Tom Brady’s season was good enough without the Hollywood ending. (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)
The worst movies are cheesy and predictable. The feature film project about Tom Brady’s historic comeback in Super Bowl LI will be both of those things.
According to Deadline Hollywood, Oscar-nominated screenwriters Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson are teaming up with New York Times best-selling author Casey Sherman to produce a book and movie about the Patriots’ improbable victory over the Falcons. Dave Wedge, who co-authored “Boston Strong” with Sherman, will be a part of the project as well.
Tamasy’s and Johnson’s involvement in the film is worrisome. Though they did fine work with Disney’s “The Finest Hour” and were up for an Oscar for their screenplay in “The Fighter,” they also were writers for “Patriots Day” –– perhaps the corniest Boston movie ever made. Every scene with dialogue was cringeworthy, from Mark Wahlberg’s hero cop character calling someone a “CHOWDAHEAD!!!” in the opening scene to his vomit-inducing speech about “good vs. evil” after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured.
Deadline Hollywood’s write-up doesn’t make it seem like the Brady movie will be any better. The article’s author, Anita Busch, says the film chronicles Brady’s “fall from grace and then his triumphant return to lead the Patriots to their fifth Super Bowl championship.” Brady was victimized in Deflategate, but painting him as an underdog who battled back against all odds –– like Micky Ward –– is silly. During his four-game suspension, he sun-bathed nude on the Italian coast and went on a publicity tour for UGG slippers. He wasn’t exactly sent to the gulags.
That ties into the central problem with creating a Hollywood-produced retelling of the Patriots’ 2016 season: it was dramatic enough on its own. Additional angles or storylines, such as giving slain MIT police officer Sean Collier a fake girlfriend in “Patriots Day,” is tawdry and cheap.
The real-life drama of the Patriots storming back from a 25-point deficit in Super Bowl LI, and then accepting the Lombardi Trophy from Roger Goodell, was enough on its own. Replacing Brady with Wahlberg would be an easy way to turn the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all-time into a laughingstock.
There’s still a lot that can be gleamed from Deflategate, and the impact it had on this Patriots season. That’s why director Julie Marron is producing a documentary about it, due to be released this summer. The entire saga is a lesson in the corporate power dynamics of a multibillion-dollar organization, media manipulation and, frankly, the art of revenge. It’s best to address those themes in interviews with people who were there first-hand, not by turning Brady into a Tommy Saunders-inspired hero.
In this case, the reality is better than fiction ever could be. The retelling of Super Bowl LI should never be put in the hands of Hollywood.