For any self-respecting cinephile out there, the phrase “made for TV movie” should send an instant shiver down your spine. No matter which channel these movies debut on, you can mostly count on three things: lousy acting, an incomprehensible plot, and a shoestring budget. But oddly enough, these movies rake in huge ratings for networks, and there is no sign that this disturbing trend will slow down any time soon.
By featuring sugary, family-oriented programming, The Hallmark Channel has managed to corner the market on straight-laced, quasi-religious made-for-TV-movies over the years. (Lifetime handles the ridiculously trashy crime and sex stories.) This is the same company that turned holidays into big business, and it's doing the same thing with family values. This weekend marks the debut of two new movies on the channel that are sure to pull in viewers, even though the material itself might be suspect.
Florence Henderson and Cheers alum John Ratzenberger co-star in Matchmaker Santa, about a bakery owner (Lacey Chabert) who just might find that true love lies not with her CEO boyfriend but with his assistant. It’s Christmas, Carol!, a Hallmark take on A Christmas Carol, spends the night with a ruthless, money hungry book publisher (Emmanuelle Vaugier), who is visited by the ghost of her company's much nicer, more beloved founder (Star Wars' Carrie Fisher, truly hitting rock bottom here), who shows her what a heartless bitch she's become. To watch either of these saccharine stories will require a visit to the dentist afterwards to get a cavity filled.
So, to prepare you for the cheery madness to come, Complex takes a look back at The 15 Most Ridiculous Hallmark Movies of All Time.
Written by Jason Serafino (serafinoj1)