As the movie adaptation of Spare Parts opens across the country (here’s the Washington Post review of “the feel-good story…that’s also pretty darn thrilling”), Joshua Davis has published a bracing and important op-ed in The New York Times about the fundamental difference between the Hollywood version—even when it’s fairly faithful to events—and the real-life version of the story, and what that means for the people involved and, really, America itself. The piece begins:
WHEN audiences watch the movie “Spare Parts” in theaters this month, they will see the kind of Hollywood ending that has eluded the immigration debate in Congress.
The film is based on my reporting about four young immigrants who built an underwater robot. In the movie, which closely reflects the true story, the students enter the nation’s pre-eminent robotics competition, an event sponsored by NASA and the Navy. They win widespread recognition for their accomplishments and, when the movie ends in 2004, their future is bright.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the story really ends.
We won’t ruin the suspense that Josh has worked so hard to build. But the gist is that you need to know the full story, so we encourage you in the strongest possible terms to keep reading here.
Once you’ve read that, you might want to have a look at Josh’s conversation in Wired with the two teachers, Fredi Lavjardi and Allan Cameron, who spearheaded this underwater robotics program (George Lopez plays an almagamation of the two, named Fredi Cameron, in the movie) about the future of the American education system. As with so many things, George Lopez makes it look it so effortless, and yet…
If all of this makes you want to do something to try to change how the story ends, don’t miss the link in Josh’s New York Times piece to the crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to send Cristian Arcega back to school to finally complete his degree. In fact you can just go straight there.