‘The Best of Me’ almost brings out the worst in me

The old Amanda and Dawson. (From syracusenewtimes.com)

The old Amanda and Dawson. (From syracusenewtimes.com)

I did not want to sit through 2 hours, 15 minutes of a World War II movie, so I said no to “Fury.”

Instead I picked the 1 hour, 51 minutes of “The Best of Me,” yes, the Nicholas Sparks melodrama, full of romance and twists and turns and beautiful actors. My first Nicholas Sparks movie, I should add. And may I throw in the fact that after watching Maryland beat Iowa in the noon college football game Saturday, my dear wife Karen chose our weekly food shopping chore and a couple side excursions instead of the first-run movie date.

Good news: The movie setting down Lousiana way was truly cinematically gorgeous.

Good news: James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan and Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato are likeable folks. I’d enjoy hanging out with them for tailgate beer and chicken wings at the next Maryland game, to mix topics, for instance.

Good news: I have seen much, much worse this year alone.

Bad news: Whew, what an unbelievable plot. Holy smokes, I hope none of this stuff ever happens to two people. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t yet read the novel, Sparks’ ninth that’s been made into a movie since “The Notebook” was such a gigantic hit a decade ago, or still plan to see this, preferably with a date and not alone, like me.

The young Amanda and Dawson. (From syracusenewtimes.com)

The young Amanda and Dawson. (From syracusenewtimes.com)

Good news: I did not laugh at the most unbelievable twists, not out loud enough to distract or annoy the many women sitting in the Syracuse, N.Y., mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA for this late Saturday afternoon showing. Not too loud, anyway.

I will admit to a snicker, and perhaps a aemi-stifled snort.

If you’d like to read my review of “The Best of Me” for my weekly Monday Film Blog on the slick Syracuse New Times site, click on the link below.

http://www.syracusenewtimes.com/enough-drama-2-sets-actors-best/

Are you a fan of the big, bold Nicholas Sparks romantic drama, and if so, why? What are your favorite love story movies, and why? What are your favorite movies that have jumped between different periods of life using different actors to play the same person, and why?

49 thoughts on “‘The Best of Me’ almost brings out the worst in me

  1. Not sure if I’d see this movie or any other Nicholas Sparks’ inspired film. I’m not a fan of his books. I confess I loved “Love Story” with Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal, but I cannot explain why as some of it just did not make any sense. “Bridges Over Madison County” is probably the reason why I avoid these types of movies. Like Robin – and you – I enjoyed “Monuments Men” and would love to see another one like that.

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  2. I think if you’re going to like his movies, it’s best to already be a fan of the author. Which im not. Im sure he is a delightful man, but if im going to get cavities and gnarly teeth from gnashing them, I would rather binge eat candy than read his books. I tried keeping my girl card by reading one, but I couldn’t even finish it.

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  3. Oh, I am a sucker for such love stories, Loved Bridges of Madison County with make my day, Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. I enjoyed the Notebook many times over, with my youngest daughter begging for us to see it again. I liked James Garner and the female lead that is matched with James Garner. She is famoust, too. My sister in law declined watching this Best of Me movie here in Delaware, Ohio. She was here last night and we leisurely ate dinner, (I did not get a chance to read, but posted a saved draft post, thanks for your reply which was so nice, Mark!) I hope to see this one, despite the snickering and laughing from you, Mark! One of the elderly security guards where we work, told me he and his wife used several tissue on this movie, so maybe hopefully his positive review will be like mine! smiles! (I do want to see “Fury” but will wait until on video so I can fast forward through the violence. I loved “Monuments Men!”) Enjoy your weekend, with your special Karen and thanks for liking my special Karen story!

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  4. Bwaaahaahaa! You cracked me up with your snicker and semi-stifled snort admission! I really don’t like unbelievable plots. Or even ridiculous scenes for humorous effect in otherwise believable stories. I think it’s my Asperger’s brain that can’t wrap my head around it. πŸ™‚

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    • You have so much going on in the care-giving portion of your life, too, Linda G, I am surprised that you can squeeze in a movie every now and then, but delighted to hear that you can. It helps my blog writing, I find, to see how others organize the way they go about their screenwriting, even though its apples and oranges …

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      • Very true – when I do go to see a movie it’s usually along the lines of something I’m writing – and that’s not just because I enjoy that type of movie. I’m always taking notes!

