Fingernails across a chalkboard. A steel fork clanging off a tooth. Waterboarding. A “very special episode” of “Blossom.” Lima Beans. All things that can make rational people resort to irrational, involuntary shakes, shivers and shouts.
To that list we add the pop culture marriage of inexplicable titans: Miley Cyrus and Nicholas Sparks.
The tween princess and the prince of pulp romance have joined forces (imagine Darth Vader teaming up with the shark from “Jaws”) for a new cross-promotional, marketing opportunity. Called “The Last Song” (as if the gods would be so kind), the quote-unquote movie stars Cyrus as a troubled teen with a gift for music (so you know it’s not a documentary) and is based on a quote-unquote book that Sparks barely finished spewing out (this is, after all, a quote-unquote author who has published 15 novels since 1996) before the p.r. campaign had started.
“I think he does romance in such a cool way,” Cyrus told MTV News about Sparks. “He does it like ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ a pure love story without going melodramatic and corny.”
Those of you who remember “The Notebook,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Nights in Rodanthe” and the recent “Dear John” no doubt recognize the similarities between those Sparks masterworks and “Romeo and Juliet.” We can excuse Cyrus from making the connection, though; since she admits that she hadn’t finished the reading book before the movie began shooting.
Sparks, though, has no trouble defining his art and his place in its work.
“There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion,” he told USA Today earlier this month. “It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre.”
“The Last Song” is the sort of marketing opportunity … okay, “movie” … that speaks not only to a blatant grab for the buck, but to Hollywood’s lack of original ideas. Take the third Olsen Twin, stick her in a project written by the king of airport novelists and make a few hundred million before the action flicks arrive this summer.
I’d rather see a movie based on the “Battleship” board game. Or the comic strip dog “Marmaduke.” Or the 1950s TV series “77 Sunset Strip.” Come to think of it … movies ARE being made out of all three of those.
Pass the lima beans.