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September 25, 2008

Nicholas Sparks: Schlocky Shakespeare


"Nights in Rodanthe" was already missing -- on purpose -- from our weekend entertainment to-do list, but after seeing how Nicholas Sparks describes his prose (from whence the movie sprung), we're declaring a fatwa on his entire oeuvre.

Feel free to begin exaggerated eye-rolling here:

"I write a dramatic epic love story, I write modern-day Greek tragedies, and there’s a big difference between that and romance."

Because romance is so dime store and, you know, female. Maybe that's not how he meant it? Even if it wasn't, read on, please, and share our outrage, reported by Vulture:

"You had Hemingway write 'A Farewell to Arms,' the movies of the forties — 'Casablanca,' 'From Here to Eternity' -- Shakespeare, and that’s the genre I work in."

Say, did that smarm-meister behind "The Notebook" and "Message in a Bottle" just compare himself to Shakespeare?

Not that poorly written over-the-top melodramatic three-dozen-hankie novels can't be made into decent movies. It happened with Robert James Waller's "Bridges of Madison County" -- crap book, touching movie that earned Meryl Streep an Oscar nomination.

We expect no such feat from "Nights," even though Richard Gere and Diane Lane, pictured at the premiere earlier this week, are awfully pretty together (and we sure liked them in "Unfaithful," for which Lane snagged an Oscar nod).

See it if you must, but know that you're just stoking the author's already overblown sense of literary import. And that, dear readers, is the real tragedy here.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

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  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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