Recently, I came to the realization that I’ve now published 50 posts (my Waffle Street movie review was my 50th post)! In honor of this accomplishment, I decided to do something different from the usual content I have been posting on 18 Cinema Lane. I’ve been wanting to make this list for a while and I only found one other list of its kind on the internet (besides mine, of course). By reading the title, you know that this post is going to be all about the ten worst Hallmark movies I’ve ever seen. Before I start naming the movies that are guilty of earning my dislike, I just want to make it clear that this entire list is not only based on my opinion, but also on the movies that I have personally seen. Also, the purpose of this list is not for me to be mean-spirited, but rather for me to express my pure honesty. With each of my Top 10 picks, I will also suggest which movies you should watch instead, as a way to introduce you to movies that I think are better alternatives than the ones on my Top 10 list. Now, let me take a moment to name the Dishonorable Mentions. These are movies that I thought were bad, but not enough to be Top 10 worthy:
The Last Cowboy, Wishing Well, Gift of the Magi, Class, Accidentally in Love, Oliver’s Ghost, A Christmas Wish, The Music Teacher, The Nearlyweds, Space Warriors, The Good Witch’s Wonder, Wedding Planner Mystery, The Memory Book, I Do, I Do, I Do, So You Said Yes, Merry Matrimony, Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge Part 1, Surprised by Love, Love on the Air, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: From Paris With Love, Dater’s Handbook, Ms. Matched, Summer Villa, A December Bride, Love You Like Christmas, Murder She Baked: A Peach Cobbler Mystery, Flower Shop Mystery: Mum’s The Word, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: From The Heart, JL Family Ranch, The Irresistible Blueberry Farm, Death Al Dente: A Gourmet Detective Mystery, Hailey Dean Mystery: Murder, With Love, Love Blossoms, My Favorite Wedding, Falling For Vermont, All Of My Heart: Inn Love, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Higher Ground, Murder She Baked: Just Desserts, Hailey Dean Mystery: Dating Is Murder, A Song For Christmas, Frozen in Love, One Winter Weekend, Home by Spring, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and A Painted House
Now that I have that out of the way, let’s dive into the official list, starting with number 10:
Released shortly after A Smile as Big as the Moon (one of my favorite Hallmark Hall of Fame movies), I was hoping Firelight would help the wave of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s (HHoF) greatness grow. Sadly, this movie made that wave crash onto the shore. The story was too basic for a typical HHoF movie and the storyline about the young women volunteering to be firefighters didn’t seem to lead anywhere. Also, the characters were so forgettable, that I don’t even remember their names. Cuba Gooding Jr. is a good actor, but there wasn’t much he could do to save this film.
Instead, watch: Blind Spot (as of June 2018, it’s available on Hallmark Movies Now), A Smile as Big as the Moon (also on DVD and Hallmark Movies Now (as of June 2018))
9. A Family Thanksgiving
I’ve heard some people say that this movie was originally created to be a Lifetime movie, but since I haven’t found any confirmation about this, I’ll keep A Family Thanksgiving on my list. This movie has three offenses against it, which are:
- Shamelessly rips off Lifetime’s Holiday Switch
- Contains some content that would normally not be allowed in a Hallmark movie
- Makes so few references to the Thanksgiving holiday, that this exact same plot could have been placed in any time of the year and not make any amount of difference
Instead, watch: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (available on DVD)
8. When Calls the Heart (2013)
This movie had one of the worst instances of false advertising in Hallmark movie history. All of the marketing for this movie made it seem like Maggie Grace and Stephen Amell were the main stars of the film, with Lori Loughlin in a prominent supporting role. When I did see When Calls the Heart, Maggie and Stephen ended up portraying two supporting characters whose stories were told through a series of flashbacks, with Lori featured in about the last five minutes of the film. The other problems this film had were very slow pacing and an unnecessary cliffhanger ending. No wonder it felt like When Calls the Heart’s first season was trying to rewrite the show’s history, to separate themselves as far as possible from this movie.
