Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Personally, I think it’s the world’s stupidest holiday. Mainly because I have an icy black heart and mushy shit makes me want to jump off the fucking roof. But that’s just me. Regardless, it’s almost here, and in addition to tacky flower arrangements and teddy bears and chocolate, love movies are going to be everywhere, which means you’re not going to be able to escape all 5,000 of the depressing af Nicholas Sparks movies even if you try. So here you have it, a definitive ranking of every last one of his flicks, so when you’re flipping through the guide over the next two weeks you know which ones are worth watching, and when you should just settle for a Criminal Minds marathon instead.
11. Nights in Rodanthe
You’re probably thinking to yourself “what tf even is this?” but I promise this is actually a real movie and it’s actually terrible. If you’re craving a little Richard Gere and Diane Lane, do yourself a favor and rent Unfaithful instead. Or better yet, go back to your retirement home.
10. The Choice
Okay, to be fair, I didn’t even see this one because it looked like literal garbage, but I do know it’s about two people who live next door to each other and fall in love and, in true Nicholas Sparks fashion, someone gets critically injured. Oh, and I can still hear the main dude saying “come bother me” in the trailer. Not sure what the movie’s namesake “choice” is, but I’d say that if you have the choice, skip this.
9. Message in a Bottle
This one actually isn’t as bad as the ranking makes it seem, but like, it’s so old and depressing and there’s really nothing that makes it stand out. Any movie with Kevin Costner in it where he’s not playing baseball is just fucking pointless, and any movie whose title immediately gets a song by The Police stuck in my head for the next three hours is an automatic no from me, dog.
8. The Best Of Me
Back when this came out, I had really high hopes for this one because James Marsden is bae, but it really fell flat. There’s nothing memorable, nothing terrible. It’s basically the movie equivalent of butterless, saltless, air-popped popcorn.
7. The Lucky One
Bonus points for Zac Efron also being bae and for Piper from OITNB being in it, negative points for their nonexistent chemistry. They’re both so hot. How tf was it so weird? Answer: It was like watching Zac Efron make out with his aunt. The only reason this pseudo-incest film didn’t rank lower is because there’s a shower makeout scene in which you can see a wet Zac Efron.
6. The Longest Ride
Tbh, I thought this one was going to be shit so I was never planning on watching until it was on HBO every other minute, so I figured why tf not. It was actually way better than expected. They’re both attractive and I have no clue who either one of them is, so the idea of these two nobodies being in a relationship was believable. The only thing that I could have done without is the whole bull riding thing—which I get is like, a big part of the plot, but I really DGAF about a country boy’s deep need to ride an animal that wants to kill him. And like honestly, can anyone with an education level beyond high school relate to this? Loss of points for niche redneck premise.
5. Dear John
Now we’re getting to the good shit. I could look at Channing Tatum all fucking day, especially in a uniform—so for if no other reason, this one is worth the watch because of that. It loses cred because there’s no way in hell Channing would obsess over Karen Smith for years, and there’s really no way Karen would dump him for some not hot dying dude while he was away at war. Nope. Not real. Dear John also sucks for inspiring a Taylor Swift song of the same name.
4. Safe Haven
This one gets less credit than it deserves. Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough are totally adorable. The storyline is actually somewhat exciting rather than just a cry-fest. And the twist at the end you never see coming. Did I just describe every Nicholas Sparks movie out there? Maybe.
3. The Last Song
Remember when Miley was a cute innocent teen from Tennessee with big teeth and a life that seemed relatively together? Yeah, me too. And you can reminisce when you watch The Last Song. But more importantly, this was the first real time I can remember that we were introduced to the younger Hemsworth brother. As for the movie, it’s got some classic Nicholas Sparks sadness but neither one of them dies so like, fine. Watch this and then cry-sing “The Climb” and try not to text your ex from high school.
2. A Walk to Remember
Get the tissues ready because this has to be one of the saddest movies you’ll ever see—besides My Dog Skip, but that’s for another time. It came out when we were all young little betches and we dreamed of scoring a popular bad boy like Shane West when we got to high school. Sure, Mandy Moore’s character was the nicegirl to end all nicegirls and a total Jesus freak (not to mention socially retarded and weird), but that song she sang at the school play was the fucking jam. Even if it was shadily Jesus-y, it was still the slow dance song we all wanted to hear at our middle school dance. And it would have almost gotten away with being the #1 Nicholas Sparks movie, if it wasn’t for…
1. The Notebook
Name a more iconic love story. I’ll wait. I’m not going to go into why this is No. 1 because if you disagree you can go shave your fucking back. Long live Allie and Noah.