Oh, the Melodrama!

Remember how I told you I'd be "hate watching" movies all month? This post is basically that x10. You see, last Friday the man who might be single-handedly responsible for destroying the romance movie genre had yet another one of his novels adapted and released as a motion picture. The man in question is named Nicholas Sparks, who I've written about before (and almost always appears on my Worst List each year) is a man that somehow found a way to sell the same story with the exact same formula over and over and over. His latest is called The Longest Ride and unfortunately I was bored and desperate enough to go see it this past weekend (seriously NOTHING is out). It was a pretty standard Sparks outing boosted by the leading man being played by a BEAUTIFUL male specimen...who happens to be the son of Clint Eastwood. He plays opposite a poor man's Jennifer Lawrence and the two find sweet, predictable, generic love. This led me to ponder a ranking of these mediocre atrocities from WORST to...LEAST BAD. That's right, I'm not even numbering these because putting high numbers next to these terrible movies just feels wrong. Whilst doing my research, I decided to celebrate the cliches in a Bingo game that you can feel free to print off at the bottom of the post and play while watching any of the movies (I tried with Message in a Bottle, which prior to this post was the one I had never seen.and got 19/25 squares marked off!). For your benefit, I also included a ranking of the male lead's hotness...on a scale of 1-5, as well as the corniest line, and the most Sparksian moment (be forewarned...those usually include spoilers.)


The Last Song

Miley Cyrus' attempt at being a romantic heroine has to be the worst attempt so far in a Sparks movie. I've said it before, but I'll say it again...watching this is almost another adaptation of Beauty and the Beast...with the title roles going to Hemsworth as Beauty, and Cyrus as the Beast. She's a scraggly, unpleasant mess in this movie and it's unclear why hunky Hemsworth would be smitten with her after practically ten minutes. Even worse was the fact that reality ended up echoing this fiction!
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 5. Liam Hemsworth has got it going on in this movie.
Corniest line: "I did not come here for some stupid summer romance with some stupid local boy that has done this with a thousand other girls...I don't want to be your next girl in your little parade of girls!" This line was so eloquently spoken by Miley.
Most Sparksian moment: When you realize what the title means.

Nights in Rodanthe

I barely remember this one and didn't have the constitution to watch it again. All I recall is, of course, what makes it Sparksesque: the beach...and the tragedy.
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 2. Sorry, Richard Gere has never really done it for me.
Corniest line: “While I sleep, I dream of you, and when I wake, I long to hold in my arms. If anything, our time apart has only made me more certain that I want to spend my nights by your side, and my days with your heart.”
Most Sparksian moment: One word: mudslide.

The Lucky One

This may be the worst offender of all in how ridiculous the obstacle is in this film. Something that would legitimately be talked about in the very first conversation between the two characters is kept hidden until the very most manipulative moment. And then...the best Sparks death of them all.
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 4. There's something a little weird to me about ogling Zac Efron. Still I can't deny his attractiveness here. However...the fact that his leading actress seemed so much older made his boyishness a little creepy.
Corniest line: "You should be kissed every day, every hour, every minute." Ain't nobody got time for that!!!
Most Sparksian moment: Death by treehouse!

The Best of Me

Wonderfully described HERE as "essentially Frankenstein's monster of recycled Sparks parts." I couldn't sum up my feelings any better...but the fact that it is so generic makes it a little more middle of the pack for me.
Male lead's hunkiness factor:  James Marsden 4, Fake young James Marsden: 2. I definitely have a thing for James Marsden... but the other actor playing the younger version??? There is no way ON EARTH he would ever grow up (or rather down since he's taller) to be James.
Corniest line: "You want me to fall back in love with you? How do I do that if I haven't ever stopped?"
Most Sparksian moment: Learning James Marsden became the latest victim of the "Return to Me" syndrome.

