Friday night’s opening night of the Palm Springs International Film Festival kicked off with the world premiere of “80 for Brady,” Kyle Marvin’s biographical comedy about four best friends — played by Rita Moreno, Sally Field, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin — whose love is legendary. For, the seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback cut so deep, they started a quest to watch the New England Patriots play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51. That play saw the Pats dig themselves out of a 25-point hole and win the title in overtime, a feat considered one of the greatest comeback victories in NFL history.
The audience gathered at Palm Springs High School for the screening, tickled silly by the film based on a real-life story, echoed throughout the theater with laughter and applause, especially during scenes with cameos spotlighted by Pats heroes: former tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski; retired wide receiver Julian Edelman; former wide receiver Danny Amendola; And Brady himself, who put up 199 productions through his 2020s, a nod to Brady’s selection number in the 2000 NFL Draft.
When Turner Classic Movies host and Entertainment Weekly Awards correspondent Dave Karger, who moderated the post-screening Q&A, which also included “80 for Brady” star Harry Hamlin, asked Fonda if Gronk, a sports icon whose physique resembled that of a Greek god, , “was a natural actor,” the two-time Oscar winner replied with signature deadpan humor: “Who cares?”
The audience burst into laughter and applause. Because, and especially in a world so fractured by trauma and tragedy, who wouldn’t want to see a feel-good comedy about friendship and featuring a roster of Adonis-like NFL players? Who doesn’t want to see four American stars — with a combined 12 Oscar nominations and five wins among them — rave about football stars?
“Tom Brady, I think he went into all of our trailers individually,” Fonda continued. “And when he finally got into my trailer, my knees gave way. I had to hold on to something. I mean, he’s cute. She is very beautiful.”
Field, a self-confessed sports buff, talks nostalgically about raising three boys and their collective passion for football, basketball and baseball. “They should rename Dodgers Stadium Sally Field,” Marvin joked on stage. Field said that when the superstar athletes arrived on set, “I was the one welcoming everybody.”
“There was no one else,” Tomlin joked. “There’s no PA, just Sally.”
“I was like, ‘Hi, guys! I’m so glad you’re here!'” Field continued. “I wanted them to feel comfortable. I was a fan and I was there to welcome them.”
“Tom was very kind when he first came on set to buy lunch. It was the first time he went into each of our trailers, which were our dressing rooms, and he introduced himself like we didn’t know who he was,” Fonda said. “But then again, a true gentleman. He was gracious. And I had one of those giant football sweatshirts waiting for him because my nephew is a huge fan, and he was very kind. And [Tom] Wrote it for him, and my nephew now has it on the wall in a frame. [Tom] There’s just such good manners.”
Fonda, Tomlin, Field and Moreno talk about everything from the aging process to neck problems to sports statistics after screening. To wit, Karger cites the film’s dance scenes, “Who needs the most help with choreography?”
None of the women missed a beat.
“Whenever I thought, ‘I can’t do it,’ well, Rita could do it,” Fonda said before pointing to Moreno: “You’re amazing!”
Moreno, who famously won an Academy Award for her star turn as Anita in the 1962 musical “West Side Story,” threw up her hands in mock outrage. “Oh God, what a burden,” she exclaimed. “I’m 92!” Then he got up and danced around the stage, and the audience burst into applause again. Making fun of herself while walking around, she said “I can’t do this because I have terrible knees.” He then gestured back to Fonda.
“I have never laughed so hard as I have seen [Jane] Almost bragging [during rehearsals]. You think?” Moreno said. “And that’s when I said, he’s going to steal this fucking movie.”