Whenever I’ve been nominated for The Pick My Movie Tag, the theme has revolved around Hallmark movies. First, I wrote a list of the top five Hallmark films based on a true story. Then, I published an editorial why Francesca Quinn, PI is the worst Hallmark movie I’ve ever seen. Now, after being nominated for The Pick My Movie Tag for a third time, I’m creating another Hallmark related list! Tagged by Rebecca from Taking Up Room, I was given the option to either write about my first Hallmark film or a favorite Hallmark film from the 90s. While reflecting on all the Hallmark movies released during the 1990s, I realized I had seen enough presentations from the Hallmark Hall of Fame collection to curate a top ten list. So, with a gracious thank you to Rebecca, I will share my list of the top ten best Hallmark Hall of Fame films from the 1990s! Before I start this list, I’d like to remind my readers that this article is not only based on my opinion, it is also based on the Hallmark Hall of Fame projects I’ve seen. Each movie will be listed based on when they were released on television. Since this list was written for a tag, I need to include the official tag rules, which are featured below:
The Tag’s Rules
- Nominate one or more people to review the film or films of your choice. Or you can request they review something from a certain year, genre, or star. Everyone can review the same thing, or you can request each person cover something different. As long as it’s something they haven’t written about yet, you’re good.
- Nominees are allowed to request a different pick for whatever reason no more than five times. Stuff happens. We all know it.
- Nominees must thank the person who nominated them and provide a link their blog.
- Nominees may nominate others to keep the tag going. Picking the person who nominated them is allowed, or they can nominate someone else. Maybe both.
- All participants need to include these rules in their post, whether they’re nominees or picking nominees.
- All participants should use the “Pick My Movie” banner or something similar in their posts.
- Have fun!
Released April 29th, 1990
Two months ago, I reviewed Caroline? for a Blog Follower Dedication Review. When I chose to write about this film, it was an opportunity to share another VHS exclusive Hallmark Hall of Fame title with my readers. But after I saw Caroline?, it quickly became one of my favorite movies from the Hallmark Hall of Fame collection! The combination of strong acting performances and a mysterious plot made the story intriguing to watch! The inclusion of messages and themes such as learning from the past and respecting the wishes of others gave the story more depth. Even the creative team’s attention to detail was reflective in the set design, showcasing the differentiation of time within the story. If I were introducing someone to the Hallmark Hall of Fame collection, I would tell them about Caroline?!
2. Sarah, Plain and Tall
Released February 3rd, 1991
Hallmark Hall of Fame has a history of adapting pre-existing, literary source material. Based on the works I have read, these films are typically respectful toward the source material or better than the source material. From what I remember, Sarah, Plain and Tall belongs in the first category. Like Caroline?, the creative team’s attention to detail could be seen in the set and costume design. The cast as a whole was strong as well. The success of Sarah, Plain and Tall not only led to the start of the only trilogy in Hallmark Hall of Fame history, it also led to the adaptation of other stories from the Western genre within the 1990s. This is one of those titles from the collection that earned a “classic” status!
3. An American Story/After the Glory
Released November 29th, 1992
My review of An American Story/After the Glory is one of my popular movie reviews, garnering over a thousand views and counting! Looking back on my thoughts on this movie, I have an idea why it’s so popular. As I said in that review, An American Story/After the Glory kind of feels ahead of its time. That is due to the inclusion of veteran’s mental health within the story. The way veteran’s mental health, as well as the transition period from soldier to civilian, was written was done with reverence and realism. The script also emphasizes how each veteran is their own unique individual. Out of Hallmark’s miliary related projects, An American Story/After the Glory is one of their better ones!
4. Redwood Curtain
Released April 23rd, 1995
When talking about Sarah, Plain and Tall, I said Hallmark Hall of Fame’s adaptations are typically respectful toward the source material or better than the source material. In the case of Redwood Curtain, the 1995 film falls in the latter category. Hallmark Hall of Fame adapted this story from a pre-existing play. Redwood Curtain’s transition to the screen allowed the world surrounding the characters to expand, exclusively providing the Riordan landscape to the movie. Other changes in the script include a different personality for Gerri, the story’s protagonist. In the film, Gerri is a more empathetic and understanding character, which gives the audience a reason to want to root for her. Music plays a bigger role in Gerri’s life as well, showing her dedication toward her dreams.
