It’s definitely a bit early to start making predictions for next year’s Academy Awards, but after last weekend, there’s no question that two films have already chiseled themselves into the Best Picture tablet, not to mention an assortment of other categories. Ironically enough, both films originate from romantic mastermind Nicholas Sparks.
Although the cultured film enthusiasts who watched the dramatic, tear-jerking beauty that is “The Last Song” last weekend are probably thinking the Miley Cyrus vehicle is an unrivaled tour de force, their short term memories must have already forgotten about the year’s true masterpiece: “Dear John.”
Sure, Cyrus has all the world’s best fashion designers battling to the death over who gets to make her Oscar dress after her groundbreaking dramatic performance in “The Last Song” already has critics screaming Best Actress. But did you forget about Amanda Seyfried? Her role in “Dear John” redefined the art of playing the female counterpart in a love story.
Seyfried even bests Cyrus at her own game — singing. Cyrus playing her dad’s last song will bring you to tears, but when it comes to straight-up talent, Seyfried is unmatched. I mean, did you not see “Mamma Mia!”? The only person who could possibly rival Seyfried’s vocal prowess is Pierce Brosnan, who unfortunately has yet to grace a Sparks film with his magnificent presence.
The truth is, though, that while “The Last Song” certainly goes that extra mile to pure ecstasy, “Dear John” is already four laps past that plateau. The film stars God’s gift to the fine art of acting, Mr. Channing Tatum (even Liam Hemsworth’s truly inspirational take in “Last Song” pales in comparison), is more patriotic than Uncle Sam visiting the troops on the Fourth of July and features the kind of non-formulaic, inventive script that even Oscar-winning screenwriters wished they had the imagination to pen.
In all honesty, it pains me to say something captivated me more this year — quite possibly ever for that matter — than “The Last Song.” The film hit all the right notes. But in the end, “Dear John” wrote a love letter to my heart — in permanent ink, nonetheless — and everybody knows you can’t just rub that shit off.
OMG, Tony. Like, I have to totally say this was a nearly impossible decision. Like choosing between chocolate or sand colored Uggs, I know that choosing the best Nicholas Sparks book-turned-movie is like choosing between my own children. And come on, not even Sophie’s choice was this hard.
And you’re totally right — “Dear John” is so utterly original, I really can’t think of any other movie that deals with the heartbreak of being at war and leaving the girl you love behind, who, although devoted enough to ignore the irony that is writing a “Dear John” letter, eventually leaves you while you’re away.
But Tony, I’ve got an even better Nicholas Sparks movie that features all of the pristine montages of awkward eye contact, hand holding and, of course, that one-of-a-kind moment where the female lead lets her guard down by leaning her head on the male protagonist’s shoulder. And it’s the instant classic “The Last Song.”
I have to say, this one is a real winner, totally unlike any other Nicolas Sparks movie. I mean, it might be about a couple and their budding romance although they have totally different personalities and come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, it might have issues with an estranged parent, someone might die, it might have some kind of strife because of a misunderstanding that isn’t sorted out until the end of the movie and feature a poster with the main couple in some kind of embrace, but this one isn’t set in North Carolina (Oh, wait…the book still was)! Well, hey: THIS ONE HAS MILEY CYRUS.
And really, Miley is a natural born actress. She can pout, look sulky and wear her hair in untidy braids with a hooded sweatshirt that is so indicative of her isolated nature. Such breadth in her acting talent comes only second to her ability to wear booty shorts and sing about her insecurities as a country girl in L.A.
So although “Dear John” beautifully captures the fact that Amanda Seyfried is an actress with blonde wavy hair and big eyes, “The Last Song,” with Cyrus’ portrayal of a character so far removed from herself is one that’ll definitely be at the top of all AFI lists to come.