Staying inside and watching movies is the norm in winter, especially around holidays when it seems like every program and streaming service in existence is pushing a slate of holiday cheer. And if one brand has the edge on Christmas branding and holidays in general, it has to be Hallmark.
Hallmark has been making Christmas movies forever now, up to the point where an entire genre of movies was born. We all know and love the most recent Hallmark releases, but today’s list is going to be dedicated to their older productions, the ones that skyrocketed them to fame in the first place. Let’s see the ten best old Hallmark movies, once again, ranked by IMDb score.
1. ‘A Carol Christmas’ (2003)
IMDb rating: 5.6
Tori Spelling plays the role of Carol Cartman, and one thing that she hates more than professional failure is holiday cheer. She is an egomaniacal talk show host with a single goal during the holiday season: to destroy everyone’s cheers. By the end of the movie, however she learns a valuable lesson inspired by Dickens’ planetary popular tale.
So Dickens adaptations have been made to death, and it’s hardly ever that you see the original spin to them. It’s one of the most famous Christmas tales in the world, but paired with a mediocre cast and atrocious writing, you get a score as low as this.
9. ‘Meet the Santas’ (2005)
IMDb Rating: 5.6
This is actually a sequel to ‘Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus.’ Nick Claus, from the previous movie, is ready to retire and pass the family business to his son. It’s a lighthearted comedy, and most of the humor stemes from the act of Nick training his son to take over a highly lucrative Santa business. It sounds innocent enough, so what’s wrong with the movie that it has such a low score?
It’s bad writing, as usual, and absurd humor. The general cheesiness of the movie was too overwhelming for even a Hallmark movie. The general public has spoken.
8. ‘Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus’ (2004)
IMDb Rating: 5.8
‘Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus’ is tied to the above-mentioned movies, and it’s been slightly higher rated than its sequel. Even though the movie follows the same recipe “for success.” We follow Nick’s and Beth’s romantic journey from complete strangers to a budding romance, but there’s a catch: there’s a giant pressure on Nick to find his “other half” because in order to inherit the family Santa Claus business, he needs to find Mrs. Claus, so que Beth.
If you’re looking for something that emulates the holiday atmosphere, something lighthearted, you should definitely give this movie a try. In that case, you won’t be too troubled with the overall structure, plot, and execution.
7. ‘Eve’s Christmas’ (2004)
IMDb Rating: 5.9
The story of ‘Eve’s Christmas’ follows Eve played by Elisa Donovan. Eve is a workaholic (a must-have for a Hallmark Christmas movie), and often neglects her personal life. On Christmas Eve, she wishes she could have a different life, and her wish mysteriously comes true. Eve wakes up to find herself living a completely different life—one where she is a stay-at-home mom with a loving husband and children. The premise sounds innocent enough, but as always, people hated the execution and accused Hallmark of having an agenda trying to push “successful” career women as miserable and stay-at-home moms as ideal women. I don’t think this is necessarily true, but the acting is atrocious.
6. ‘A Town Without Christmas’ (2001)
IMDb Rating: 6.1
Noelle, played by Patricia Heaton, goes to a small town to find inspiration for her next book, which she plans to title “Christmas Every Day.” However, she accidentally gets involved with a horrifying town mystery. A small boy has written to Santa, and his wish was for Christmas to never come again, after which he disappeared. While ‘A Town Without Christmas’ is not the best Christmas movie ever made, it’s decent enough.
It has a darker theme than most Hallmark Christmas movies, but the romance is not weirdly paced, and luckily, the mystery resolves with a happy ending!
5. ‘Finding John Christmas’ (2003)
IMDb Rating: 6.3
We’re halfway through our list, and ‘Finding John Christmas’ is up next. The movie is part of the ‘The Christmas Shoes’ trilogy and tells the story of of a nurse named Patty Alden, played by Valerie Bertinelli, who discovers a mysterious man who has no memory and is found wandering in the snow. He is wearing a hospital wristband with the name “John Christmas” on it. As Patty tries to help the man, she becomes convinced that he is an angel sent to bring joy and hope during the holiday season. The movie was praised for its realism and excellent performance from a largely unknown cast.
4. ‘The Sons of Mistletoe’ (2001)
IMDb Rating: 6.8
Bob runs an orphanage called the Mistletoe Home for Boys. Bob is a former resident of the orphanage himself, and he returns as an adult to run the facility.
As Christmas is coming closer, Bob can’t raise enough funds to keep the orphanage running. To help with the fundraising efforts, he gathers most of the former residents, now grown men, who form a group aptly called “The Sons of Mistletoe.” Together, they organize festive activities and events to save the orphanage.
The movie is absolutely average in every view, and like with most Hallmark movies, the acting was criticized, but its wholesome message was praised.
3. ‘A Christmas Visitor’ (2002)
IMDb Rating: 6.9
The bronze movie on our list is ‘A Christmas Visitor.’ Boyajians are still grieving the loss of their son during the Gulf War several years earlier and refuse to celebrate Christmas or take any part in holiday festivities. They are feeling guilty about being happy while their son is well… dead. Anyway, On Christmas Eve, a mysterious stranger named Matthew arrives in their small town. Matthew seems to know a lot about the Boyajian family, and his presence raises questions and suspicions, but this stranger suddenly kickstarts the healing process they desperately need.
Even though the story starts off tragically and sour, the movie’s plot eventually reminds us that Christmas time is also a time of healing. It’s truly a solid movie, all things aside.
2. ‘The Christmas Secret’ (2000)
IMDb Rating: 7.3
Christine is a single mother struggling to make ends meet for her two children during the holiday season. While working as a waitress, Christine meets a mysterious customer who leaves her a large tip and a clue to a possible job, a better one. As Christine pursues the job lead, she discovers a secret that could change her life and the lives of her children.
‘The Christmas Secret’ is a delightful movie with a solid script. It’s, first and foremost, a feel-good movie, lacking the usual cheesiness.
1. ‘Silent Night’ (2002)
IMDb Rating: 7.5
German mother, Elisabeth Vincken, finds herself in a hunting cabin with her younger son Fritz. When American and German soldiers enter the cabin, tension arises because Elisabeth’s son was killed in the war prior to this, but Elisabeth persuades them to set aside hostilities for Christmas. Eventually, the soldiers come together, sharing rations and creating a highly unusual Christmas dinner.
It’s no wonder that this movie is highly rated because it has a true substance. It’s not the most conventional feel-good story out there, but this is what made it stand out from a sea of 6.x ratings. I highly recommend this one.
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