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The redundancy of Nicholas Sparks

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The Best of Me stars James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan.

With The Best of Me opening this week, we break down the many recurring themes of the films based on his novels, including: Message in a Bottle (1999); A Walk to Remember (2002); The Notebook (2004); Nights in Rodanthe (2008); Dear John (2010); The Last Song (2010); The Lucky One (2012); and Safe Haven (2013).

Characters exchange hand-written letters and/or journals: 6

Characters escape to an idyllic Southern town: 5

Character dies of cancer: 4

Character killed in battle: 2

Dead character returns as ghost: 1

The Best of Me James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato. Directed by Michael Hoffman. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday.

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