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Sparks Notes: Miley Cyrus loves turtles, hates cancer in 'The Last Song'

“Sparks Notes” is one hot-blooded woman’s deep dive into the Nicholas Sparks film oeuvre. Each week, we’ll journey through another movie based on a Sparks novel. Why? Because I’m a lover of romance, the gratuitous use of extremely well-made male forearms, and honestly, I have the time. So, if you’re a Sparks fan, join me as we feel the love, mourn the dying, ogle all the beautiful people who moved to North Carolina, and cry … a lot. Sounds fun, right? Needless to say: SPOILERS ABOUND.

Oh, Sparks fans, I am sad. Upon “researching” The Last Song for this post (by “researching,” I of course mean “watching it while crying into a plate of nachos”), I discovered that it is such a mess, not even Liam Hemsworth having mud hosed off his bare chest could save it. I know that sounds impossible, but I would never lie about the power of pecsespecially not to you. Let’s get through this together, for the sake of forearms.

The Last Song | Released Mar 31, 2010

Directed by Julie Anne Robinson | Written by Nicholas Sparks and Jeff Van Wie, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks

Starring Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Greg Kinnear, Kelly Preston


TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT-ISH: Miley Cyrus stars as Ronnie Miller, who, when we first meet her, is being dragged to Wilmington, N.C., with littler brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman) to spend some quality time with her dad, Steve Miller (Greg Kinnear), after his messy divorce from their mother (Kelly Preston). Ronnie is sulky and wears combat boots on the beach, because SHE JUST DOESN’T FIT IN HERE.

Steve Miller knows how to build stained-glass windows, plays the piano, and can put up with his moody teenager. GREG KINNEAR IS A DREAMBOAT. Why is this movie not about him?

Anyway, Ronnie meets cute volleyball player/mechanic/aquarium volunteer/Tolstoy aficionado (seriously) Will (Liam Hemsworth), who at first she totally hates because he’s nice to her. But then, after an evening sitting on the beach guarding a nest of sea-turtle eggs from local raccoons (SERIOUSLY), she is totally into him.

While on a date, Will’s truck gets stuck, and the two have an impromptu mud fight there in the road. I guess it’s supposed to be flirty and cute, but what of the upholstery in your truck, Will? THINK OF THE UPHOLSTERY. Instead of just taking Ronnie home, Will chooses this moment to take her to his family’s estate to get cleaned up—and Will comes from Scrooge McDuck levels of money.

It’s clear that Will’s parents don’t want their son hanging out with a brunette who has no college plans, and Ronnie wants to end the relationship right there because she is prejudiced against people with money. Will wins her back, though, by revealing his Sob Story: His brother died in a car accident and the family hasn’t recovered. Miley Cyrus digs Will’s suffering and lets him in on her secret: She’s a genius pianist, but stopped playing when her parents divorced. It’s a match made in heaven.

IT’S SERIOUSLY BEEN LIKE SIX DAYS AND THEY ARE COMPLETELY IN LOVE. This makes no sense and I’m so angry about it. Let’s move on to something else equally anger-inducing: Greg Kinnear has cancer and is DYING. He wanted this summer to spend with his kids before he bites it and Miley Cyrus realizes she has been the WORST.

There’s also this whole storyline about a mysterious church fire where everyone in the town, including Greg Kinnear, thinks that Greg Kinnear accidentally set the church on fire when he fell asleep in it (he was playing the piano thereit doesn’t matter), but it turns out Will and his friend were at the church that night and his friend is the one to blame. What I want to know is: WHO CARES?

When the boys finally tell Greg Kinnear the truth, he’s very kind about it and promises to keep the secret. In the end, it just serves as a way to have Ronnie push Will away AND it makes Greg Kinnear even more dreamy. IF THAT IS POSSIBLE.


In the end: Ronnie takes care of her sickly dad, he composes a song for her (THE LAST SONG, GET IT?), she plays it, he dies. That’s rightMiley Cyrus kills Greg Kinnear with her music. Or maybe it was the cancer. Who can really tell?

Oh, and don’t worry: Will shows up for Steve’s funeral, and Miley Cyrus realizes Gale Hawthorne is pretty great, even if he does blow up The Nut, and they reconcile. Also, he’ll be at Columbia and she’s going to Juilliard! Everybody winsexcept for Steve Miller, who is still dead.

AND WHAT DID WE LEARN ABOUT LOVE IN CLASS TODAY? Love, like music, brings you true joy and happiness. Also, becoming obsessed with a nest full of sea-turtle eggs is a great way to bag a man.

BUT HOW DID IT MAKE YOU FEEL? Like all I really want in this world is a Nicholas Sparks movie that stars Greg Kinnear as the forearm-clad hero. He was on the right track, what with the stained-glass window making, piano playing, and dying. Let’s give him the ol’ James Marsden treatment and bring him back as the leading man. It should be our reward for dealing with this travesty.


  • Are the two main characters from different worlds? At one point, Miley Cyrus literally says that Will should be with someone “who fits his lifestyle.” Is love strong enough to overcome a difference in tax brackets?! Unfortunately, yes.
  • Are there parents who don’t approve? Will’s mom (Kate Vernon) doesn’t want her Ivy League–bound son mingling with the swamp monster that is Ronnie Miller. Good instincts, Mom!
  • Is there time spent palling around in some type of water-based location? SCUBA DIVING AT THE LOCAL AQUARIUM. In a related note, deep-water diving, in any form, is not inherently sexy. Unless you’re Bill Paxton in Titanic or something. But that was mostly due to his ear piercing—let’s all be honest with ourselves.
  • Does someone die? Yes: Steve Miller, and any interest I had in ever watching this movie again.
  • Is there a wise older person? Though I hate calling Steve Miller the “old” person, as I identify more with him than with the teen lovebirds, he does offer little Miley lots of advice about music and love bringing her joy and blah, blah, blah. JUST SHOW US YOUR FOREARMS, KINNEAR.
  • Do the men perform activities that require well-developed forearms? The Last Song knows forearms are the true moneymaker in this biz, and it defines Will by giving him three forearm-heavy jobs: He’s a mechanic (greasy forearms!), he plays volleyball (forearms hitting balls!), and he’s an aquarium volunteer (his forearms help guide baby turtles to the ocean, for Chrissakes!).

The Chan Man himself joins us in the next edition of Sparks Notes! Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, and that kid from E.T. star in Dear John. GIRD. YOUR. LOINS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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