5. The Boys Next Door
Released February 4th, 1996
Besides adapting pre-existing, literary source material, Hallmark Hall of Fame has a history of adapting pre-existing plays. 1996’s The Boys Next Door is one of those plays that made the transition to the screen. Similar to Redwood Curtain, the world surrounding the characters expands beyond the limits of the stage. This emphasizes the idea the men in the group home (Barry, Lucien, Norman, and Arnold) are trying to find their place in the world. What also works in The Boys Next Door’s favoris the strength of its cast. Through a blend of facial expressions, vocal inflections, and body language, each character is distinct from one another. These characters are also well written, which made them cherished individuals in the story!
6. What the Deaf Man Heard
Released November 23rd, 1997
It has been a while since I’ve seen What the Deaf Man Heard. From what I remember, I was impressed with the 1997 presentation! This is another film with a strong cast. The interactions between the characters felt believable, making the performances interesting to watch. What the Deaf Man Heard successfully presents the idea of appearances being deceiving, this idea given in a wholesome way. I would love to revisit this movie in the future!
7. Ellen Foster
Released December 14th, 1997
Ellen Foster is another Hallmark Hall of Fame production I haven’t seen in several years. However, this is a movie I highly regard! Like a lot of Hallmark Hall of Fame titles on this list, the cast in Ellen Foster was very talented. But Jena Malone, the actress who portrayed the titular character, stole the show, as she provided a versatile performance! Because this story discusses the subjects of child abuse and neglect, the nature of the film is going to be sadder. Therefore, those who are interested in watching the movie should approach it with the right mind-set. While I won’t spoil the story, I will say the story’s resolution feels earned.
8. The Love Letter
Released February 1st, 1998
Fantasy/Magical Realism is rarely incorporated into Hallmark’s films, let alone their Hallmark Hall of Fame projects. This makes 1998’s The Love Letter stand out among the collection! The idea of time manipulation adds creativity to the movie’s identity. Historical accuracy within the story embellishes the aforementioned identity of the film. Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh succeeded in carrying this movie, as they sold the illusion their characters were attracted to each other. With the consistent focus in the character of Scott and Elizabeth’s graceful maturity beautifully paired with her “romantic dreamer” persona, it was fascinating to watch these two characters communicate with one another!
9. Grace & Glorie
Released December 13th, 1998
As I said in the past, I am not a fan of the Hallmark movie cliché where a woman from a big city moves to a small town. Grace & Glorie contains this cliché, but doesn’t emphasize its presence in the story. Instead, the film focuses on the friendship between the titular characters. The quality of Diane Lane and Gena Rowlands’ performances made their characters’ friendship feel realistic. This made their interactions interesting to watch. Grace & Glorie contains a simpler plot that ends up working in the story’s favor. All these factors come together to create a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that is an underrated gem!
10. Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter’s End
Released November 21st, 1999
Between Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter’s End and Skylark, I always thought the third movie in this trilogy was the more memorable sequel, even though I think this trilogy is one of the strongest ever made. Similar to Sarah, Plain and Tall, the 1999 film revolves around conflicts within the family, such as the arrival of Jacob’s father. However, there were moments of humor and joy that prevented the story from being too serious. The scene where Cassie says grace serves as a perfect example. It was nice to see the Witting family together again, as, from what I remember, the family was split up in Skylark. It almost feels like coming home after a long trip!
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for, the announcing of the nominees! As I share which bloggers will receive The Pick My Movie Tag, they will be asked to write about a movie from the 1990s they don’t like. So, these five nominees are:
Rebecca from Taking Up Room
Hamlette from The Edge of the Precipice
MovieRob from MovieRob
Cameron from The Blog Complainer
Kim from Tranquil Dreams
Have fun at the movies!