Dear John

While the obstacle in The Lucky one is idiotic... this one is just nonsensical. Sure, a war keeps them apart, but also really some stupid choices by our leading lady that we're supposed to deem as a beautiful sacrifice.
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 3. Channing Tatum, though hot, is the perfect definition of what Seinfeld refers to as a "mimbo," or a male bimbo. Sure he's hot, but is anything going on upstairs??
Corniest line: "Two weeks together, that's all it took, two weeks for me to fall in love with you."
Most Sparksian moment: That time Amanda Seyfried didn't realize she could have just become a caretaker and instead decided to marry her older, fatherly neighbor to fulfill the same role.

Safe Haven

Two movies are practically honorary Sparks films: The Vow & Charlie St. Cloud. This movie consists of Sparks basically incorporating their ideas and embracing some of the more wacky ideas that the latter represents. It's ridiculous stupid...but kind of makes it more memorable.
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 5. I can't really complain about Tad Hamilton...I mean Josh Duhamel.
Corniest line: "You don't understand Alex, he IS the police!!" Yeah...your husband makes up the entire police force in the whole country.
Most Sparskian moment: Ghost mom gives her approval. Oy.

The Longest Ride

Once again, Sparks does his "two love stories in one" thing...and never does it feel more out of place here. The whole thing feels really hodge-podgy til the end but basically benefits from the fact that Scott Eastwood is unbearably hot. Well, in this girl's opinion at least.
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 5. He may be the most beautiful of them all.
Corniest line: "It's 8 seconds... that girl could be the rest of your life." Or you could break up with her next week. Maybe you should just try to live either way?
Most Sparksian moment: Oops you saw me taking off my clothes for a shower! My bad!

Message in a Bottle

This only gets so high (or less worse) because it was the first and seems way more fresh than the others. But... it's also really quiet and kind of boring. It's not quite so outrageous in its melodrama and I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 2. Kevin Costner is a fine gent...if I were 30 years older I might be really into him (not that I can't appreciate the looks of an older gentleman every now and then, but there really wasn't anything to swoon over here).
Corniest line: "I don't want to lose you!" "Then don't."
Most Sparksian moment: Tossup between the argument in the rain and the final message in a bottle.

The Notebook

This is the film responsible for all of the mania. Man, I hate this movie for what it has done...but I can't deny it is one of the better ones on Sparks' roster. However, that's mostly because the quality of the rest are pretty low. That said, I must admit the two leads have great chemistry...even if the film is totally manipulative.
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 4. This may be blasphemy to Sparks fans for not giving him a full 5, but honestly I find Gosling MUCH more attractive in his subsequent projects. Plus in the early years he always struck me as kinda scrawny. But with the beard, I get it...
Corniest line: "If you're a bird, I'm a bird!!"
Most Sparksian moment: The makeout scene in the rain to rule all them all (well...the Sparks ones that is.)


A Walk to Remember

Maybe there's some teen nostalgia biasing me in this, but it just always strikes me as the most tolerable of the lot by a long shot.
Male lead's hunkiness factor: 3. Shane West may have been hot stuff in his day, but with all the subsequent Sparks hunks he's pretty forgettable.
Corniest line: "You have to promise not to fall in love with me." Who says that??
Most Sparksian moment: Begging his estranged father to save the woman he loves.

Don't believe me that they're all the same? Play this Bingo card I made below on any of these films and I guarantee you'll mark off at least 10 boxes.

For more shuffled Bingo boards click HERE. And if that's not enough Sparks for you, I found this article was pretty funny and has a great quiz in the end.



Sarah said...

Ha ha ha! That was great!

I do like A Walk to Remember...but honestly, the only other Sparks movie I have seen is The Notebook (which I did NOT like at all due to her cheating on James Marsden). So, I might not be the best judge. However, A Walk to Remember has a soft spot in my heart. :)

Johanna said...

I hate that he ruined a whole genre. :( And now that you can do cheap rom drom no one does rom com. :(