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80 for Brady is So Much More Than It Appears

By Lori Perkins


I love Jane Fonda, even in some of her less than spectacular roles (Book Club), so I knew I was going to see 80 for Brady even though I thought it was going to be a bit campy and ridiculous. And, let’s face it, who doesn’t love Sally Fields?


I went to the movie with a life-long friend (40 years and counting – we do the Oscars instead of the SuperBowl viewing) and was ready to be amused. I was truly surprised that there were levels of depth to the film about friendship, aging and even death that I wasn’t expecting.


I am sure you all know the story: four women in their 70s and 80s who are HUGE New England Patriots fans (Fonda’s character has a thing for Rob Gronkowski having written fanfiction erotica, Between Gronk and a Hard Place, so, yes, they are speaking to me!) get tickets to the 2017 SuperBowl to see Tom Brady, where he miraculously wins the game from way behind. Hijinks ensue with various celebrates (Billy Porter, Guy Fieri), as is often the case when older people are portrayed in movies, although I was pleased that the film wasn’t chock full of sexism and body shaming.


The reason they embark on this once-in-a-lifetime journey is that Lily Tomlin’s character is a breast cancer survivor (flashback to head scarf wearing to indicate chemo) and has received a number of phone calls and a letter from her oncologist’s office as a result of a recent visit, which she has not opened. The ladies try to win tickets through a Boston radio station, but Tomlin’s character cashes in her car and savings account and buys four tickets because she is sure this is her last hurrah (it is not).


Now we know that in real life Tomlin and Fonda have been friends for 40 years. Although Sally Fields has never acted in films with them before, they were also friendly. Moreno said she really didn’t know them well before this, but there is a level of bonding on screen that shows real female friendship. Yes, they are great actors, but something like that can’t really be faked.


As a breast cancer survivor myself, and someone who has been around the block a number of times, I found the film really resonated with how I felt about my friends and life experiences on this side of the cancer experience (cancer-free two years and counting).


I was also charmed to learn that this film was based on a real group of Patriots fans, who went by the moniker Over 80 for Brady, who sold their story to the real Tom Brady who produced the movie. The film’s story of going to the SuperBowl was fiction, but the friendship is real.


The whole package just charmed me.


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