Spare Parts (2015 film)

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Spare Parts
Spare Parts poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySean McNamara
Produced by
Written byElissa Matsueda
Based onLa Vida Robot
by Joshua Davis
Music byAndrés Levin
CinematographyRichard Wong
Edited byMaysie Hoy
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • January 16, 2015 (2015-01-16)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • Spanish
Budget$4 million[2]
Box office$3.6 million[3]

Spare Parts is a 2015 American drama film directed by Sean McNamara and produced by David Alpert, Rick Jacobs, Leslie Kolins Small, George Lopez, and Ben Odell. It is based on the Wired Magazine article "La Vida Robot" by Joshua Davis, about the true story of a group of students from a mainly Latino high school, who won the first place over M.I.T. in the 2004 MATE ROV competition.[4][5] The film was released by Lions Gate Entertainment on January 16, 2015.


Four undocumented Mexican American students, two great teachers, one robot-building contest...and a major motion picture.

In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much - but two inspiring science teachers had convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.

And build a robot they did. Their robot wasn't pretty, especially compared to those of the competition. They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition - and yet, against all odds... they won!

But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story - which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement - will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and service in Afghanistan.

Joshua Davis' Spare Parts is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country - even as the country tried to kick them out.



Spare Parts is the first production under Lopez's recently announced film and TV deal with Pantelion Films, South Shore, the film and TV ventures between Lionsgate and Latin American media giant Televisa.[6][7] Much of the shooting of the film was done on location in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[8]


Box office[edit]

Spare Parts cost $3.6 million. The film opened in North America on January 16, 2015, earning $1.3 million on its opening weekend and finishing 17th at the box office.

Critical reception[edit]

Spare Parts received mixed reviews from the critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 55% many critics praised george lopezs dramatic performance tom mcathry also praised george lopez saying he really showed true acting talent playing the character like a real human it looked real

George lopez recived critical acclaim for his performance with many critics calling it one of the best of his career

Differences between real life and film[edit]

Although Spare Parts was based on real life events surrounding the formation and competition of a group of high school kids, there were creative liberties taken by the filmmakers in order to complete the story.

In real life, the Explorer division of the competition was not dominated by private universities, as in the movie. In fact, its entrants consisted of four high schools (including Carl Hayden), four community colleges, two public universities, and MIT.[9] Three of the teams depicted in the movie—Cornell, Virginia Tech, and Duke—did not enter the 2004 MATE competition at all. They instead entered the 2004 RoboSub competition, where remote control was not allowed. All vehicles were required to be fully autonomous, navigating using sensors and software algorithms. In that competition, another team from MIT received first place, followed by Cornell in second.

In addition, the students were led by teachers Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron and not just one as depicted in the film. The teachers are not of Hispanic descent.

Other media[edit]

There is also a book with the same title (ISBN 978-0374534981) and a documentary named Underwater Dreams, that chronicle the story of the Carl Hayden team.


  1. ^ "Spare Parts - AMC Theatres". AMC Theatres. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  2. ^ "2015 Film Study". Archived from the original on July 4, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "Spare Parts (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  4. ^ "Carl Hayden Community High School home page". Archived from the original on January 16, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2018. Spare Parts, the movie about Carl Hayden's Robotics team's remarkable victory over MIT in 2004, opens in theatres nationwide, Friday, January 16
  5. ^ Davis, Joshua (April 1, 2005). "La Vida Robot". Wired. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  6. ^ Ford, Rebecca (November 4, 2013). "Marisa Tomei Joins George Lopez in 'La Vida Robot'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  7. ^ Sneider, Jeff (November 4, 2013). "Marisa Tomei Joins George Lopez in Pantelion's Inspirational Movie 'La Vida Robot'". The Wrap. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (November 4, 2013). "Marisa Tomei Joins George Lopez In 'La Vida Robot'". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  9. ^ "004 MATE/MTS ROV Committee National ROV Competition Teams". Marine Advanced Technology Education. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016.

External links[edit]