Culture News

Spare Parts Retells the Story of Phoenix Robotics Team

In 2004, a group of Phoenix high schoolers made a splash with a robot named "Stinky."

There's a good chance you've heard this one before. But just in case you need a refresher: Carl Hayden High's robotics team of four Latino boys participated in a NASA-sponsored competition and beat MIT. Their underdog story has been covered extensively by New Times, was made into Mary Mazzio's 2014 documentary Underwater Dreaming, and now it's the subject of Spare Parts, a feature film starring George Lopez out Friday, January 16.

See also: The Whiz Kids of Robotics

Since winning the competition, the team's members have gone on to push for immigration reform through activism and support of the DREAM Act.

From Lions Gate and director Sean McNamara, whose resume includes episodes of Disney shows That's So Raven and Even Stevens, this big-screen spin on the robotics team's story also stars Marisa Tomei, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alexa PenaVega, and Carlos PenaVega.

The film's wide release has it playing in theaters across the country, including local AMC and Harkins locations.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski