tolerance is at a low with the unexpected last cold front we had.

 happy-spring-L-LyYyVg

The weekend was amazing. As I said, my sister and I took off Friday to get some things done. We started with breakfast at Spur, and then afterwards she went and did her nails. We also went to a China mall in Joburg – it is a place where there are a lot of Chinese products (at really cheap prices) – and we went there and got some party favors for her Bachelorette party.

Saturday we had my sister’s bachelorette party. I had NO idea that it would be this successful. It was honestly one of the best nights of my life. We started with a lingerie shower at another friend’s house, and then drove through to one of our friends that offered to transport us for the night – how awesome is he, right? We then went to Tiger Tiger in Fourways. I booked the club on a few recommendations, and I was so afraid that it would be a bad decision. It really wasn’t – it was fantastic and so much fun. The vibe was incredible. Thanks Tiger!

I spent Sunday recovering – nuff said

Books finished: I finished Lucy Sullivan is getting married by Marian Keyes. I read the book halfway, and then stopped (about a month ago). I picked it up Thursday, restarted, and suddenly I was so hooked I finished it in two days. It ended really nice – it eventually had such a happy feel to it.

For the first time this weekend I watched no movies or series – there simply wasn’t the time. Honestly, I am more into reading now in any case. I really need to read more if I want an actual stab at finishing my challenge.

The diet really didn’t go too well this weekend. I need to diet hard this week – the wedding is in 19 days!

That said, this week I am focusing on my studies. I have been procrastinating on my assignments, and if I don’t seriously commit, I won’t stand a chance in passing.

What did you do this weekend?

PS: I saw Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” music video – Miley isn’t the only one in that VMA collaboration who acted shady this year. I love the song, but that video was just a bit much, right?

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