In our second installment of Chick Flick Showdown (we had one doozy of a match-up yesterday, in case you missed it), we’ve got the obligatory Nicolas Sparks face-off. The John Travolta versus Nicolas Cage of movie throwdowns, if you will.
In one corner, there’s the Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams lovefest that is The Notebook:
And in the other, a movie about walking and remembering called A Walk to Remember:
Admittedly, neither authors have seen either movies, so let’s see how this goes.
Paul Adler (The Notebook)
Okay, I’m not afraid to admit I know absolutely nothing about The Notebook (film, novel, you name it—is there a TV show?). And no, I don’t consider it emasculating to watch romance dramas or read romance novels. I mean, I’m sure a bunch of dudes read the Fifty Shades series and now have really messed-up ideas about what women want sexually… but that’s a different story entirely. But I’m not one of those guys who’s going to freak out if made to watch a movie like The Notebook.
I just so happen to personally think it’s a shit movie with a shit premise adapted from a shit novel by a shit writer.
However, that will not stop me from proclaiming it the paragon of modern romance-drama films, thereby making it far better than whatever A Walk to Remember is (I assume it’s of the same formula, as it’s an adaptation of a book by the same novelist, who’s known for cranking out formulaic, contrived tripe).
I want you to try an experiment, gents: call or text the last woman you talked to—could be your mom, your girlfriend, a coworker, your grandma, your great aunt Betsy, whatever—and ask her what comes to mind when she thinks of Nicholas Sparks or modern-day romantic dramas. It’s a safe bet you’ll get The Notebook as an answer.
In fact, I just tried this, myself; I asked my girlfriend what she thinks about The Notebook and Nick Sparks:
My girlfriend has also asked me to relate the following message: “I hate cancer movies. A Walk to Remember can suck my dick.”
I will say one thing about The Notebook (I had to find this plot point out from Wikipedia) that has little to do with anything except my consummate, borderline-obsessive knowledge of literature. The whole thing where Ryan Gosling restores Rachel McAdams’ abandoned house is super creepy—like, really creepy and something that totally would not fly in today’s society—but it seems to have been lifted directly from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, where the characters are all purposefully insane and the gentleman pursuing his already-spoken-for lady love restores his mother’s house to impress her… then waits for 50 years till her husband dies before reintroducing himself.
Anyway, you think Nick Sparks, you think The Notebook. And that, my friends, is the way the proverbial cookie crumbles.
Richard Thompson (A Walk to Remember)
Sit down, kids. Make yourselves comfortable. I’m about to tell you a story about the time a middle school girl experienced a serious emotional awakening while watching a little film called A Walk to Remember.
She was with a ragtag band of misfits she referred to as her “youth group” when they decided to go to the theater to watch the Nicolas Sparks book-on-screen. As the opening credits rolled, she was determined to keep it together, play it cool around her middle school peers. Because keeping it cool is all middle schoolers worry about. But keeping it cool was not on the menu that day. Because, on that fateful day, tears were meant to be shed. Mucho tears. I mean, the movie’s about young love and cancer, so we’re talking a regular geyser of tears. By the end of the movie, she didn’t even care if her friends saw her and judged her for the water works. She was gonna let it rain, let in rain right into that bowl of popcorn.
Who is that middle school girl, you ask? Well, that middle school girl just so happens to be my girlfriend (wait, don’t call the police yet, she was a middle schooler like 15 years ago, I promise). When I asked that same not-in-middle-school-now, 27-year-old girlfriend about what she thought about “The Notebook,” she said, and I quote “that’s some pansy shit.”
Pansy shit versus my girlfriend’s Sobfest to Remember? The movie about raining and notebooks never even stood a chance, to be honest.
You might be saying angrily to yourself, “buddy, that’s just one anecdote.” First of all, don’t call me “buddy.” Second of all, okay, maybe you make a good point. So let me pose an additional argument. You can’t have a good chick flick without a decent soundtrack, right? (just nod if you agree). Well, I just looked up the soundtrack list from both movies and A Walk to Remember’s blows The Notebook’s out of the water.
A Walk to Remember has “Dare You To Move,” a couple other Switchfoot jams and some tunes sung by Mandy Moore herself. The Notebook just has a bunch of instrumental bullshit. Boooooooo!
So A Walk to Remember makes middle schoolers cry and has music with lyrics. The defense rests.