THIS WEEK, instead of "Alien Vs. Predator," we have Nicholas Sparks vs. Cormac McCarthy.

In the form of "Dear John" and "The Road," movies adapted from books that represent, shall we say, different strata of American literature. Still, each story seeks to arrive at the same place - neither succeeds unless, at the end, you're bawling like an infant.

Sparks' "Dear John" is your classic three-hanky weeper, whereas in McCarthy's "The Road," all hankies have been destroyed in some cataclysmic holocaust, so you wipe your tears on your sleeve, unless your arm's been torn off by a roving band of cannibals.

The horrifically bleak "The Road," the story of a dying survivor (Viggo Mortenson) trying to shepherd his son to safety after an unspecified catastrophe, ended up on many 2009 top-ten lists (including Stephen King's). You can learn about its making in a special feature documentary.

"Dear John," released a few months ago, will not end up on many top-ten lists, unless Kleenex has one. It's a Sparksian saga of terminal disease and star-crossed love. Stars Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum provide insight into their characters in a behind-the-scenes feature.