Nicholas Sparks has given us some of the best (and worst) romantic movies to ever hit the big screen. In celebration of the novelist and screenwriter's 53rd birthday on Dec. 31, 2018, Wonderwall.com is ranking the films based on his books from the very terrible to the iconic, starting with "The Choice." The 2016 flick, which stars Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker, comes in last on our list thanks to its overly dramatic, formulaic plot and mediocre writing. The critically panned movie, which is based on Nicholas' 2007 novel of the same name, tells the story of two neighbors who fall in love at their first meeting. In addition to garnering terrible reviews, "The Choice" was also a disappointment at the box office, earning only $23 million. Keep reading to see where the other Sparks movies fall…
No. 10: "The Best of Me"
We really wanted James Marsden to score a win after his character's dumping in "The Notebook," but "The Best of Me" wasn't it. The critically panned 2014 movie, which is based on Nicholas Sparks' 2011 novel of the same name and also stars Michelle Monaghan, follows reconnected high school sweethearts who've been apart for 20 years. The movie's tragic ending was off-putting to viewers and audiences (us included), and its long runtime and lack of chemistry made "The Best of Me" a dud.
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No. 9: "Safe Haven"
Coming in at No. 9 is 2013's "Safe Haven," which tells the story of a widower and a wanted fugitive who fall in love. The romantic thriller (which stars Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel) attempts to add a little spice to the Nicholas Sparks formula with a murder sub-plot, but it still comes off as predictable and clichéd. Despite receiving negative reviews from critics, "Safe Haven" was a serious moneymaker, earning over $97 million at the box office.
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No. 8: "The Lucky One"
"The Lucky One" might have a very creepy storyline (a Marine finds a photo of a woman while serving in Iraq, considers it a good luck charm then later tracks down said woman), but it did have some redeeming qualities. Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling sizzled onscreen and there were endearing moments scattered throughout the film. It was also a box-office success, grossing over $99 million. Nevertheless, "The Lucky One" fails to add anything new or exciting to the Nicholas Sparks genre.
No. 7: "The Longest Ride"
Based on Nicholas Sparks' 2013 novel of the same name, "The Longest Ride" is fairly decent. The 2015 movie centers on the love affair between Luke (played by Scott Eastwood), a former champion bull rider, and Sophia (played by Britt Robertson), a college student who's headed to New York City for her dream job. Plusses? Producers smartly cast Clint Eastwood's look-alike son in the neo-Western flick, and the plot has its super-cute moments. But unfortunately, "The Longest Ride" is too bogged down by cliches to rank any higher.
No. 6: "The Last Song"
"The Last Song" might be unimaginative and predictable, but it also gave us a real-life Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth romance, and for that, we remain forever thankful. The 2010 movie follows a troubled teen as she reconnects with her estranged father and falls in love. "The Last Song" was critically panned, but it still made serious cash at the box office, earning $89 million. Plus Miley and Liam's chemistry jumped off the screen (literally) and the pair are now engaged again after years of on-off romance.
No. 5: "Dear John"
We've made it to the top 5! "Dear John" lands in the fifth spot on our list thanks to its quality casting, heartfelt storyline and superior acting from leads Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried. The 2010 flick centers on a soldier who falls in love with a young woman while on leave. When he's deployed, the lovebirds exchange letters, leading to a story that will leave you deep in your feelings. "Dear John" might be somewhat generic, but audiences loved it. The romantic drama scored a $30 million opening, which still stands today as the best debut for a Nicholas Sparks film.
No. 4: "Nights in Rodanthe"
It's hard not to love anything starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. The pair reunited onscreen for the third time when they appeared in 2008's "Nights in Rodanthe." Based on a 2002 Nicholas Sparks novel of the same same, "Nights in Rodanthe" centers on a doctor who falls for an unhappily married woman while they're staying at an inn together. Like many of its Sparks predecessors, "Rodanthe" is somewhat generic and sometimes overly sentimental. Nevertheless, Richard and Diane's powerful chemistry and the film's romantic moments make this one a winner.
No. 3: "Message in a Bottle"
Aw, the very first Nicholas Sparks adaption! Cracking the top 3 is 1999's "Message in a Bottle." Starring Robin Wright, Kevin Costner and Paul Newman, "Message in a Bottle" is wonderfully acted and as romantic as they come. The movie follows a Chicago Tribune reporter who falls for a North Carolina man after he writes a series of beautiful love letters. The endearing film didn't receive the best reviews from critics, but audiences adored it. "Message in a Bottle" earned over $118 million worldwide and knocked Mel Gibson's "Payback" out of the top box office spot during its opening weekend.
No. 2: "A Walk to Remember"
"A Walk to Remember" is nearly perfect! The 2002 coming-of-age drama has it all: first love, teen angst, amazing acting and a story that is guaranteed to leave you in tears. Starring 2000s hottie Shane West and '90s pop star Mandy Moore, "A Walk to Remember" shies away from the Nicholas Sparks cliches with its strong chemistry and originality. It might have been panned by critics, but "AWTR" is regarded by fans as one of the best teen movies to ever come out of Hollywood.
No. 1: "The Notebook"
Of course the No. 1 pick on our list is "The Notebook." The 2004 movie is not only the best Nicholas Sparks flick by far, but it's also one of the very best romantic movies of all time! Starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, "The Notebook" centers on Noah and Allie, a young couple who fall in love in the 1940s. From "I wrote you 365 letters" to "If you're a bird, I'm a bird," Ryan and Rachel's insane chemistry leaped off the screen in every scene — their passionate affair can still make even the most skeptical cynics believe in love again. Plus Ryan and Rachel dated in real life for four years after the movie wrapped. "The Notebook" was a critical and commercial success, earning the best reviews of any Sparks movie ever, not to mention more than $115 million at the box office.