Reviews

“Spare Parts” four Hispanic students deliver in this movie

January 16, 2015

By Greta Kcomt

(Left to right) Oscar Vazquez, Luis Aranda, Lorenzo Santillan, Allan Cameron, Cristian Arcega and Fredi Lajvardi beat the odds when they won a national robotics competition in 2004. Their journey was turned into a movie called “Spare Parts.” (Courtesy: Fredi Lajvardi) Photo downloaded from VOXXI http://voxxi.com/

(Left to right) Oscar Vazquez, Luis Aranda, Lorenzo Santillan, Allan Cameron, Cristian Arcega and Fredi Lajvardi beat the odds when they won a national robotics competition in 2004. Their journey was turned into a movie called “Spare Parts.” (Courtesy: Fredi Lajvardi) Photo downloaded from VOXXI http://voxxi.com/

Over many years there have been stories about acts of courage, overcoming obstacles and success coming from unexpected places, The film “Spare Parts” is just that. Being released in theaters January 16th, this film is the perfect flick to get you motivated for this coming year.

Telling the true story of four Hispanic students from Carl Hayden High School in Arizona, an underfunded school, in a low income neighborhood, Lorenzo Santillan, Luis Aranda, Oscar Vazquez, and Cristian Arcega, form a robotics club and build an underwater robot. An underdog story of how these high school students go against the reigning robotics champion, MIT, in a competition, hosted by NASA and held at UC Santa Barbara.

“Spare Parts” is four Hispanic high school students in a robotics club under the leadership of their school’s newest teacher, Fredi (George Lopez). With no experience, $800 bucks, some used car parts, and a dream, they build an underwater robot.

Their submarine might not be as fancy and it might be “analog” compared to competing schools but it manages to work.

The story of these students does more than just motivate the movie goer. The film does an excellent job of showing the everyday struggles these students lived. The film does this by highlighting each of their personal struggles, whether it is being an undocumented immigrant, being considered dumb, or living in poverty. Each of the characters leaves the message that nothing is impossible, anything can be obtained and achieved. Your struggles and circumstances should push you to fight harder and want more for yourself.

The character development of the four boys guides the film though moments of joy, anger and happiness. Through the entire ride you are cheering them on. Each student brings their own personality and their own strength to the group, they are similar to their robot counterpart, made up off bits and pieces that might not be considered the best or smartest choices, but together they make a well-oiled machine.

Along with the four students, the teacher that guides them through this journey, Fredi, played by George Lopez, starts off this journey. George Lopez’s character goes from being just a substitute teacher with no plan of staying at this school for long to becoming a father figure to these four students and helping them compete in a competition that will ultimately change their lives.

The all-star cast of this film composed of George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, Carlos Pena Vega, Esai Morales, David Del Rio, Oscar Gutierrez, Alexa PenaVega, Alessandra Rosaldo, Marisa Tomei and even a short but funny cameo from Gerardo Ortiz himself, all bring life to this film though drama, comedy and a feeling of pride regardless of your ethnicity and racial background.

The most striking part of the film, that seems to stay with you after you leave the theatre is when Fredi, the teacher, tells the four boys that they have nothing to lose and all to win.

After they pass the California border, that being the biggest problem since some of the students are undocumented immigrants, they have nothing to lose and if they don’t make it far in the competition at least they get to see the ocean. Then it hit me, the irony of these four boys are from Arizona, they have never seen the ocean and they are competing in an underwater robot completion!

This film does just that, it gives you a journey that seems so far fetched and unobtainable, only to be reminded that this story is real and it has shaped our real lives. One of the boys was used as an example when President Obama was trying to pass the DACA act, giving thousands of undocumented immigrants the ability to go beyond high school and onto college.

This underdog story is timeless, with its occasional quick sense of humor, real life drama and over all feel good message it is definitely one to see with the family, you are sure to come out of the theatre feeling the same way I did, like you could take on the world, nothing can stop you, nothing is a hurdle launching pad to get you further, which is pretty much, what I believe this film was intended to do.

Greta Kcomt is an intern with La Prensa San Diego

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One Response to ““Spare Parts” four Hispanic students deliver in this movie”

  1. Carmen Kcomt Says:

    Well done Greta! Very good article!

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