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  5. I’ve read Sparks, years ago. Okay, but not my favorite genre. I’m afraid I go more for the soft mysteries. And I never, ever see the movie after reading the book. If I see the movie, I don’t read the book. The only thing about them that is the same is usually the name of the book/movie. Learned that so many years ago I can barely remember the movie that taught me the lesson. Not true, actually. It was “Gone With The Wind”. Read the book first, watched about 30 minutes of the movie before I ripped it apart and burned it at the stake (figuratively). The only book/movie I have ever enjoyed both of was was—-now it has slipped my mind until I try to sleep later tonight. I’ve practically memorized the book, but can’t for the life of me remember the name right now, just that it was about the Dust Bowl, depression, California, Joad family, and was written by the same author as “East Of Eden” but other than that I’ve drawn a blank.

    Hate the lovey dovey chick flicks though. especially the tear jerkers that have you going thru a box of tissues and feeling like you head is swollen with a bad cold. I want drama, mystery, and the book rather than the movie most of the time. Or a comedy that makes me just scream with laughter, and nearly fall out of my chair watching it.

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    • ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ Angie, by John Steinbeck, and I loved that book so damn much, and the movie was pretty damned impressive too.

      I love the mysteries and comedies and police dramas …

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  6. Mark I haven’t read this book and don’t expect to see the movie. I find myself getting frustrated with ‘created’ drama. πŸ™‚ I watch a silly tv show and turn to my husband and say “why do they have to create drama?”. πŸ™‚ I’m sticking with comedy for right now. I just want love to be GOOD for people. πŸ™‚

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  7. Oh ma gosh, Nicholas Sparks is the worst. I will give him the film adaptation of The Notebook as at least well done for it’s genre but have you read the book? Worst thing I’ve ever experienced, hands down.

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  8. Not a fan of schmaltzy love stories, Mark. The Princess Bride is a real winner with its great lines, like “Mawrwidge” (not sure how to spell it!) The movie I couldn’t keep a straight face in was “The Bridges of Madison County.” The book was pretty good, but Clint Eastwood just ruined it (after he bought the rights and decided to star as the romantic interest) because he was too old and not believable as “the other man.” I would have definitely stayed with the boring farmer husband. No Sparks romances for me!

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  9. i’m not a huge n sparks fan, but i do like my romances – love story, romeo and juliet are two of my favs ) sounds like you did a good job of restraining yourself and congrats on your win too )

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  10. Gonna have to skip this one. Can’t enjoy the movie if the plot is that unbelievable. I don’t read romance novels or Sparks novels because I want funny, not cheesey. Although our cable company did just suddenly drop 24 of our channels (including Comedy Central, VH1, MTV) and replaced them with The Hallmark Channel. So now I have happy movies with happy endings to watch endlessly, including one with Tootie and Blaire from Facts of Life yesterday. Probably more enjoyable than The Best of Me.

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  11. Sooo not a chick flick person. And especially dislike Nicholas Sparks’ blatant attempts to wring emotion from me. Instant negative reaction on my part. BUT the reviews on “Fury” are gut-wrenching. I guess it is unbelievably violent, gory, psychopathic and cruel. Just like war. I won’t have the stomach for that one either for a completely different reason.

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  12. Was going to say Princess Bride, just like Carl πŸ™‚ Sorry you didn’t like so much, though I’m sure I would not have either. Good job with all of the half-fulls, though! (nice theater, likeable folks, seen worse, etc.) Movie sounds too twisty-turny in plot. Did not like Notebook because it made me cry and I hate that. Though like Dr Who fan and talk about twisty-turny (timey-wimey) and waterworks. Not sure what makes some shows click for some and not others. But this one sounds universally bad. But maybe movies to you is like food to me–I tried purple sticky rice at a Hmong marketplace last week and it was gosh-awful. But I feel better for having tried it. ?? Though you had to waste nearly two hours of your life watching and I only had to chew and spit.

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    • I do feel that I had to get a Nicholas Sparks movie in at some point, and your analogy for food and movie via you and I is correct, Liz. But this was not a two-hour waste at all. Everything about the movie goes into my mental files for further work from all the actors. LIke you and the food world and ingredients and recipes. Right?! πŸ™‚

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  13. I am a chick who is not into what is normally branded as “chick flicks”. Especially Nicholas Sparks’ work, and even when I was happily in love,so it isn’t single bitterness fueling my dislike. I just find it boring ever after.

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