Tom Brady retires: Why QB’s ’80 for Brady’ movie secretly showcases the Buccaneers, Patriots star’s legacy

Tom Brady retires: Why QB’s ’80 for Brady’ movie secretly showcases the Buccaneers, Patriots star’s legacy

Tom Brady has been providing free material in Hollywood for literally three decades. The most accomplished quarterback in NFL history, every step of his football journey could have fueled a new storyline: the afterthought replacement-turned-Super Bowl champion, clutch captain of the Patriots’ dynasty and the 40-year-old savior of the Buccaneers. Twenty-three seasons. Seven rings. Three MVPs. And now, as he walks away at 45, an untouchable legacy.

Nobody would have blinked if Brady had chosen one of the biggest movie stars to bring his story to the big screen. You can imagine him now: a Tom Cruise, or maybe Mark Wahlberg, puffing up to wear No. 12, with confetti and trophies littered throughout the storyline. It would be a “Rudy” for our time. An “Invincible” for Boston.

Instead, when “80 for Brady,” the QB’s next Paramount Pictures production, hits theaters Feb. 3, there won’t be one big-name actor carrying the load, but four. And they happen to be women.

Debuting a week before Super Bowl LVII, only the fourth title game in the past nine years not to feature Brady, the film stars 83-year-old Lily Tomlin; Jane Fonda, 85; Rita Moreno, 91; and Sally Field, 76. All four won or were nominated for an Oscar, and all four rose to prominence on screen in the 1960s, giving them a natural connection to Brady as multi-generational artists. They play a quartet of elderly Patriots fans who embark on a journey to catch Super Bowl LII, desperate for a special girls’ getaway and a chance to see the superstar who inspired their fandom (you can guess who).

Brady has a relatively big role in that — and flows like a natural, self-describing — alongside cameos from former Patriots teammates Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. By the nature of the film’s premise, there are obviously hints of self-congratulatory, a la LeBron James in “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” (The main girls barely lost their glittery Brady jerseys!) The NFL also lends a fair amount of real-life footage from Brady’s most heroic Super Bowl, when he led a historic 28-3 comeback, to fuel a fuzzy fabrication of what actually drove New England’s turnaround.

Yet the focus of “80 for Brady” isn’t so much Brady himself, but rather those cheering, laughing and thrashing around him.

Loosely based on a true story of four widows who used Sunday gatherings – and shared adoration of Brady – to maintain a lifelong friendship, the film is part travel comedy, part buddy drama, part sport. -doc. And, frankly, it’s way better than it has a right to be (sound familiar?), reminiscent of the silly light adult dishes of the early 2000s. All four derivations have a seamless chemistry. It all comes together easily, just like her needle drop from Diana Ross’ “It’s My House.”

Rita Moreno plays Maura, Jane Fonda plays Trish, Lily Tomlin plays Lou and Sally Field plays Betty in Paramount Pictures’ ’80 For Brady.’ Paramount Pictures

Why, though, is this Brady’s big-screen vehicle of choice?

“He just goes out there and does his job every day,” said director Kyle Marvin, who is making his feature film debut. “And when you do that that many times, on that level, and people trust you and you deliver, you can kind of become something more than just ‘you’. There’s tremendous power there- in. And I think the power shouldn’t even come from the things he says, but rather from the things he does. And that’s kind of what unifies these women: they watch him go out and get beat up .get up and get squashed and get up and do it again, and that’s the kind of feeling that’s also true with friendship.”

Brady’s unlikely run as an NFL icon has drawn criticism in addition to unanimous respect: how greedy can you be, playing long enough to literally take on the offspring of former peers, with a record seven titles already in hand? Brady admitted before he was long past the point of proving himself to doubters or the rest of the league; his career-ending decisions, like returning to 45 in 2022 after just 40 days of his first “retirement”, were made solely for himself and the teammates around him.

And yet the man who has weathered so many different seasons of football is aware of the beacon he has become for so many real people, in real seasons of life.

“He brings people together, and he’s done that throughout his career,” says Sally Field, who plays Betty. “Whatever team you support for, you can’t not support him because of the magic he’s always been on the pitch. I know he feels that and is aware of it, that magic that ‘he has.”

To be certain, even playing second fiddle to the leading ladies, Brady had plenty of influence behind the scenes. He and his 199 productions, named after where he was chosen in the 2000 draft, were pitching the project before Marvin was chosen to direct. (“Really as soon as Tom Brady gets attached to the film,” Marvin says, “there’s a huge amount of momentum that’s gained from just that act alone.”) When Brady didn’t take his retired just as filming began, the ending was rewritten. unless there is a “final” mark.

And then there was his time on set, where he revisited the colors of the Patriots on the field and in the locker room.

“Acting is not an easy activity to do naturally,” says director Kyle Marvin. “We can all stand in a mirror and deliver lines, but in the context of a big set, with a lot of people and not a lot of time, and very high stakes, it changes the whole dynamic. (Tom) was well equipped at that pressure, and I think that gave him a head start. He obviously had, like, much higher pressure than that particular scenario. So I think comfort under fire gave him a advantage in the acting department.

Field, who has starred in more than 40 movies, agrees Brady’s prep skills were evident.

“There are a lot of the same ingredients in sports and acting,” she says. “Fortunately, I don’t get run over by these 300-pound fat people coming at me — uh, thank goodness — but using your adrenaline to get a task done is the same kind of thing. , whether you have to say lines or learn lines or you have the ball and you have to throw it…Tom is completely natural. I’m nervous, but I can do it. Whatever he wants to do when he will be older, he will be able to do it.”

“Older,” of course, takes on a different definition with Brady. Never was that more evident to Marvin than while filming the movie’s strongest PG-13 moment, when the 45-year-old QB delivers a signature “Let’s go!” on the key, at the edge of the key.

“It got out of control,” Marvin says. “Mostly because Edelman, Amendola and Gronk were there and a bunch of actors in full football gear and a bunch of people in the stadium, and every time we did it people just started screaming and People would just start shouting involuntarily, even though we were saying, “Please don’t say anything. Let him say his line, and everybody shut up.” Without a doubt, every time he yelled it, it was that electric feeling. There was definitely a time when the producers turned towards me and said, ‘OK, stop it.'”

No one, it seems, could get enough of the ageless wonder that puffs them up. Yes, Tom Brady is older than the rest, but more often than not he was also bigger or better than the rest. It’s a definite parallel to the older women who scratch and fight their way to fame in his film. And while “80 for Brady” is wacky and fantastical and occasionally tailored for your favorite assisted living audience, it’s done in a way – through the lens of close-knit friends in different places medically, romantic and relational – which sort of quietly reiterates why Tom Brady really matters.

After a sluggish year in Tampa, he is retiring again, this time for good. (Field, for her part, wasn’t too fond of a potential 49ers team, growing up as a Rams fan, but says she encouraged Brady to move to the West Coast while he was busy pitching his comrades. on their own returns.) But the QB’s legacy, built from the ground up in New England and carried over to Tampa, will survive long after his final goodbye — a career that has galvanized fans, neighbors, family and friends who were lucky enough to witness his commandment #12 a field and find the promised land again and again and again.

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