Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Hallmark of a Good Christmas Movie

Written by  Jim Nakoneshny


A couple of years ago, during the dearth of mid-winter television programming we settled one night on watching a Christmas movie. Little did I know at the time, but we had just encountered the Hallmark movie juggernaut. I don’t recall the title but I’m pretty sure the story was about a young woman, originally from a small town but with a successful career in the big city who goes back home for Christmas and falls in love with a handsome widower and his adorable young daughter. Every house and street in the movie was festooned with thick layers of Christmas trees and other decorations. There would also have been a tree lighting ceremony in the town square, snowman making, carol singing, cookie baking and all manner of other Christmas merriment. 

Don’t be surprised if you can’t identify the movie by the above description, for as anyone who has seen more than a few Hallmark Christmas productions knows, the above synopsis applies to about 80% of all of their stories. Yet, like countless others before us, as we watched one Hallmark movie and then another, we began to actually enjoy them.

Unlike most Christmas movies of the last few decades, there’s not a smart-aleck kid, dim-witted dad or grouchy grandparent in sight. Robotic reindeer and jet-propelled Santa sleighs are also absent. What remains is (dare I say it?) good, wholesome family entertainment. Hallmark movies are relentlessly optimistic, with cheerful characters, nostalgic activities and reasonably entertaining plotlines. There are some stinkers in the line-up but a good number of the Hallmark products, especially those produced in the last few years, are fairly watchable. 

In the U.S., Hallmark movie channels now draw more viewers than any other cable channel in the Christmas rating battle (including big competitors like HBO, MTV and ESPN, among others). It seems like a lot of folks just like a nice, pleasant piece of entertainment. The fact that you can hardly tell one movie from another is beside the point, and to many people it is part of the charm. On-line tools like Hallmark Movie Bingo Cards let you play along and identify classic Hallmark moments like Cookie-Baking, Ice-Skating, Christmas-Themed-Small-Towns, and of course the lead female character’s iconic Red Jacket. 

With 40 new Hallmark Christmas movies this year alone, on top of the 38 new ones from last year, plus all the others, there’s lots to help you pass the winter hours. You may even shed a tear or two towards the end. It’s not rocket science, but then again, it’s not zombies or aliens either. Those all have their place in the entertainment calendar, but at our house at least, not at Christmas. 

Read 1692 times Last modified on Thursday, December 12, 2019