Which Nicholas Sparks Movie Is Most Nicholas Sparks-y? Let's Investigate

Even if you haven’t read Nicholas Sparks’ 2013 novel The Longest Ride, you probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the upcoming feature film adaptation. That’s because all movies based on a Sparks book march to the beat of a shared drum. They embrace the same tone, the same ideals, and even a lot of the same plot points. 

By nature of being a Nicholas Sparks picture, The Longest Ride guarantees at least some of the following elements: tragic diseases, love triangles, passionate rain kisses, a B-plot involving carpentry, and a setting in the Carolinas. And that’s just naming a few.

Looking back through the past 16 years of Sparks novel-based movies, we find quite a bundle of go-to concepts. From the first movie derived from one of his novels, 1999’s Message in a Bottle, to 2014’s The Best of Me, the filmography makes no bones about its devotion to the tried and true traditions that always seem to get audiences misty. Even some of the more “on-the-nose” ones.

Check out this checklist of reliable Sparkisms and all the films that uphold each one. Which film do you think will wind up proving itself the Sparksiest movie to date?

The Carolinas

Message in a Bottle
A Walk to Remember
The Notebook
Nights in Rodanthe
Dear John
Safe Haven
The Best of Me 

Carpentry or manual labor

Message in a Bottle
The Notebook
The Last Song
The Lucky One
The Best of Me 

Disease or disorder

A Walk to Remember
The Notebook
Dear John
The Best of Me  

Love triangles

The Notebook
Nights in Rodanthe
Dear John
The Best of Me 

Flashbacks

The Notebook
Nights in Rodanthe
Dear John
The Best of Me

War

The Notebook
Dear John
The Lucky One

Hospitalization of a secondary character

A Walk to Remember
The Notebook
Dear John

Strained parent/child relationship

A Walk to Remember
Nights in Rodanthe
The Last Song
The Best of Me 

Volunteer or nonprofit work

Dear John
The Last Song
The Best of Me

Death of a main character’s spouse

Message in a Bottle
Dear John
Safe Haven

Death of a main character’s family member

Message in a Bottle
A Walk to Remember
The Last Song
The Lucky One
The Best of Me 

Death of a main character

A Walk to Remember
The Notebook
Nights in Rodanthe
The Best of Me

Storms

Message in a Bottle
The Notebook
Nights in Rodanthe
The Lucky One

Handwritten letters


Message in a Bottle
The Notebook
Nights in Rodanthe
Dear John
Safe Haven
The Best of Me

Boats

All of 'em. So many boats in these movies.

A character who turns out to be the freakin' ghost of somebody's dead wife

Safe Haven

So, Which Is the Sparksiest movie of all...

As if there was any doubt: The Notebook wins, with 11 of these Sparks-y elements to its name. The Best of Me is a close second, with 10, followed by Dear John with 9.

Images: 20th Century Fox; Relativity Media; Warner Bros; New Line Cinema; Screen Gems; Disney

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