In the middle of the Great Depression, the Kamp family is struggling to get by, but Mr. Kamp won’t let his older children get jobs. Norman, the crippled brother, wants to see a horse owned by a local grumpy rich woman. All the schoolchildren want to win a special box from the teacher for doing the most good deeds, even though they are all sure the local bullies are cheating in the contest. Will they be able to have an enjoyable Christmas together?
Production Quality (2 points)
As is the case for most of John Lyde’s productions, Christmas for a Dollar is respectable and above average. This includes good video quality, camera work, and audio quality. The soundtrack is a bit generic, but it’s fine. Sometimes the sets, props, and locations are limited, but they are mostly good. Also, the editing lags at times, but on the whole, every part of this production shows good effort, which is all we can ask for, especially considering the resources available. John Lyde is consistent in rolling out good productions.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Unfortunately, also like other films from John Lyde and his team, the plot is this movie is fairly limited in its scope and tends to lack overall purpose. While the characters show some realism and honesty, it’s hard to know where the story is going since there are several different rabbit trails it follows without really discovering a driving or underlying theme. The characters could have been something, but some of the awkward dialogue holds them back. Like other movies from this creative team, Christmas for a Dollar contains a lot of nice ideas that don’t come to full fruition. This story needed a bit more work before going to production.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
Despite the unrealistic costuming, this cast was definitely trying. They overcame a rough start of awkward and forced lines and emotions to improve throughout the latter half of the film. They seem like they are receiving some good coaching most of the time and really seem like they care about their roles. This is more than can be said of most casts.
John Lyde and his creative team certainly care about their movies: this much is evident. However, too often, their ideas get lost in translation and do not fully come through. Films like this one tend to come off as nice little kids’ movies with no mass appeal outside of a small audience. It’s a shame, because it seems like they could go further a lot of the time with their ideas. Maybe one day soon they will finally break through to the next level, because they certainly have the ability to do so.
Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points