6.8/10
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78 user 38 critic

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

Frank and Jack Baker are professional musicians who play in small clubs. They perform cover tunes of music standards and have never needed a day job. Times are changing and dates are ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ellie Raab ...
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Lloyd
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Charlie
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Ray
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Henry
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Girl in Bed
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Vince Nancy
Bradford English ...
Earl
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Kid at Vet
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Theo
Gregory James ...
Hotel Masseuse (as Jeffrey J. Nowinski)
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Laughing Bar Patron
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Storyline

Frank and Jack Baker are professional musicians who play in small clubs. They perform cover tunes of music standards and have never needed a day job. Times are changing and dates are becoming more difficult to get so they interview female singers. They finally decide on Susie Diamond, a former 'escort' who needs some refinement, but the act begins to take off again. While the act is now successful, both Frank and Jack have problems with their life on the road. Susie becomes the agent that makes them re-evaluate where they are going, and how honest they have been with each other. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For 31 years it's been just the Fabulous Baker Boys... but times change.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die fabelhaften Baker Boys  »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$16,823,529 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michelle Pfeiffer hadn't sung in a year when she got the part of Susie Diamond. She had to practice for ten hours a day in the studio, and then took the tapes home with her to study them. For her most famous scene, singing 'Making Whoopee' on Jeff Bridges' grand piano, it took six hours to shoot it. She only had one choreography lesson, and wore knee and elbow pads during rehearsals. See more »

Goofs

When Frank, Jack and Susie get underway for the trip to the New Year's event at the resort hotel (a.k.a. Bill Gate's house), they are first shown driving southbound on the Mercer Street onramp to Interstate-5. Then the scene shifts to them driving near the Spokane Street exit southbound, five miles to the south. Then the scene shifts back to them driving emerging from a tunnel, which is actually the same southbound I-5 onramp, only a little farther past the initial shot. See more »

Quotes

Frank Baker: Jesus, when was the last time we played the Mallory?
Jack Baker: '78, November.
Frank Baker: Right, it was someone's birthday... Halloran?
Jack Baker: He had a daughter, sweet sixteen.
Frank Baker: Oh Christ! How could I forget? What a nightmare!
Jack Baker: She asked for it!
Frank Baker: I told Halloran we didn't do vocals, and he said, "What my Sissy wants..."
Jack Baker: "My Sissy gets!"
Jack Baker: [Leering] She got it, all right!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who's the Boss?: The Fabulous Robinson Sisters (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Lullaby of Birdland
Performed by Louis Spears, Kenny Dennis & Joel Scott
Written by George Shearing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Even when a larger audience will see it, they will probably not like it
25 July 2005 | by (Tessenderlo, Belgium) – See all my reviews

After seeing the rating for this movie, I'm convinced about one thing: the average viewer doesn't want good movies, all they are interested in is some cheap entertainment with big explosions, a lot of violence and shooting and if possible even more car chases. How else could you explain the fact that movies like "Batman Begins" or "Spiderman" and yes even the "The Lord of the Rings"-trilogy make it to the top 250, but a movie like this one doesn't even get a 7/10 (The actual rating is 6.6/10 after 4,563 votes). Am I saying that this movie belongs in that list too? No, I'm not, because it is a very good movie, but there are plenty of better ones. It's just the fact that I don't understand why people no longer seem to appreciate some very good acting and a fine story anymore.

"The Fabulous Baker Boys" tells the story about two professional musicians, Frank Baker and his younger, less committed, but more talented brother Jack, who have been playing as a piano duo in bars and hotel lounges for many years, but who seem to have lost much of their appeal to the audience. They aren't asked for new performances and they realize that something has to be done. They decide to hire a new female singer. During the auditions there isn't one who can sing or keep tone and they are convinced that they will never find one either. But then Suzie Diamond comes stepping in. She's 1.5 hours late, has a big mouth and hasn't got the right 'entertainment' experience (she has worked as an escort girl). But they give her a chance and they are astonished by her qualities. Together they make the act successful again, but when the relation between Suzie and Jack briefly becomes more than professional, tension between all three builds up and forces the band to break up...

Although I didn't know the name of the director, Steven Kloves, I was convinced that this could be a very good movie. The reason for that was because I knew that Sydney Pollack was one of the producers. That's no guarantee for success of course, but it sure helped me to get some confidence in this movie. And it has to be said. Kloves has done a fine job in writing and directing this movie. I'm sure that it will not appeal to a large audience because it isn't very spectacular, but what he has done with it certainly proves that the man has talent. He has written a solid, effective, but simple story without too many extra's and I really appreciate that. Also in his direction he has kept everything quite sober. This is 'just' a love story involving a small band, but it works and that's all that matters.

Of course he has been helped by his excellent cast. Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges are really very good in playing the two pianists, but it was Michelle Pfeiffer who had me completely in her power. Not only does she look and act very sensual in this movie, she sings like an angel. I knew that she was a very talented actor, but that she could sing that well, really was a big surprise to me.

Overall this movie deserves to be seen by a bigger audience, although I'm convinced that it will never happen. It lacks everything to draw in a big crowd and even when they give it a try, they will probably not like it because it's nothing special in their opinions. Personally I liked it a lot. A good story, some very fine acting, very good directing,... make me believe that this movie doesn't deserve a rating lower than a 7.5/10.


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