Unlikely Students Build Character (And Robots) in Spare Parts

Unlikely Students Build Character (And Robots) in Spare Parts

George Lopez headlines true story of unlikely Arizona students' surprising victory in high-tech robotics competition

Stories of unconventional teachers inspiring disadvantaged students to greatness are not nearly as ubiquitous in movie theaters as they were in the 90s, but the new feature Spare Parts aims to bring the genre back with comedy star George Lopez in the lead and high-tech twist: The setting this time is robot-building contest.

Based on a true story covered in a 2004 Wired Magazine article by Joshua Davis, the film follows Lopez' hard-working teacher as he agrees to shepherd a group of science-minded students from his underfunded Arizona community high-school through a NASA-sponsored underwater-robotics competition. In the film, as in reality, they faced steep odds (other competitors included teams from M.I.T. with expensive 'bots versus theirs made from cheaper and repurposed materials) and social stigmas (all four students were undocumented immigrants at the time).

Lopez's character is actually a composite of two educators who were involved in the actual events. While acknowleding that the film (which was originally titled La Vida Robot) takes some liberties with the story, Lorenzo Santillan - one of the real-life team members depicted - thinks that "a story like this, as an underdog story, will underline what a Latino family or what Latinos overall will contribute to society." Spare Parts is due to be released on January 16, 2015.

Source: YouTube, Fox10 Phoenix, Wired

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Oh man, this is exactly the kind of movie I've been missing for a few years. I hope this is as good as it looks. Thanks Bob.

I hadn't even heard of this movie, I'll absolutely have to take my stepson to it. Plus, robots. Any movie with robots gets +1 interest.

Sounds like shit, the regualr underdog vs. the demonized "intellectuals".

I'll stick with Robotics;Notes thank you very much.

inu-kun:
Sounds like shit, the regualr underdog vs. the demonized "intellectuals".

I'll stick with Robotics;Notes thank you very much.

Agree; so it's Dodgeball with latinos and robots.
Or it's Coach Carter with latinos and robots.
Or it's the Gridiron Gang with latinos and robots.
Repeat ad naseum.

This seems like the kind of movie I should be sold on right away. Underdog story? Check. Robots? Check. And seeing as I used to be part of a small, poorly-funded hometown FIRST team back in my HS days, it strikes just the right chord.

...Except I can't stand George Lopez. And worse, the subplot about the students being "undocumented" completely ruins it for me. According to a quick google search, it's exactly what I figured it meant - "the four students entered the country illegally as children." As someone firmly against illegal immigration in all its forms, this film's more likely to piss me off than entertain.

*/sigh*

I'll need to remember that one, I think I want to watch that.

So like stand and deliver but with a robot competition rather than an AP test? I can get into that. I might just give this one a watch.

 

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