The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

1989 was a year awash with classy, sweater-clad movies that offered a rarified love of show tunes, jazz standards and lounge music. When Harry Met Sally… was one, The Fabulous Baker Boys was another.Real-life siblings Jeff and Beau Bridges play the eponymous brothers, a pair of middle-of-the-road, traveling piano bar players. Beau is memorable as Frank, the business brains behind the act, who works to support his wife and children.Jack though is the one with the real talent, and Jeff Bridges is superb as the chain-smoking, hard drinking younger brother who would rather be playing the music he wants rather than the same set night after night. Of course, the third member of this trio is Michelle Pfeiffer as Susie Diamond, the former AAA escort girl, who the brothers hire when Frank decides that they need a vocalist to spice up their act.Pfeiffer’s work is both sultry and superb. Susie is the breath of life that the Baker boys and their moribund piano act have been crying out for, and it isn’t long before the three of them are playing to packed houses on Seattle’s lounge circuit.Sadly their success is fleeting, as Jack Baker falls for Susie and drives a wedge between himself and older brother Frank. Susie Diamond’s arrival is the catalyst that ends the thirty year partnership of the Baker brothers, and ultimately leads to all three characters going their separate ways.Even thirty years on I still find myself wondering what became of this trio after the credits rolled. Do Jack Baker and Susie see each other again? I think they do. If you ask me why I’m so sure, I’ll give you a one word answer. Intuition.

This post is part of The Jeff Bridges Blogathon. Hosted by Thoughts All Sorts

16 Comments

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16 responses to “The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

  1. Still to see this one despite seeing Michelle in Grease 2. Will definitely check it out now.

  2. Great post 🙂 I love The Fabulous Baker Boys – you know, in many ways, I think the role of Susie Diamond does for Pfeiffer what the role of Jim Stark did for James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. In other words, no matter how many films they did (though Dean sadly only got to complete three), one just keeps coming to that particular performance. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

  3. RB

    Yes, this is beautiful. Susie Diamond was a brilliantly conceived and once in a lifetime role, played by the once in a lifetime actress who could have done it. Michelle. Funny though, as with all fine art, there is room for interpretation by the audience. No matter how many times I watch it, in my mind, Jack and Susie do not ever see each other again. And that’s OK. There’s a point in life where the memories can be more important than trying to hang onto something that wasn’t meant to be permanent.

  4. Yaseen Fawzi

    Um, I have a suggestion. Well, actually, more of a question. 😉

    In all seriousness, though, this is a suggestion. Since you’re such a huge Meg Ryan and Michelle Pfeiffer fan, why don’t you talk a little bit about their voiceover performances for animated films? That’s something people don’t seem to talk about as much when discussing their filmographies.

    Ryan voiced the titular character in Don Bluth’s Anastasia for Twentieth Century Fox, while Pfeiffer worked with DreamWorks twice, voicing Tzipporah in The Prince of Egypt and Eris in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (and in a coincidental case of bookends, that means she was in the first and last of DreamWorks’ four hand-drawn features). Which of those two aforementioned roles do you personally prefer? In the case of the former, Pfeiffer got to sing that film’s most iconic (and Oscar-winning) song, When You Believe, but in the latter film, she has a lot more to do as the antagonist. Ryan and Pfeiffer also individually appeared as guest stars on popular animated TV shows during the ’90s: Captain Planet (Ryan) and The Simpsons (Pfeiffer).

    • Good question. One I would like to dedicate a post to in the future. I thought Anastasia was a beautifully animated film featuring some solid voice work from Meg Ryan.
      I’m not really familiar with animated films, especially those with singing so I was surprised I actually enjoyed The Prince of Egypt quite a bit. Pfeiffer’s got the perfect wry, femme fatale vibe going on with her voice. Where she lacks Ryan’s comforting tones, she makes up for it in quirkiness and electricity. Her voice is how I picture most cats would sound if they could speak

  5. Thanks for joining my Blogathon Paul. Perfect choice with your and my favourite actor/actress being in it. Like you, I wonder what happened to them afterwards and even, if it was worth the break-up. Probably…I think it needed to happen…

  6. Pingback: Jeff Bridges Blogathon Wrap-up | Thoughts All Sorts

  7. As much as I like the Bridges Bros., the film belongs to Pfeiffer! She is simply extraordinary, perhaps her best role to date. She could have been a great cabaret performer!

    • Yaseen Fawzi

      You know, that leads me to ask why they didn’t simply think of naming the movie The Fabulous Susie Diamond, since she’s essentially the heart and center of the entire film?

  8. “Even thirty years on I still find myself wondering what became of this trio after the credits rolled.”

    I completely agree, and thankfully nobody tried to make a sequel to answer that.

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