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Summer is unofficially over, which means it's time to Fall Into Love on Hallmark Channel, and Fourth Down and Love merges two of America's favorite fall pastimes -- Hallmark movies and football.
It seems like the perfect time to rank all of Hallmark's sports-related content, while offering you a sneak peek into Fourth Down and Love.
Given how much Hallmark content features pumpkin patches, Christmas tree lots, bakeries, and other small-town fare, it might not surprise you that there aren't many sports-related movies from our favorite networks.
That makes this endeavor much easier from my perspective, and it ensures that if you've missed any or all of the movies, you can watch them without much effort. Let's get started!
7. A Winning Team
It pains me to start with any movie at the bottom, let alone one that features one of our favorite actors in a lead role. Kristoffer Polaha stars with Hallmark newcomer Nadia Hatta in this story about teamwork making the dream work.
Hatta stars as professional soccer player Emma, who gets suspended from her team for lack of sportsmanlike conduct. While at her niece's soccer game, she injures the team coach, Ian. The two couldn't be more different. Emily is all about winning, and Ian wants his team to do it all for the love of the game.
You can guess where it's going. Unfortunately, despite strong individual performances, the script is lacking. There is something missing that's hard to express.
Regardless, it's still got that Hallmark charm and is well worth the watch.
6. Two for the Win
In Two for the Win, Trevor Donovan is a world-champion ski racer who returns home to prepare for the biggest race of his life.
A local ski instructor, played by Charlotte Sullivan, has just what he needs to light a fire under him, taking his skills to the next level.
This story isn't particularly strong, but Two for the Win has at least a couple of things going for it.
Donovan and Sullivan play well off of each other on-screen, giving the story an authentic feel, but the use of actual winter and snow to produce an immersive experience that takes you right to the slopes is the real winning ingredient.
5. The Perfect Catch
Nikki Deloach stars as Jessica, a single mother struggling to keep her family diner afloat. Andrew Walker is Chase, a down-on-his-luck baseball superstar who needs to be reminded of humility and humanity.
These former high school sweethearts might be just what the other needs to swing their lives in a better direction. Chase is a bit of a jerk before he's jolted back to reality, which isn't Walker's go-to type of character, but he pulls off Chase's transformation beautifully.
Deloach excuses kindness and caring here as she does in most of her roles, so Jessica is the perfect person to bring Chase around.
While we don't see much of Chase in his professional element, he does take Jessica's son under his wing by showing him a few tricks to up his game.
4. Love on the Slopes
It surprises me this is as high up the list as it is, but it's a lot of fun, and despite being cliche-ridden, the leads really hit it off.
Katrina Bowden is Alex, a NYC-based copy editor who desperately wants to be a travel writer. Thinking outside of the box, she tries her hands at covering extreme sports -- something she knows nothing about. Her plan is to track down an elusive extreme sports enthusiast with a reputation for steering clear of reporters.
Thomas Beaudoin plays Cole, who is the first person Alex runs into once she reaches her destination and also the person she's hoping to meet.
Alex is so inept it's absurd, but Bowden infuses her with so much spirit that it's impossible not to root for her. Overall, it's a very fun movie worth watching again.
3. Taking a Shot at Love
Alexa Penavega plays former professional ballet dancer Jenna, who works with Luke Macfarlane's injured hockey star Ryan Cooper with an unusual therapy.
Penavega and Macfarlane are seasoned romcom vets, and they're having a great time with this one. Watching Macfarlane attempt ballet poses is fun in itself, but the story is engrossing, too.
The writing perfectly captures Jenna and Ryan as they unwittingly begin falling for each other, and simple scenes like sitting around a backyard fire pit make you all warm and fuzzy.
As Ryan's therapy pays off and his career calls, he and Jenna are faced with a future that may not include each other. As if!
2. Love on Ice
Emily Jones (Julie Berman) is a small-town ice skating teacher and former champion who walked away from the sport.
Skating coach Spencer Patterson (Andrew Walker with his second flick on this list) begins coaching one of Emily's former students, and the two begin trading notes on the student and her difficult mother to find the best path for her success.
Like many others, Spencer is a true fan of Emily's talent, and he can't help but urge her to give competing another go.
This was Berman's only Hallmark role, which is a darn shame. She and Walker complement each other beautifully, and I'd love to see her working with some other Hallmark greats.
1. Love on the Sidelines
Number one on the list is a personal favorite of mine. Hey, it's my list!
Emily Kinney is an unemployed aspiring fashion designer named Lauren who loads a job as a personal assistant to an injured star quarterback named Danny (John Reardon)
As is often the case in these movies, they're opposites, and we know what that means -- attraction is imminent. Does a personal assistant really need to know about football? And does your star burn out if you step out of the spotlight?
Kinney and Reardon are great together, so Lauren and Danny follow suit. The story features just enough punch and romance with a dash of inner turmoil to tie it all together.
Love on the Sidelines is imminently watchable, and that's just what I do every time I get the chance. I watch it!
But wait! What about Fourth Down and Love?
Well, I'm not going to rank it before you get a chance to see it. That wouldn't be fair to you.
This list is in the spirit of the game, anyway. All of these movies are worth watching, and Fourth Down and Love make a great addition to Hallmark's sports lineup.
Pascale Hutton and Ryan Paevey play former college sweethearts Erin and Mike, who get another chance at love.
Mike is a pro football player nursing an injury, and Erin is a single mother who cheers on her flag football-playing daughter. The two meet again on the field, and they recognize right away what's missing in life might be looking them right in the eyes.
There are all kinds of Hallmark regulars in Fourth Down and Love, from supporting roles to cameos, which makes it even more fun to watch.
I have no doubt you'll be mixing a bowl of Chex Mix to watch this football-themed flick, and if you want to prepare by watching the others, all but one can be found on Hallmark Movies Now. How's that for a score?
Which of the movies above is your favorite? How would you rank the list?
Share your thoughts below, and be sure to catch Fourth Down and Love, premiering on Saturday, September 9 at 8/7c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.