Why I think Nicholas Sparks is like Nickelback and yet I keep reading/watching.

While watching previews to a movie a few weeks ago, a certain movie preview came on.

Some guy is at war and stops to pick up a picture of this girl and thus, gets saved from being blown up.  He comes back and sets out to find her and does but doesn’t tell her why…

At about this point, I look over at Patrick and say, “This is totally based on a Nicholas Sparks book.”

And it was… The Lucky One.

You see, though I have never read the book, there are just certain themes to the majority of Nicholas Sparks books that cannot be overlooked.  Because they recur.  Over and over.

Just like Nickelback songs.  Sometimes, if you turn them on part way through, you have to take a second to figure out which one it is… Because they are so similar.  And redundant.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like his writing.  And the movies.  There is simplicity and a twist to each of them.

But, I also secretly like Nickelback and Third Day a little.  Not a lot. Not even very much, but a touch.  Because they are familiar.  Because most of the songs sound, well, about the same.

Just like Nicholas Sparks books and movies.

Similar themes.

This trend was discussed yesterday with the lovelies from small group as we plot out a guys’ night/girls’ night out this week when we considered going to The Lucky One.

They all agreed.

In fact, Patrick also found this article that details what I suspected… You can read that here and another one that I found here on Cracked.com.  I swear I thought these ideas were my own, but I mean, I guess I can’t be the only person with enough original thoughts to put this together.

Every Nicholas Sparks book/movie I read/watched has certain elements.

  1. Pretty people (Well, at least the movies… Even if the person is pegged to be average, they really aren’t).
  2. A seemingly insurmountable obstacle.  It can be anything from hatred to differing social classes to full on war, but there is always something.
  3. Despite the ridiculously low odds and awkward situation, the couple somehow manages to plummet into a crazy, no-holds-bar romance.
  4. Every movie has a wet kiss.  A kiss in the rain, the shower, a pool… Something with water.
  5. One of the parties, usually the man is very, very romantic and says things that most normal people would not say.  And most women lap that crap up.
  6. There is an element of spirituality.  Not necessarily direct mention of God, but some sort of perceived divine intervention, or someone who is really churchy or something of the sort.
  7. Someone almost always gets sick or injured.  Teen with leukemia, wife with Alzheimer’s, friend with melanoma… You name it, it happens.
  8. Amidst the obstacles and twists, they seem to still hold their love, but you just can’t quite tell if it will really work out by some sort of miracle.
  9. In the end, people are happy, even if the ending doesn’t seem that happy.  It is like they always come to terms with the bad stuff and such.
  10. The movie posters always have the same appearance… Guy on left, girl on right… Kissing or about to kiss.

    Image via guyism.com.

It is funny how we will pay to see and read these, despite them being so redundant and similar.  I know I do… Because for whatever reason, some piece of my brain is wired to love this garbage.   At least a little bit (kind of like how every Nickelback song is on the radio for years).  I guess it confirms that I really am a girl and somewhere in there at least a bit of a hopeless romantic.  Or that our brains are programed to like repetitive themes.

The movies and books make a huge volume of money.  More than some, what I would consider more original and better quality books and movies.  It really makes you question what makes us all tick.

I will probably go see the movie.  And read more Nicholas Sparks books.  Because they are light.  And make me feel good inside.  Even if, by principle, I wish they didn’t and that I didn’t like them.

What are your thoughts on the barrage of Nicholas Sparks movies and books?  Have you noticed the suspicious similarities?  Or any that I missed?

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4 thoughts on “Why I think Nicholas Sparks is like Nickelback and yet I keep reading/watching.

    • I love that you rewrote your own ending in your head! Especially the Richard Gere part. I haven’t read Rodanthe, but I keep meaning to and then I hear that it was disappointing and I don’t want to… But then I want to all over again.

  1. Hah! Funny. I’ve watched The Notebook and A Walk to Remember, but I’ve never read any of his books. I want to read Nights of Rodanthe sometime soon. I’ve been avoiding his novels for exactly the reasons in your post, but there’s something enjoyable about that too.

    I think Jodi Picoult is a little like that too. It becomes predictable. And yet we drink it up. And I guess there is nothing wrong with that 🙂

    • It’s true… Jodi Picoult does the same sort of thing. You always know there is a big twist.
      We do drink up the formulaic novels. Something about them.
      I have to say, I do prefer the actual novels to the movies… At least in the case of The Notebook and the Last Song and another one I can’t recall the name of for the life of me right now. So, I say give the novel a try… If you can’t beat them, join them.

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