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Review: KIDS - Aliens Abucted My Parents and Now I Feel Kind of Left Out
by Karen Pecota

USA | 2022

Director: Jake Van Wagoner Screenplay: Austin Everett

Filmmaker/director Jake Van Wagoner says, "I know what you are thinking...That's a long title." He explains that he loves the length of the title, "It's fun. It's different. It's endearing." Wagoner continues, "It's got a certain ‘80s vibe to it. It's not just a coincidence but more of a throwback in storytelling even though it's set in the 2020s." Wagoner shares that back-in-the-day scenes played out and focused on its importance by moving the camera purposefully and intentionally to drive the emotion of the scene to the audience.

Wagoner is drawn to stories geared for the enjoyment of everyone in a household. He wants to make movies where, "Everyone might not get everything, he says, “…but everyone will get something." He continues "It's heart-warming AND heartbreaking. It's also witty and funny. Like laugh out loud all over the place, funny." Wagoner and Everett bring the right combination in storytelling together for their dramatic comedy to be delightfully relatable: to move people, to inspire audiences, and bring people together. Wagoner concludes with that being said, "Now, who's up for some pancakes?" You will get it when you see the film!


City folk (the Levan family) become country folk in order to escape the big city trappings a young family encounters. They purchase a fixer-upper, get back to nature and know the change will leave a lasting impact on their family. To uproot, nothing could be more devastating for their sassy teenage daughter, Itsy (Emma Tremblay's) and nerdy adolescent son, Evan (Kenneth Cummins). As new kids on the block, Itsy and Evan, enter a whole new world they know nothing about but when they befriend their space-obsessed neighbor Calvin Kipler (Jacob Buster) he challenges the brother and sister city-slickers to explore with him and live outside the norm.

Itsy sees an opportunity by using Calvin as her ticket out of the country-life and into a summer NYC journalism program. She decides to document Calvin's story of abandonment and his sincere belief that his parents were taken by Aliens and sadly left him behind.

The only way Calvin knows how to get answers to his odd existence is to be ready upon the next arrival of Jesper's Comet (the event that took his parents) and works day and night to accomplish his goal. Calvin is convinced his parents will return and explain their family mishap.

Itsy's storytelling for selfish gain breaks down as she gives heart to Calvin's weirdness. Itsy and Evan find his idiosyncrasies enjoyable and assist in Calvin's plight. Each comrade is unprepared for their journey forward and the impact it will have for each other's future.