I can’t say that I normally go for sports-themed movies, but I’m a sucker for a good buddy comedy. 80 for Brady is a love letter for, as you might guess, recently-retired (again) NFL quarterback Tom Brady. So the story goes, in 2017 four lifelong friends and huge fans of the New England Patriots reminisced about when they became fans of the titular quarterback as it marked a major milestone. Back in 2001, Lou (one of the four main characters, joined by Marura, Trish, and Betty) completed her chemotherapy, and now 15 years later they get it in their head that they should go check out the Superbowl. As luck would have it, Lou manages to win some tickets from a local radio show and they set out to experience their favorite player’s handiwork up close and personal. Wackiness ensues, as does a non-stop parade of celebrity and sports figure cameos.
80 for Brady has a star studded cast. Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, Sally Field, Tom Brady, Billy Porter, Rob Corddry, Alex Moffat, Guy Fieri, Harry Hamlin, Bob Balaban, Glynn Turman, Sara Gilbert, Jimmy O. Yang, Ron Funches (best laugh in Hollywood), and Matt Lauria round out a veritable parade, with all of the loosely-tied wackiness and hijinks to shoehorn them into the story. A chicken wing eating contest, lost tickets, pot brownies, celebrity poker, tailgating, scalpers – it’s a wacky cross-country romp that never takes itself too seriously, and as a result, it somehow works. It’s a fun, if predictable, buddy comedy that keeps you entertained, even if only to see how their misadventures will go pear-shaped once again.
There is a party bus full of cameos in this movie, but the four co-leads really do a fantastic job. Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field carry the ball for the movie, with Jane Fonda scoring a touchdown for her always-on performance. On the flip side of that, even though Tom Brady self-promoted this movie into existence, the man should stick to football. Yeesh. Ultimately, 80 for Brady’s 98 minute runtime isn’t really about football, but about living life to the fullest, surrounded by those who matter to you most.
We checked out 80 for Brady on Blu-Ray, and frankly I’m not sure punching up to 4K UHD would make any difference. The movie is presented in 1.90:1 aspect ratio – the same uncropped ratio used by James Gunn for Suicide Squad. Originally presented in the theaters at 1.85:1, it’s rare to see the home release getting a better look than the one we got on film. As the film was shot on digital, the color reproduction is clean and crisp, though I did spot a few noise pops here and there. When the film opens onto the stadium you’ll get a solid blast of greens, reds, whites, and blues – sorry non-Americans reading this, that’s just how it is around here. Overall it’s a solid entry, if otherwise unremarkable. Not a surprise as it’s not an effects-heavy or bombastic film.
I would have expected similar treatment on the audio side of things, but I was shocked to see my receiver light up and proudly announce that it had flipped to Dolby TrueHD 7.1! The movie also supports Dolby Atmos, and frankly I’m still shaking my head in disbelief. The movie is primarily a sitcom-style dialogue-heavy film, so to see Paramount throw everything but the kitchen sink at the audio aspects of 80 for Brady is a surprise. As a result, the voices are crisp and properly centered, with a solid mix for scenes with a lot of people chatting (e.g. pre-game parties and the aforementioned stadium). Rounding things out, there are four options for subtitles on the disc – English, English for the deaf and hard of hearing, French, and Spanish.
There are a handful of extras on the disc for 80 for Brady. First is a 13:38 piece called The Game Plan which is all about the making of the film. The inspiration, storyline, theming, and even Tom Brady’s thoughts on the film…that he produced. Moving on, the next bit is entitled The Goats and echoes my thoughts on the four main characters – Jane, Lil, Rita, and Sally. The cast spend 9:09 heaping a ton of praise on these fantastic legends and how much they brought to the film to make the whole process fun. The third entry on the disc is called “The Largest Comeback in Super Bowl History”, and you guess it, it’s about the Patriots and their comeback win against the Seahawks in 2014. To date the team has pulled this off six times, so it’s less of a surprise than you might imagine, but this 5:39 piece suggests otherwise. The final entry is the most fun – the deleted and extended scenes. With a 3:56 runtime, you’ll find a trio of fun but cut entries. It’s almost always obvious why these sorts of things are cut, whether it be for pacing or overall story construction, but it’s a nice way to close things out.
80 for Brady
With humor and heart, 80 for Brady is a by-the-numbers buddy movie starring some of the biggest legends in the business. While the story is predictable, it’s a fun way to burn an hour and a half, and you don’t even have to like football to do it.
- Mostly clean and crisp film with great color reproduction
- Genuine laugh out loud moments
- Surprising audio encode
- Some excellent performances by true movie legends
- Story is predictable
- Some picture noise