When I first stumbled upon the trailer for “80 for Brady,” I felt a mix of emotions. The film tells the story of four women, all around the age of 80, who make it their goal to see Tom Brady at Super Bowl LI.

Although I had some curiosity about how entertaining the film could possibly be, I mainly wondered why a movie like this existed—especially since it wasn’t clear what kind of movie it was supposed to be. Was heartwarming, comical or sporty? I had no idea what to expect.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 80 For Brady (@80forbrady)

In accordance with my feelings based on a minute-long trailer, I figured that “80 for Brady” would be the perfect candidate for a “hate watch”—when a movie is so poorly made that it manages to be entertaining.

On the contrary, however, I could sense that the story and characters had a unique charm to them. For some reason I couldn’t really understand, I was drawn to the experience of seeing this movie in theaters. So, when “80 for Brady” hit theaters in February, I gathered some friends and headed to Esquire Theater near the University of Cincinnati's (UC) uptown campus.

During the movie, you see the journey of the four main characters – Maura, Trish, Betty and Lou – who end up bonding over their idol, Tom Brady, who they came to love while coping with Lou’s cancer diagnosis. The group eventually decided to attend the 2017 Super Bowl, which featured Brady’s team, the New England Patriots. The story follows the journey to the Super Bowl in Texas, where the quartet faces an array of challenges on the way.

For the purposes of this movie, I’ll divide my thoughts into two separate arenas—positive and negative.

Positive

  • The jokes that landed. Despite much of the humor being relatively slapstick-like, there were some scenes that genuinely caused me to laugh for a few minutes on end. A personal favorite scene of mine came toward the end of the movie at a pre-Super Bowl party. After the four main characters experience a medley of chaotic scenes and characters at this party, they eventually stumble across some gummy bears that, unbeknown to them, are infused with marijuana. This sequence is followed by what I consider a cinematic masterpiece—when the intoxicated characters walk into a room at the Super Bowl party to find a group full of strangers playing poker. However, each of these strangers is unique variations of Guy Fieri, which resulted in a scene containing nearly 20 different Fieri clones.

  • The real-life story. Before seeing the movie, I had no idea it was based on the true story of four elderly women who bonded during Brady’s historic run while playing for the Patriots. Although the trip to the Super Bowl was fictionalized, the true story is really fascinating.

  • The audience reaction. Although this may vary depending on your viewing method, the reaction from my theater showing was the perfect complement to this movie. I saw "80 for Brady” at the Esquire Theater with a couple of friends who were also ecstatic about the idea of seeing the movie, and we seemed to be the only ones in the theater who weren’t eligible for the senior citizen ticket discount. During the hour-and-a-half-long showing, we watched the audience perform a variety of unexpected actions—like someone at the front standing up and dancing to the background music or the person in the back corner uncontrollably laughing any time a character cursed.

Negative

  • Where was Tom Brady?  For a movie so heavily focused on the seven-time Super Bowl winner, the titular character only appears in a few scenes throughout the movie—which never seem to last more than a brief line. Additionally, many of Brady’s scenes seemed like the directors were working with minimal resources. Specifically, I remember a sequence of shots, during a stare-down between the four women and Brady, when the same 4-second clip of the determined-looking Brady was played over and over again.

  • Needed reshoots. There seemed to be an abundance of scenes where the actors would stumble over lines and needed to repeat themselves. In a typical film, these mistakes are simply fixed with a reshoot of the scene. However, “80 for Brady” seemed to run with it.

  • Emotions button. Another thing I noticed was the ability of this movie to switch tones on a dime. One minute, the characters will be discussing the possibility of Lou’s cancer making a return and going wild at a rib-eating contest the next. Overall, the film seemed to have a hard time transitioning between ideas and simply elected to put different types of scenes back-to-back.

Life & Arts Reporter

Luke Bisesi has been with The News Record since 2022 as Life and Arts reporter. He has written feature stories for UC's College of Criminal Justice, Education, Community Engagement, Human Services, and Information Technology.