Throughout the history of cinema, movies have given us a number of gut-punching, delightful moments. Citizen Kane introduced us to depth of field, as well as an unforgettable use of the word “rosebud.” Rear Window and Psycho shocked us with new horror techniques from Hitchcock. Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather welcomed us into a home of Italian-American mobsters, who drew blood as red as their spaghetti sauce. And now, 80 for Brady has put Sally Field in a hot wings competition with Guy Fieri, the mayor of Flavortown himself.
I have always wondered what the first audiences felt when they sat down to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now, I don’t have to wonder. I have witnessed an equally fantastical moment in cinematic history, in a theater, surrounded by people laughing until droplets of sweat run down their foreheads—just like Sally Field in this scene. Film studies professors should be fawning over 80 for Brady, dialing up Paramount to get an exclusive copy so that they can show their students this clip of true, audacious cinema.
This is all gross hyperbole, yes, but I wasn’t expecting to be as absolutely floored by Fieri’s bit part in 80 for Brady as I actually was. The Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives host is a better actor than Tom Brady, that’s for sure. And his two main scenes—the aforementioned wings competition, and one in which Rita Moreno takes an edible and wanders into a poker game, where she hallucinates that everyone is Fieri—are a hot frisbee of fun.
In case you haven’t heard about the plot of 80 for Brady, it’s pretty simple: Four elderly women (three are over 80; Field is adamant about being 75, so she’s not included in the “80 for Brady” team) who love the Patriots, particularly Tom Brady, make a pact to attend the 2017 Super Bowl. Lily Tomlin sells her car to get tickets. Jane Fonda brings around 36 wigs. It’s marvelous.
The day before the Super Bowl, the ladies agree to head over to the “NFL Experience,” which is basically just a big carnival for all football fans. While Maura (Moreno) places bets on Lou’s (Tomlin) ability to win a football toss game, and Trish (Fonda) performs a sensual reading of her football erotica novel featuring Rob Gronkowski, a ravenous Betty (Field) sniffs around for some lunch.
Betty finds a food truck just outside the event, with fiery flames painted up and down the vehicle. She attempts to buy some BBQ, but she’s told this food truck isn’t a local vendor—it’s actually part of a hot wings competition, and if she wants to eat, she’s going to have to sign up and start chomping on some wings. Starving, Betty obliges. Little does she know she’s about to become the next Joey Chestnut.
Fieri is the master of ceremonies at the Hot Ones-like throwdown, which features a handful of gruff men sitting next to…sweet Betty, sporting her “strap on” (a fanny pack slung over her shoulder instead of her waist), while begging for some fried chicken. It’s quite the sight to see. They’re each given a jug of milk, some water, and a barf bag—but if the competitors dare to use any of these, they’ll be eliminated.
The other rules are pretty simple: You have to ingest one bite of each wing, which is dripping in some of the spiciest hot sauces on the planet. One bite of an array of wings, that’s all. Sounds easy, right?
Well, it is, but only for Betty. Fieri bids adieu to the other contestants as they drop out like flies, with Betty still going strong. What makes it even better is that Betty isn’t just taking a bite of each wing—let’s remember, she’s hankering for some juicy fried food—she’s swallowing every morsel. Fieri reminds her that she doesn’t have to eat the whole wing, just a bite, but Betty cuts him off. She’s hangry.
Naturally, Betty wins the whole damn thing—and it seems like she’s still a little hungry for more afterwards, too. As a result, she gets to bring her three best friends to Fieri’s VIP area celebrating the win with the Food Network personality. What better way to pregame the Super Bowl than to spend a day with Guy?
Of course, there are consequences to this big win: Betty leaves her strap-on in Fieri’s trailer. It has the tickets in it, so the ladies can’t get into the Super Bowl. But this all leads to the ladies embarking upon a hunt for Fieri—which, aren’t we all desperately seeking the Mayor of Flavortown? It’s a metaphor for life, truly, and another reason everyone should see 80 for Brady, a goofy masterpiece.