Sam Emerson/Touchstone Pictures
No, Miley Cyrus! Never lie down in a Sparks movie! You might never get up! (Miley is seen here with Liam Hemsworth in The Last Song.)
Sam Emerson/Touchstone Pictures
As you may know, this week marks the opening of The Last Song, the latest movie adaptation of a novel by Nicholas Sparks, who has brought you jolly romps of the past such as Message In A Bottle, A Walk To Remember, and Nights Of Rodanthe. I don't actually know what happens in The Last Song, and the commercials seem mostly concerned about Miley Cyrus and her summer romance. But generally, Nicholas Sparks creates drama in one way, and that's through ... death. You never know who's going to die; you just know there's a good chance that not everybody is making it from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.
Thus, we could not help wondering how movies of the past might be different if they had been based on Nicholas Sparks novels. We love a hypothetical.
1. The Karate Kid: At the tournament, Daniel admits to Mr. Miyagi that he has been concealing the kneecap cancer that makes the crane kick so useful to him. Daniel wins the tournament, but then collapses on the mat dead. "Get him a body bag," says a Cobra Kai sadly. Daniel is carried out of the arena by a processional of Cobra Kai on one side and repeatedly bullied weaklings on the other. As he exits, Johnny says wistfully to his corpse, "You're all right, LaRusso. You're all right." The movie ends with a slow piano cover of "Cruel Summer."
2. Pretty Woman: When Vivian and Edward attend the polo match, he is trampled by a horse. There is a reprise of the dressing-room sequence as she tries on black dresses for his funeral. "I'm going to be spending an obscene amount of money," she says to Larry Miller with a sad smile. He looks at her knowingly. "Profane, or really offensive?" he asks kindly. "Really offensive," she says. "Funeral offensive. Trampled by a horse offensive."
3. Inglourious Basterds: "We're in the killin' Nazis and findin' a cure for my mama's gout business, and cousin, business is a-boomin'."
4. When Harry Met Sally: On New Year's Eve, during the speech in which he tells Sally all the things he loves about her, Harry says, "I love that you make me forget I have consumption." They still kiss, but at the end, instead of the two of them on the couch together, Sally is sitting alone. She explains that they hastily put together a wedding, because Harry didn't have much time. "His funeral was very beautiful," she says. "It was a real celebration of his life. And everyone enjoyed the spring rolls with the dipping sauce on the side."
5. Grease: The race at Thunder Road ends tragically when Danny flips Kenicke's car and dies in a fiery crash. While singing a slow doo-wop number called "Dead Man's Comb," the remaining T-Birds find Danny's most prized possession and give it to Sandy. Doody tells her that Danny once called her "the ginchiest," and Sandy tucks his comb into her purse, knowing she must be brave and go through with her makeover. As Frenchy sews her into her pants before Danny's funeral, Sandy sings, "You're in the ground now / like shama-lama-lama, da ding-edy-ding, de-dong."
The rest of the list, after the jump.
6. Titanic: Just as the ship begins to fill with water, Jack's nose starts bleeding. He and Rose rapidly find the ship's doctor, who is about to climb into a lifeboat dressed as a woman. He pauses long enough to diagnose Jack with cancer. As Jack and Rose bob in the water later, he says, "Thank you for making the last moments of my life worth living." And as his lips turn blue, she says, from her perch bobbing on the icy sea, "I'm sorry you're dying of cancer." And he says, "Technically, I don't think I'm dying of cancer."
7. Hot Tub Time Machine: No difference.
8. The Breakfast Club: At the end of the day, the principal confesses to the five students that the reason for his erratic behavior throughout the day — walking around with a toilet-seat cover hanging out of his pants, for instance — is a large brain tumor pressing on his dignity center. "There's nothing they can do for me," he says. Then he points his finger at Bender. "And you — you dumb little punk, you're what I get for company in my final days." He breaks down crying. "And I couldn't have asked for more," he says. He dies on a library table, and the students leave their essays in a pile on his chest and leave. Andrew: "I think that's what he'd want, even though I know my dad ... he'll say, 'ANDREW! YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN STRONG ENOUGH TO CARRY THAT BODY OUT YOURSELF!'" Brian: "Yeah. I mean, right. It's — I mean — if I — if I died and you guys were the only ones here, I mean, you'd be sad, right? Because we're all friends?"
9. Gone With The Wind: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn if you were accidentally gut-shot."
10. Four Weddings And Seven Funerals.