If you had asked me before 2020 what my thoughts on Tom Brady were, I would say that he is a very talented quarterback but extremely overrated. Then he did something during 2020 offseason that not only shocked the NFL, but me as well; he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which happens to my favorite team. It wasn’t until he started winning with my team and eventually won the Super Bowl that I had acknowledge him as one of the greatest of all time, a.k.a. the G.O.A.T. He went on to play for another season for the Buccaneers, and after failing to reach the Super Bowl for the second time in a row, Brady announced his retirement from the game . . . until he announced that he would return to play yet another season. After his third season with the Bucs, Tom Brady once again decided to leave the game, stating it was for good this time. It was bittersweet for me, mostly because I wanted to see him in another Super Bowl before hanging it up for good. Fortunately, if I desire to see him in that environment, it is possible on the silver screen in the new film 80 For Brady.
Being a Tom Brady fan, I was already aware that the film 80 For Brady was in the works. What I didn’t know was how much involvement the former quarterback had with it given he unretired to rejoin the Buccaneers during production. Nonetheless, I looked forward to seeing it based on the premise I had heard. In fact, I went ahead and was able to watch it a bit early due to a special showing (though not a advance screening) that an AMC had by me. It was perfect timing, too, because it was the day when Tom Brady made his announcement that he was retiring for good. So, I put on my Brady jersey and went to the theater to watch it. To my surprise, not only were there more people there than I expected, but some had sports apparel on as well. I guess I wasn’t the only one with the bright idea. That being said, I took my seat and prepared to watch a movie that I had anticipated. Did it live up to those expectations? As always, let’s find out.
Inspired by true events, 80 for Brady follows four best friends Lou (Lily Tomlin), Trish (Jane Fonda), Maura (Rita Moreno), and Betty (Sally Field), who have one thing in common: their love for the New England Patriots and, more importantly, the quarterback Tom Brady. This obsession starts in 2001 when Trish, Maura, and Betty were spending time at Lou’s home as she finished chemotherapy and decided to watch some television. They unintentionally put the Patriots/Jets game on and happened to watch quarterback Drew Bledsoe get injured and Tom Brady filling in for him. This new quarterback gained the interest of these women and soon the four friends would spend their Sundays during the football season watching Tom Brady and the New England Patriots play. After the 2016 AFC Championship game featuring the Patriots triumphing over the Steelers and heading to Super Bowl LI, Lou suggests that they should go to the big game because she thinks that this might be their last chance to see him play in it due to his and their age. The other women are hesitant because of the cost. They get a boost when they discover a local sports radio show is holding a competition for tickets and they’ll choose a winner by who has the best story of their Patriots fandom. Days later, Lou surprises her friends with the tickets that she won and soon the four friends head to Houston for the game. Before kickoff, they all go to the NFL experience where they have their own fun. During the event, Betty participates in a chicken wing eating contest hosted by Guy Fieri (as himself) and Trish meets a former NFL player, Dan O’Callahan (Harry Hamlin), who invites her and her friends to a party at a mansion he’s attending later that night. Before walking into the party, Betty discovers that she accidently lost the tickets that she had in her fanny pack during the contest. Knowing that Guy Fieri was also going to attend the same party, the four friends split up to try and find the famous chef who may know the whereabouts of the fanny pack containing the tickets. This stresses Lou out because she keeps getting calls from her daughter Sara (Sara Gilbert) who has been trying to reach her concerning her Lou’s health. She begins to wonder if this would be her last Super Bowl ever due to her health, fearing her cancer has returned.
As I said earlier, I am a Tom Brady fan. I may not be on the same level as the four women in the film, but I was a bit excited to check out 80 for Brady though I knew it wasn’t going to be winning any Oscars. That being said, it was made for a specific audience and I can confidently say that I was and wasn’t part of that audience. It’s complicated.
As a Brady and a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, there were some moments that I enjoyed in 80 for Brady. As someone who roots for the Bucs, I especially enjoyed watching the Atlanta Falcons (a division rival for the Bucs) get beat by the Patriots during the Super Bowl portion of the movie. In fact, the biggest laugh I got from this film was when one of the characters complains that the score in the game was 28-3 in favor of the Falcons, which if you’re a football fan, you know why that’s a funny score. That said, I couldn’t let myself be blind to the flaws that it had, even though I was enjoying myself. For starters, it has a pretty cliché plot, and I was able to predict certain elements. For example, as soon as Betty took off her fanny pack during the contest, I knew that she was going to lose the tickets. Another predictable moment is the health scare Lou has throughout the film. Aside from that, one bit of criticism I couldn’t look past is the overly sentimental tone. I won’t spoil it, but the climax has a schmaltzy scene that came out of nowhere and wouldn’t happen in real life. In fact, that scene made me cringe pretty hard.
Despite the flaws, the biggest strength of 80 for Brady are the four leads and the chemistry that they have with each other. I believe that God provides with us people that helps us be better. In the film, Lou has Trish, Maura, and Betty in her life who give her a purpose when she thought she was at the end of her rope battling cancer. Seeing these women and the love that they have for each other was endearing to watch. Some might say that it is a feel-good movie which, honestly, is hard to come by nowadays. Despite this being a film, I really bought that these women were friends in real life as they seem inseparable. It was that convincing.
If you’re a Brady hater or an Atlanta Falcons fan, then you are probably going to not like 80 for Brady. In fact, if this had come out four years ago, I might’ve not liked this film as I do now and even then, I had some problems with it. That said, I did have fun with it despite the flaws. It’s not something that will be among the greats when it comes to football themed films, but I wouldn’t seeing it again, especially the part when the Patriots beat the Falcons. As a Buccaneers fan, seeing the Falcons lose never gets old.