No one could be blamed for feeling like she'd seen the new trailer for Safe Haven — a movie, coming in early 2013, that's based on Nicholas Sparks' novel of the same name — before. After all, Safe Haven's trailer seems to have been expressly designed to look and sound exactly like every other Nicholas Sparks adaptation ever released. (Watch the trailer below.) With no less than seven other Hollywood adaptations of Sparks' novels since 1999, the bestselling author officially "has his formula down pat," says Madeleine Davies at Jezebel: "Sad hot white lady meets sad hot white dude. Someone is dead. Someone dies. They fall in love in a quaint small town. They sit in a canoe." The Week has previously explained how anyone can make a Nicholas Sparks film in just six easy steps, but with Safe Haven on the way, it's time to look at the life and work of the man who codified the modern Hollywood weepie. Has Nicholas Sparks really built his entire career on a single story? Judge for yourself with this video retrospective:
1. Message in a Bottle (1999)
Stars: Kevin Costner and Robin Wright
IMDB synopsis: A woman discovers a tragic love letter in a bottle on a beach, and is determined to track down its author.
Sparks-iest line in the trailer: "I feel I've been lost. No bearings, no compass. You were always my true north."
2. A Walk to Remember (2002)
Stars: Shane West and Mandy Moore
IMDB synopsis: The story of two North Carolina teens, Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan, who are thrown together after Landon gets into trouble and is made to do community service.
Sparks-iest line in the trailer: "I'm not going anywhere. Please tell Jamie that. She makes me want to be… different. Better."
3. The Notebook (2004)
Stars: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
IMDB synopsis: A poor and passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman and gives her a sense of freedom. They soon are separated by their social differences.
Sparks-iest line in the trailer: "Why didn't you write me? I waited for you for seven years!"
4. Nights in Rodanthe (2008)
Stars: Richard Gere and Diane Lane
IMDB synopsis: A doctor who is traveling to see his estranged son sparks with an unhappily married woman at a North Carolina inn.
Sparks-iest line in the trailer: "One week with you changed my life forever."
5. Dear John (2010)
Stars: Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried
IMDB synopsis: A romantic drama about a soldier who falls for a conservative college student while he's home on leave.
Sparks-iest line in the trailer: "Two weeks together. That's all it took. Two weeks for me to fall for you."
6. The Last Song (2010)
Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus, and Greg Kinnear
IMDB synopsis: A drama centered on a rebellious girl (Cyrus) who is sent to a Southern beach town for the summer to stay with her father (Kinnear). Through their mutual love of music, the estranged duo learn to reconnect. [Hemsworth plays a not entirely incidental shirtless hunk.]
Sparks-iest line in the trailer: "Sometimes you have to be apart from people you love. But that doesn't mean you love them any less. Sometimes it even makes you love them more."
7. The Lucky One (2012)
Stars: Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling
IMDB synopsis: A Marine travels to Louisiana after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war.
Sparks-iest line in the trailer: "You should be kissed. Every day. Every hour. Every minute."
8. Safe Haven (2013)
Stars: Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough
IMDB synopsis: A young woman with a mysterious past lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widower forces her to confront the dark secret that haunts her.
Sparks-iest line in the trailer: "I love you, but I can't let you go. There's no safer place for you than here with me."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
Subscribe to the Week