Anne T. Donahue
April 30, 2015 5:24 am

Let’s go back to 2002. I had box dyed blonde hair, you had box dyed blonde hair, and Mandy Moore had not-so-box dyed blonde hair thanks to her starring role in A Walk To Remember.

And remember it . . . I do. (That was a slam dunk of a segue, let’s be honest with ourselves and everybody we love.)  I remember everybody crying throughout it, I remember hearing about how everybody cried through it, and I remember renting it, thinking, “I will cry alone. That is how I will cope and/or approach this heartbreaking saga.” And then I remember not crying at all.

I know. It was upsetting, and the fact I couldn’t cry during A Walk To Remember is worth the shedding of tears in and of itself. But I didn’t. And that was just one of the lessons I learned from A Walk To Remember. So remember these: my five lessons I took away from that fateful night in 2003. (It took me a while to actually see it.)

1. Lurlene McDaniel books ruined movies like this forever

Raise your hand if you remember the Lurlene McDaniel series. Now, raise your other hand if you devoured those books, using them as a means to fuel your paranoia of getting really sick and dying. (Like: I can’t tell you how often my Mom had to talk me out of an anxious spiral after reading Lurlene literature.) Terrific. So yes, you felt feels. And by the time A Walk To Remember came out, you had felt enough to know how this story ends: someone will pass away, the other will be left behind, and we will all want to descend into sorrow.

But we won’t. We won’t, because we read the saddest parts of the series already. People, I’m telling you that I loved Lurlene’s books so much that I tried to look up a fictional character named Ethan who lived on an Amish farm because I thought we were destined to be together. (Which was bananas because, a) he wasn’t real, and b) he was an Amish person with no phone and that was actually part of the story line. So what the hell, me?) So when I watched Landon (Shane West) romance Jamie (Mandy Moore) in a way I’d seen Lurlene set up a dozen times before, the magic was lost. So I sat there, emotionless, accepting life’s toughest lesson of all: some of us can’t cry when it’s socially acceptable to do so. And for that, I am sorry, everyone’s weddings I’ve been invited to.

2. Remember: IRL, Landon would probably not have changed so seamlessly

I mean, think about it. Dude gets busted drinking on school property (which, like, it happens) but then a student suffers actual injuries because of a prank Landon and friends pulled on him and he offers like, a smirk. That is fundamentally upsetting. Even more so? He has absolutely no signs of remorse until he sees Jamie do well in the school play. (Also: lest we forget how mean he was before.) And does he change? Eventually? Sure! Yes. We know this. He is Jamie’s last miracle. But in real life, dude would’ve done the school play, then probably gone on to live his life. (Like, 85% of the time, this is what would happen.) And the reason I’m hung up on this is because I thought through all of high school I could change “bad boys” like Landon. And that extended into my early 20s. And guess what: you cannot. Landon would’ve had to have changed for Shane West. Because if he HAD changed for Jamie, and she had lived (spoiler alert), there would’ve been a level of resentment when he realized he hadn’t evolved for himself. And THAT friends, is called, The Quarter Life Crisis. (Deep thoughts!)

3. “You have to promise not to fall in love with me” is the ultimate way to begin a drive-thru order

And I’ve never tried it, but considering it’s absolutely terrifying in any context, it would be harmlessly terrifying before ordering a burger. I think. Like, do not do it. But if you think about it happening, it is hilarious and not nearly as scary as when Jamie is asked to help Landon learn his theatre lines and says, “Don’t fall in love with me.”

I mean, I’m almost sure that if anyone were to say that seriously in life, all bets would be off and by “bets” I mean “friendships and relationship potential.” Because honestly: can you imagine?

4. Only a monster would pick on Jamie

WHO PICKS ON A PERSON LIKE JAMIE? I mean, according to everything we know about high school: a lot of people. (High school can be the worst!) But in this case, she literally just lives her life, doesn’t bother anyone, and is subjected to actual bullying. I mean, what? Who? Why? Also remember when Landon’s friends instigate a prank and/or crime against her just because? Because what: she’s different? She’s not even different! She’s just quiet and doesn’t wear makeup and is a religious person. So she’s a person. 100%, Landon’s friends went on to live cold, dark, empty lives. They are the people who refer to high school as “the best days of their lives” and deep down know that even then, it wasn’t that good.

Jamie, if you can read this, we like you just the way you are. (Bridget Jones-style.) Anyone who dared challenge you, they were monsters.

5. We deserve to know more about Landon after he graduates from med school

I mean, we do know. We know — according to the rules of pop culture — that Landon graduated from med school and goes onto the hospital where E.R. is set, and well . . . the rest is equally upsetting. We know he changes his name to Ray, and we know that he’s in a band and eventually loses his legs because his life is unfair. That is what we know.

But if we don’t want to abide by the rules of pop culture (and in this case, who does?) we deserve to know the rest. Does he love anyone again? Does he summon Jamie’s spirit in an attempt to reunite with her? What happens? Is he ever happy again or is he a tortured soul? We need a follow-up film because E.R. can’t be it. Here, let’s say this:

He quits med school and goes on to become an actor. And that actor stars in the 2002 film, A Walk to Remember. You’re welcome, Hollywood. Call me.

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