Reel Corner - March 2023

80 for Brady

March 2023 Issue
Reel Corner by Donne Paine

The Real Brady Gals
80 for Brady
Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Rita Moreno, Tom Brady,
Lilly Tomlin, Harry Hamlin
Director: Kyle Marvin

80 for Brady follows 80-year-old Lou (Tomlin) and her three close friends—Trish (Fonda), Maura (Moreno), and Betty (Field)—all of whom happen to be die-hard fans of the New England Patriots and its longtime quarterback, Tom Brady. The film’s opening scene catches up with Lou as she forces her friends to conform to her Sunday Night Football superstitions. That night’s game ends with a win for yet another Super Bowl match.

Rather than remaining content watching the Super Bowl from the comforts of home, Lou decides she and her friends have to be there in person for once. Of course Lou has an ulterior motive for wanting to desperately see the game with her friends, but 80 for Brady, thankfully, doesn’t go too far out of its way to hide her motivation.

From there, 80 for Brady spends most of its runtime following the four octogenarians as they experience more than their fair share of misadventures in the days and hours leading up to the Super Bowl. This is a good film highlighting friendship, football, and adventure. Based on true events, I had to find out all about the real-life 80 for Brady gals.

While 80 for Brady is largely fictitious, the inspiration for the movie came from a group of Boston-area women who gathered each week to watch Tom Brady and the Patriots. The “over 80 for Brady” group was comprised of five women: Betty Pensavalle, Elaine St. Martin, and their friends Anita Ricco, Pat Marx, and Claire Boardman. After becoming widows, the quintet found camaraderie and companionship in gathering every Sunday to watch the Patriots.

Pensavalle’s grandson, Max Gross, even made the women T-shirts for their fan club.

Gross, who works as a talent agent in Hollywood, thought the group would make a great movie subject. So he pitched the idea until he found a willing partner.

Once 80 for Brady was greenlit, Tom Brady sent a video message to Pensavalle in April 2020 letting her know he wanted to make a movie about their fan club. 

However, the fan club doesn’t gather when the Patriots play night games (“Too late!” Pensavalle told the Sun-Chronicle), and did not trek to the Super Bowl, enter a hot chicken wing eating contest emceed by Guy Fieri, pose as backup dancers for the halftime show, or pop into the Patriots locker room to hug Rob Gronkowski.

But the friendship of the women is what remains on-screen.

These days, the Over 80 for Brady club membership is down to two. Claire passed away, and both Anita and Pat reside in assisted-living facilities. But Betty and Elaine, both now in their 90s, still call each other every day, and get together for Patriots’ games. They have never met Tom Brady but hope it might happen one day soon.


ReelCorner 1219 DonneDonne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Massachu-setts, where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. Supporter of the arts, especially films, she has traveled to local and national film festivals including Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca. There is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen. She encourages film goers to support Hilton Head local theaters, Park Plaza Theater and Northridge. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is a vaccine medicine nurse consultant and also the author of 4 Interview Pillars available on Amazon. See you at the movies!

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