The Top 10 Worst Clichés from Hallmark Movies

Last month, when I released my review of Swept from the Sea, it became my 250th published post! As I made that realization, I knew that I had to do something to commemorate the occasion. My most popular post on 18 Cinema Lane is my list of “The Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time”, with 3,019 views and counting! Because this particular list brings readers and followers to my blog, I thought it would be fitting to create a similar post. While other people on the internet have talked about worst clichés from a variety of genres, I have never seen anyone discuss the worst clichés from Hallmark movies. That’s where this list comes in, as I talk about the clichés that I am not a fan of seeing in Hallmark’s films. These clichés are not the worst because the clichés themselves are bad, but because they are poorly or overly used. My list is in no way meant to be mean-spirited or negative. Also, this list will not include a Dishonorable Mentions section, unlike my aforementioned post. Before I begin, I just wanted to say that the clichés I’ve selected are based on my opinion.

Unhappy woman holding trash with disgusting smell
Taking out the trash photo created by Katemangostar at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Person image created by Katemangostar –</a>. Image found on
  1. The “we’re not together” cliché

This cliché has been found in movies from Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Either the male and female protagonist tells someone that they’re not together after someone assumes that they’re dating or they try to convince people that they’re not in a relationship. The way these characters share their relationship status comes across like they’re embarrassed by the possibility of being mistaken for a couple. A recent example of this is one of the latest mystery films, Witness to Murder: A Darrow Mystery. I’m not as bothered by this cliché as I am with the other ones on this list, hence the reason why it’s featured at number ten. But, whenever this cliché is included, it seems like the characters are making a big deal over nothing. In real life, I’m pretty sure that these individuals would just tell others about the state of their relationship in the calmest and honest way possible.


  1. The “moving out of the way for an oncoming vehicle” cliché

In most films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the protagonist is in danger of getting hit by an oncoming vehicle. Fortunately, they are rescued just in time by being pushed out of the vehicle’s way. I understand that a moment like this is meant to create suspense for the story. But this cliché makes the protagonist look like they are willing to overlook simple and important safety precautions, such as looking both ways before crossing the street. Throughout the Aurora Teagarden series, the audience has come to know the titular character as an intelligent detective. But, when the “moving out of the way for an oncoming vehicle” cliché was incorporated into Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For, it makes it seem like her intelligence is being belittled to a certain extent.


  1. The “it’s not what you think” cliché

This cliché can usually be found in Hallmark Channel movies. Either the male or female protagonist will overhear pieces of a conversation or discover small tidbits of information, causing them to assume the worst. Instead of having a civil and respectful conversation with the other person, they will accuse that person of something they didn’t do and distance themselves from them. More often than not, the person who became upset has those feelings for ridiculous reasons. Fortunately, there are Hallmark movies that try to use this cliché in a way that complements the story. Two good examples are Easter Under Wraps and Rome in Love, where the people who discover the information have a legitimate reason to be upset. It’s also understandable how someone could get upset by the information that the movie presents. While I’m still not a fan of this cliché, I’m always appreciative when a cliché is not just put in a movie for the sake of being there.


  1. The “male and female protagonist always fall in love with each other” cliché

While I’m not bothered by this cliché like I am with others on the list, the idea of the male and female protagonist always falling in love with each other is kind of getting repetitive. As soon as you see the movie poster, you know how the relationship will turn out. One of my favorite Hallmark movies is This Magic Moment. In that film, the male protagonist falls in love with the main female supporting character, who happens to be his childhood best friend. Meanwhile, the female protagonist ends up becoming single at the end of the movie, a decision that she’s perfectly content with. I really wish that Hallmark would incorporate more surprises like that. Whether they tell a similar story to This Magic Moment or having the female protagonist fall in love with the main male supporting character, the story would be a breath of fresh air.


  1. The “protagonist’s ex showing up unannounced” cliché

A Hallmark Channel movie that adopts this cliché is The Story of Us. In this film, the protagonist’s ex, portrayed by Sam Page, showed up unannounced in her life. That aspect of the story worked, especially since Sam Page’s character was the male protagonist. This allowed both of the protagonists to reconnect as a couple as well as giving the audience an opportunity to watch their relationship grow. But the protagonist’s other ex, a dentist who moved away to Texas, also shows up unannounced. For me, this part of the film didn’t work because it didn’t feel like it went anywhere. It was a waste of a character and subplot, especially since we knew that the female protagonist, portrayed by Maggie Lawson, had no intention of pursuing a relationship with him. This is not the first Hallmark movie to feature this cliché and it’s highly likely not going to be the last. But I still feel that if the male or female protagonist has no plans to get back together with their ex, then the cliché is pointless.

