Crazy Old Nicholas Sparks. He's always good for a laugh...

Once upon a time, the year 2004 to be exact... a movie came out that would change the romance genre forever. The movie? The Nicholas Sparks' adaptation The Notebook. But let's get one thing straight....when I say "it changed things forever" I don't mean it changed things for the better. Sure there was Message In A Bottle (which I have not seen...but it is a terrible admission that I've seen every other crap film on his resume..) and A Walk To Remember (which is probably the most decent of the bunch..) which preceded it and certainly added to Spark's momentum as a force in Hollywood...but it was The Notebook that really fooled the masses into thinking Sparks was a good writer. And, as a result Hollywood has been churning out his lackluster romances ever since.

Gasp! Not The Notebook! She didn't insult THE NOTEBOOK!!! Are you really that surprised? Now don't get me wrong. I won't say that when I first saw it as a high schooler I didn't enjoy the movie as much as the next girl. If you embrace the melodrama and recognize it for what it is, it is a little bit fun and Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling certainly have a lot of chemistry to be sure. (Honestly though, way more into Gosling's looks now than then! Especially during his "younger" scenes.) But is it a great film or even a good film? No. And it certainly isn't the most beautiful, unforgettable love story of a generation. This is one of those prime examples of how I tend to hate things more over time when people refuse to acknowledge flaws and overly praise something. Like every other Sparks film it's pretty manipulative, schmaltzy and worst of all: cliched. His trite formula was bad enough with The Notebook and now he's repackaged it into the same movie 4 times since. Don't believe me? Here's proof:

 and now...
 I barely remember a thing about Nights in Rodanthe but Dear John and The Last Song were so "by the numbers" it was painful. Falling in love montage here, plot device keeping them away there, and now let's add in a death somewhere along the way to try and force the audience to actually feel something. Too bad we don't care because we can't get invested in these paper thin characters. So why am I writing this blog now? Well along comes the latest offering.....the Zac Efron starrer The Lucky One. And when I mean "comes along" I mean it came to the dollar theater. You better believe I don't pay full price for that crap anymore, but if I am bored enough I'll see almost anything when it comes to the dollar theater (ie The Vow and This Means War). So where does it rank along with the others? Well the only thing I can say in its favor that doesn't make it the worst of the lot is that at least it doesn't have Miley Cyrus in it. Otherwise it really might earn the title (then again the Dear John twist was pretty freaking bad too..) Oh and here's the other poster ripoffs too :)

Like his other films the "falling in love" montages were in full force and we really saw barely a hint of depth in either of them besides what anyone with half a brain could come up with and that we've seen a thousand times before.  The manufactured conflict was pretty much preposterous, whether it be his ridiculous dilemma in telling her the truth behind why he wanted to meet her (that no sane person would take offense at..) or her cartoonishly jealous ex-husband standing in the way of their happiness. He definitely made the movie more entertaining though since he actually provided comic relief...whether it was intentional or not. In fact his machinations towards the end pretty much had me holding in laughter that I suppressed up until I walked out of the theater...and then it alllllll came out. I don't know if I laughed that hard unintentionally since The Wicker Man. But hey, the movie DID have two things going for it: the fact that Zac Efron is hot and that he also looks like he's quite the kisser. So if that's the only thing you need from a movie, by all means see it...but don't say I didn't warn you if you find yourself dying laughing at a few of the signature Sparks plot twists towards the end....if you can even make it that far. 

But the best part of our dollar theater experience? Going to our row and seeing 3 girlfriendless dudes behind us who came to the movie with each other. As I walked to my seat I sarcastically said "So Zac Efron huh!?" They either thought that myself was a huge Efron fan, or they didn't appreciate me mocking them. Either way it didn't go over too well. Haha! Ah well. Boys at a Zac Efron movie, though humorous, isn't my ideal "meet cute " anyway haha! 

But back to Sparks. The dude is really so arrogant that his drivel deserves to be torn to pieces. With quotes in interviews that equate himself to the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Jane Austen and Shakespeare all in the same breath as well as adding that currently “there are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do,” it's really hard not to think he is just some delusional hack. Even better? When asked what his favorite coming of age tale of all time was he told an interviewer that it was in fact his own work: A Walk To Remember, then after a moments paused felt like he should add To Kill A Mockingbird to its company. Gee how lucky we are to have this literary genius among us. And not to worry, our next Sparks adaptation is scheduled for next year. Anywho that's about all the ranting I can handle for now but if you're in the mood for some more ripping of Sparks, Cracked.com has a pretty good article on his works HERE


Amelia said...

That movie was good for some laughs!!! As was the cracked article. They definitely got it right with "Throw in completely-out-of-left-field, exploitative, awful disaster that only serves to jerk tears and turn an otherwise forgettable romance into a tragedy." Perfect description.

Sarah said...

I still quite like A Walk to Remember, but I am 100% with you on all of the other films. I HATED The Notebook. It might have been okay if she hadn't cheated on her fiance (James Marsden) who was three times the man that her "true love" was. Seriously, she didn't deserve James Marsden and let's hope that he got someone a lot more worthy of him!

But yes, Zac Efron is indeed super hot, so the movie couldn't have been a total loss! :)

And you know that you love serious movies that unintentionally cause you to laugh.

Mom said...

I think I saw "A Walk to Remember" on tv once, but don't really remember it. And I have not seen a Nicholas Sparks movie since. Do I get some kind of prize?

Sarah said...

Mom, the prize you have won is that you have wasted less time than many people.

Oh, and here's a point that I need to make about The Notebook. I hate when they choose two actors to play the same character when they are actors who look NOTHING like each other. Did Ryan Gosling's character get plastic surgery to change the shape of his chin so that he looked James Garner when he got older? :)

Johanna said...

Oh, sadly I can no longer say I have not seen a Nicholas Sparks movie. Niel sucked me into pay per view. When I saw NS's name come up on the screen, I wanted to run screaming from the room. But we have rules in our house about that kind of thing. Next time, I will be sure to research before agreement.

It was TERRIBLE!!!!!! Who care's about these people? From her irritating interruptions at their first meeting when he was trying to tell her why he was there (which would have left no movie at all....oh, yeah, except for a possibly normal falling-in-love story), to the fact that from this movie we could only tell that they were falling in love from the fact that they liked to watch each other when the other person wasn't aware (creepy), to the way the heroine was so easily irritated by everything from the hero's presence to his toughing desire to meet her...and that's just the reasons to dislike her.

Zac is a cute pretty boy. I get that. But his character was dealing with mental issues that were not cured by walking. You can't convince me they were. If so, all PTSD sufferers should just get their Nike's on and start hoofing it to the grocery store.

Blythe Danner was the best part. However, the accountant in me was really put off by the fact that she was supposed to be the grandmother. Really. I looked it up. She's 41 years older than our moody heroine. And the heroine is a mother of an 8 year old child that she got pregnant with in high school, making her about 26. Anyway you cook it, either Blythe Danner's character or the heroine's mom was about 15 when she gave birth. That's kind of Honey Boo Boo territory for me. But I guess they are in Louisiana. If I were the state, I'd be bugged.

And don't get me started on the ex-husband or the dramatic end to the story. Won't give anyway any spoilers, but the character arc arched a little too whiplashy for me.

My first Nicholas Sparks movie shall, indeed, be my last. What he did to a perfectly good genre is criminal.

Johanna said...

Well, maybe the math works, but I still don't buy it.