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Sunday, October 9, 2016

'Milton's Secret' Theatrical/VOD Dystopian After School Special

The recent theatrical and VOD release of the modern family drama "Milton's Secret" from enterainmentone subsidiary Momentum Pictures notably tells it like it is for pre-adolescents in the dystopian world of 2016. The titular everykid feels the angst of his real estate agent mother and businessman father in their lives in what seems to be a Pacific Northwest suburb. On top of this, a classmate who receives the brunt of the frustration of the father of said peer takes out the related frustration on quiet and shy Milton.

The themes and style of this mostly dairy-free product evoke great thoughts of the awesomely cheesy ABC After School Specials of the '70s and '80s. These Wednesday afternoon gems star young "before they were stars" actors such as Robe Lowe and Scott Baio in issues-oriented stories. These topics include teen drinking and pregnancy.

The folllowing SPOILER-HEAVY trailer for "Secret" offers a look at the sense and the sensibility of the film.It further shows that it a kids' movie that parents also will enjoy.

Giving Milton and the 'rents the surname of Adams awesomely reflects the anxiety of our hero, who feels so much like a freak that he imagines that he lives on Planet Fear. He further has dad Bill (played by veteran character actor David Sutcliffe) living on Planet Past where everything used to be better and mom Jane (played by veteran character actor Mia Kirshner) living on Planet Future where hope for things getting better exists.

The "Secret" filmmakers go old school in having the savior of Milton come from the sky in the form of his maternal grandfather Howard (played by veteran Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland) flying in for an extended visit ala Mary Poppins. The fairly recently widowed Howard now embraces Zen to the extent that he practices the art of maintaining his newly purchased motorcycle. He additionally has a new lady friend. In true family film style, none of these changes sit well with the daughter of  this previously traditional man.

The highly relatable financial woes of the Adams family include a tough real estate market compounded by related conservative lending practices, Bill being unable to take a hit it in the form of losing another client, and marital strife regarding both spending practices and the threat of a foreclosure on their house. 

Aside from the tough financial situation taking a toll on Milton, the impact of this on his parents has the lad near the edge of a nervous breakdown. Having a brutal beatdown recorded and widely distributed does not help matters. His solutions include attempting to get gold through alchemy. In true dystopia style, this only worsens matters.

Rather than soothe his grandson with corny sayings, Howard essentially teaches the boy how to live in the now and to disregard the past and the present. The manner in which he illustrates is great fun to all us pet lovers.

Old-school elements include Milton discussing his new philosophy making him the star of a school presentation near the end of the movie, montages of Howard transforming the family backyard into an Eden to the accompaniment of classic tunes, and Milton having a dedicated and cool teacher.

The ultimate lesson regarding all this is that "Secret" proves the feasibility of making a move that is geared to an everykid that also provides his or her parent a reminder of these importance of not having the fear related to the fairly new concept of widespread divorce that plagued the childhood of many Gen Xers with the fear of living in the streets that many young Millennials face.