Aurora Teagarden 11 poster
Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For poster created by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Crown Media Family Networks. Image found at
  1. The “planning a wedding in an unrealistic time period” cliché

Throughout my one year of blogging, this cliché is the one that I’ve probably talked about the most. As the cliché’s title indicates, it’s when an engaged couple decides to plan a wedding in an unrealistic time period, just so they won’t have to wait so long to get married. I find this cliché to not only be unrealistic, but also unhealthy. Weddings have the ability to cause stress and anxiety, yet every time this cliché is incorporated into a film, these aspects of wedding planning never get talked about. I’d like to see a Hallmark movie address how not everyone can plan such a large-scale event in six months or less. But, until then, Hallmark has created movies that effectively use this cliché in a way that fits within that cinematic world. Two examples are Wedding of Dreams and The Good Witch’s Gift, where the engaged couple has the money and resources that allow them to plan a wedding in a short amount of time. What also works in these movies’ favor is how this cliché is not the primary focus of the story. They include other interesting subplots to help move the plot along.


  1. The “business person is a jerk and/or out of touch” cliché

Whenever this cliché appears in a Hallmark film, I noticed that it’s mostly the businessmen who are dating the female protagonist that embody this cliché. Either they don’t act as nice as the male protagonist or they are “out of touch” with what’s important to the female protagonist. Because of this, the female protagonist ends up not falling in love with them. The reason why this cliché is placed higher than others on my list is how outdated it seems. After receiving films like the All of My Heart trilogy and Love Unleashed, the “business person is a jerk/out of touch” cliché doesn’t really feel like it has a purpose anymore. It also seems like this character’s sole purpose is to make the male protagonist look better in the eyes of the female protagonist. I’m surprised that Hallmark still adopts this cliché from time to time, especially since the Hallmark company is run by business people. I doubt that they would want to see their profession portrayed in a negative light.


  1. The “building condos is bad” cliché

Despite the many years that I’ve spent watching Hallmark movies, I’ve never understood the purpose of this cliché. In films that incorporate this cliché, the people in a small town are mad because a beloved piece of land or business will be replaced by a series of condos. The person planning on building the condos is either the film’s villain or just an antagonist. When this cliché was placed in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play, it felt out of place. While it only played a minor role in the movie, it didn’t have any significance on the plot. Why would anyone be against the building of condos? Condos would create homes, which would also create a place for someone to belong and spend time with family. These ideas have been promoted by Hallmark for years, so having a cliché that contradicts that seems strange. I am waiting for the day when Hallmark makes a movie where the protagonist or a member of the protagonist’s family happily lives in a condo.


  1. The “royal movie” clichés

You’re probably wondering how I’m able to get away with putting so many clichés in one spot. Well, when it comes to Hallmark’s “royal” movies, these clichés usually come in a set. From the European prince with a British accent to the royal family not approving of the relationship between their family member and a “commoner”, these clichés make me discouraged by Hallmark’s lack of creativity. In an editorial called, “When Creativity is Squandered: The Wasted Potential on Hallmark’s Good Witch”, I talked about how these clichés prevented an episode of Good Witch from reaching its creative potential. The effects of these movies are now spilling into the television shows, holding the screenwriters back from exploring different methods of story-telling. My favorite movie from 2018 was Royally Ever After. One of the reasons is how this movie used as few “royal movie” clichés as possible. The creative team’s desire to move away from most of these clichés made the movie such a pleasant surprise for me. When Hallmark has created about twelve of these movies and about one or two of them actually try something new, that looks like a pretty bad track record.


  1. The “woman from the city coming back to her small hometown” cliché

Out of all the clichés that Hallmark includes in their movies, this is the one that is probably used the most. It’s as predictable as it sounds; a woman who currently lives in the city goes back to her small hometown for a variety of reasons. Once there, she realizes that she’d rather stay in her small hometown than go back to the city. I’m guessing that this cliché was once an important plot component before it received its current status. Whenever it’s included in a film, it makes that picture ten times more predictable. Even though this cliché can be found in a variety of Hallmark’s films, I’ve mostly seen it within their Christmas movies, with Christmas Wonderland being a recent example. I doubt that the “woman from the city coming back to her small hometown” cliché will go away anytime soon. But it would be nice if Hallmark explored other stories from different perspectives.

Royally Ever After poster
Royally Ever After poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at

What are your thoughts on my list? Which cliché from a Hallmark movie is your least favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time

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, ClassAccidentally 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

Unhappy woman holding trash with disgusting smell
Taking out the trash photo created by Katemangostar at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Person image created by Katemangostar –</a>. Image found on

Now that I have that out of the way, let’s dive into the official list, starting with number 10:

10. Firelight

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)

Movie themed image created by Freepik at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Frame vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found on

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)


3. Northpole

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)

Happy Birthday Poopy sign photo
To this day, it still amazes me that this actually existed in a Hallmark movie and no one seemed to notice. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.


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!

Sally Silverscreen