Dear John

I got tricked into seeing Dear John last night. Gabrielle swears she told me, and if you know us, then you know she's probably right.

So there I was, innocently out for a girls night, sitting in a movie theater with four very cool people. We were laughing and enjoying the nonsensical previews for Sex In The City II and some sort of wedding comedy that featured (literally) a horny goat... when the movie starts and bam, "based on the book by Nicholas Sparks" appears across the screen.

I don't watch Nicholas Sparks movies, and I've never seen The Notebook.

I am not the sort of person who should be watching this sort of movie, although perhaps not for the reasons one might think. I'm not like a guy who sits and snorts, making fun. No, I'm the one surrounded by a box of tissue, with eye makeup running down my face. And when I find myself curled up in theater seat, weeping like a hormonal mother at a wedding, it makes me annoyed. Call me selfish, but I like to cry for a good cause ( a wedding), not because some director is purposely playing every heartfelt cliche like a bad violinst who can get away with it because they pick pretty people to do it with. (mixing metaphors there)

If you liked The Notebook or Walk To Remember, then don't mind me, I really did get swept up by the movie while I was watching it. But don't read any further as I'm about to wreck my revenge by steeling my emotions and dissecting it like it's a frog in biology. (at least a little)

Warning Spoiler:
You can't hang an entire movie on the hotness of your male lead. Just because Twilight did this doesn't mean everyone else has to follow suit with the whole non-talking, awkward stuttering bit that's supposed to be hot. Although I have to say, it was at least a lot prettier coming from this guy (Channing Tatum) than Robert Pattison.

The pacing was awkward, and as much as I wanted to believe in the story (because I had a lot of emotion already invested into it), the character development in the last half was so choppy it left me not knowing what I was supposed to think, and that is never a good place to put your viewer in. (Are you listening Lasse Hallstrom?)

The story in a nutshell = lame. Special Forces soldier falls in love with rich girl. They write lots of letters that end with her sending him a real "Dear John" letter. She marries someone else. He comes back years later to find her husband conveniently dying of cancer (!) and that she still loves him. Husband dies (!!) and they live happily ever after. At least I think so... The ending was rather unclear. They took the advice "start late and leave early" a little too seriously.
The setting also seemed more like set pieces than reality, which probably wouldn't annoy me so much if it wasn't done intentionally just because we're women, and we really don't need a well written movie as long as we have gallons of sap. Ugh

Heartfelt emotion needs a strong foundation to stand on, otherwise it quickly dissentegrates into subjective drivel, and that's what happened with Dear John. I heard The Notebook is way better, maybe I'll give it a chance someday when my tear ducts have recovered.

1 sprinkles of fairy dust:

the book ends totally differently. Much less neatly and "happily" actually. I sort of hated the book because of how depressing the story became, but at the same time, I liked that it was more "real" than your typical romance novel.

the storyline that I'm not sure is in the movie (since I haven't seen it) is the whole bit between John and his dad. that is more touching and deep to me than the romance stuff.

anyhoo - I sort of love to hate Nick Sparks stuff. Sooooo sappy and so escapism-ish. But whatever. At least you know what you're getting when you pick up his books.