OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW! Never has an alien abduction story been so sweet than in Jake Von Wagoner’s feature, Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out. Long ago, little Calvin (Jacob Buster) was instilled with a love of astronomy by his father, Cyrus (Will Forte). As the two sit on their rooftop awaiting the arrival of a comet to shoot across the sky, Calvin’s mother, Vera (Elizabeth Mitchell), comes home. When Cyrus goes to greet her, Calvin hears a commotion, then a bright light… aliens have just abducted his parents.
Years later, the teenager Itsy (Emma Tremblay) and her family move next to Calvin’s home. Itsy is upset that her family moved to the middle of nowhere and desperately wants to return to her former home in New York City. Her only shot is to team up with calculating classmate Heather (Landry Townsend) and win a journalism scholarship.
The two decide to run a story on the weird Calvin, who lives alone in his family home and always talks about space, aliens, and one day being reunited with his parents when the comet that took them returns. It’s decided that Itsy will go in and befriend Calvin for the story’s sake. Calvin introduces her and her precocious brother, Evan (Kenneth Cummins), to his super-secret astronomy lab.
“…lives alone in his family home and always talks about space, aliens, and one day being reunited with his parents…”
I really shouldn’t like Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out. It’s a movie for kids in the pre-teen range. But for someone with kids in this age range and a film critic, I have to see these kinds of movies and pray there’s something for us old folks. Besides having Will Forte and Elizabeth Mitchell in minor roles, there’s not much for this old guy.
That said, there’s just something endearing about this film. Maybe when it’s all said and done, it’s a love story, and who doesn’t love that? Yeah, the alien stuff is pretty silly, but ultimately, Calvin is a likable character who we feel for from the start. He’s a lost individual whose life is about reuniting with his parents one day. In turn, Itsy is the force that ultimately grounds him to reality while at the same time becoming grounded in the face of her life-changing for what appears to be the worse. Itsy is the one who has the true character arc, and Tremblay nails the role with her fantastic performance. I believe she fell in love with the weirdo, which, if anything, gives hope to weirdos.
The story through the first two acts makes up for a strange third act that is not worth spoiling. It’s not bad, but it certainly would have been if not for an exceptional setup. And even though Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out is a kid’s film and a pretty good one. Yeah, this sounds like a backhanded compliment, but as one who has endured a lot of bad stories over the years, this is quite refreshing to watch.
Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out screened at the 2023 Oak Cliff Film Festival.
"…a kid's film and a pretty good one..."