Instead, watch: The When Calls the Heart television show and/or its accompanying movies (When Calls the Heart: New Year’s Wish, When Calls the Heart Christmas, and When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree. Only When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree is not available on DVD, as of June 2018. Seasons 1 through 4 are available on DVD)
7. Our Wild Hearts
This movie has almost every “horse movie” cliché you can think of. Cambrie Schroder does the best she can with the acting material she is given, but the character development of her character, Willow, is sloppy and all over the place. Also, just because a character mentions they’re a dancer (only once throughout the film), that doesn’t justify throwing in a random dance scene into the story. Similar to what I said about Firelight, Ricky Schroder is a good actor, but there was not much he could do to save this film.
Instead, watch: Flicka: Country Pride (available on DVD)
6. Date with Love
I have never seen a movie about the prom that was actually good. Date with Love was not the movie to change my mind about that. The story itself felt like it was told a few years too late, with more people in 2016 putting a bigger emphasis on “promposals”. Even though Shenae Grimes-Beech is a good actress, her character was very unlikable. Alex (Shenae’s character) seemed too immature for a character her age. Also, there were several events in this movie that were so unrealistic, it took me out of the film (and I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief for a Hallmark movie).
Instead, watch: Summer of Dreams (available on DVD)
5. The Mystery Cruise
I once read online that this movie could have been the start of a television series. Honestly, I’m glad it wasn’t. With bad special effects in-between scenes and a story that was stuffed with characters and stories, the worst offense this movie makes is revealing the whodunit, howtheydunit, and whytheydunit shortly after a mystery was introduced. This takes the fun right out of solving the mystery alongside the protagonists and watching this movie at all.
Instead, watch: Any of the mystery series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (Garage Sale Mystery, Aurora Teagarden, Hailey Dean, etc. Some of the mystery movies from this network are available on DVD)
4. Love by the Book
This is so far the first and only Hallmark movie that made me want to fall asleep. The story was very dull and the main character was too immature for someone her age, making her very unlikable. Also, when the protagonist keeps getting called “book goddess”, it was so cheesy that it became disgusting.
Instead, watch: A Novel Romance (available on DVD)
This movie was so bad, that I could only sit through about 12 minutes of it (yes, you read that right). The acting was bad, the special effects were even worse, and the three separate stories didn’t seem to mesh very well. The dialogue was too cringy for a typical Hallmark movie’s standards and I felt that Santa was barely in the film despite being a movie titled Northpole.
Instead, watch: Charming Christmas (available on DVD)
2. Good Witch: Spellbound
This movie is the reason why I don’t watch the Good Witch television show anymore. Starting in the show’s third season, I felt that the writing became really bad. So, I watched Good Witch: Spellbound with an open mind, hoping it would be so good, that it would give me a reason to continue watching the show. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as you can see from the movie’s appearance on my list. The writing was the worst part of this film, with beloved characters evolving for the worse and sometimes being given terrible subplots. Nick’s sole purpose in this movie of him trying to scare his dad is a good example of this. Also, this movie has one of the worst reveals in Hallmark movie history.
Instead, watch: The Good Witch movie franchise (some of the movies are available on DVD), Season 1 and 2 of Good Witch (which are both available on DVD), Good Witch: Halloween (available on the Season 2 DVD) and Good Witch: Secrets of Grey House (available on the Season 3 DVD)
1. Back When We Were Grownups
Where the heck do I begin with this movie? For starters, the character of Rebecca Davitch is one of the worst protagonists in Hallmark movie history, mainly because she doesn’t do anything in the film that seems memorable or note-worthy. The family seems dysfunctional just for the sake of it, with the cast having little material to work with. As a Warehouse 13 fan, I was excited to see Allison Scagliotti’s performance in this film, but, unfortunately, she was featured in this movie for about two minutes or less. Back When We Were Grownups doesn’t run on a plot or storyline, but rather on the reactions of (mostly) the main protagonist (who doesn’t seem to put in a lot of effort into solving her family’s dysfunctionality). Remember, you know a Hallmark movie is bad when a birthday banner says “Happy 100th Poopy” instead of “Happy 100th Poppy” and no one seems to care.
Instead, watch: The Beach House (available on DVD August 7th, 2018)
What do you think of my list? What is the worst Hallmark movie you’ve ever seen? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!