Confession time: I love romance films. No seriously, I do. Do not let this well-honed facade of bitterness and cynicism fool you. I’m not very good with feelings and the mere idea of human contact is enough to make me cringe, but if it’s on Netflix and features Hugh Grant, I’ve probably seen it. Name anything starring America’s former sweetheart Mandy Moore and I’ve probably seen that too. Any romance is a good romance, and this comes from someone who sat through all two hours and forty-five minutes of Baz Luhrmann’s Australia (and enjoyed it).
Yet even I have my limit, and it just so happens to be anything penned by purported “novelist” Nicholas Sparks. Yes, shocking I know. It’s not that his films are particularly bad, per say. I kind of enjoyed The Notebook and A Walk to Remember was doing whole cancer romance thing before John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars made it cool, but in both of those people died. I’m a terrible person I know, but not nearly as terrible as Mr.Sparks. The man has somehow managed to make a solid career out of rehashing one (maybe two) storylines, and it has to stop.
Grab some popcorn, ice cream, or both. I’ve got the definitive guide to everything you never needed to know about The Notebook and its decedents one through nine — just in time for the upcoming release of The Best of Me on Oct. 17.
1. The romantic leads are clearly from opposite sides of the tracks. Everyone is star-crossed and misunderstood, but that doesn’t matter. Love and classically good looks will triumph in the end, because destiny and stuff.
2 .While I can’t/don’t have the time to confirm this as an absolute, most, if not everyone, in every flick is/will be Wonder Bread white. I’m sure there’s a sassy best friend or some extras in there somewhere — you might just have to squint your eyes.
3. Lies. Lies everywhere. Eighty percent of the plot will hang on some sort of annoying small secret that which, when revealed, will explode into a massive fight followed by copious amounts of brooding near Batman level proportions.
4. Also, just start skipping the trailers altogether. To say that even these show some semblance of variety would be a bald-faced lie. Acoustic music plays, bizarre character insight, waterpark themed make out sesh, title outro, fade to black.
There you have it. That’s everything I swear. So the next time — and there will always be a next time — you’re tempted to give in, try saving your ten bucks for something that’s actually worth it, like finally getting for your own Netflix account or a 12-month subscription to Brazzers. Anything, really. Anything at all.