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The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

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1:35 | Trailer

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The lives of two struggling musicians, who happen to be brothers, inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer.

Director:

Steve Kloves

Writer:

Steve Kloves
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Jack Baker
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Susie Diamond
Beau Bridges ... Frank Baker
Ellie Raab Ellie Raab ... Nina
Xander Berkeley ... Lloyd
Dakin Matthews ... Charlie
Ken Lerner ... Ray
Albert Hall ... Henry
Terri Treas ... Girl in Bed
Gregory Itzin ... Vince Nancy
Bradford English Bradford English ... Earl
David Coburn ... Kid at Vet
Todd Jeffries ... Theo
Jeff Nowinski ... Hotel Masseuse (as Jeffrey J. Nowinski)
Nancy Fish ... Laughing Bar Patron
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Storyline

The Fabulous Baker Boys, a Seattle-based duo piano lounge act performing cheesy jazz renditions of pop standards, is comprised of thirty-something brothers Frank and Jack Baker. Older Frank, married with two children, is the controlling business manager, front man and sole programmer of the playlist. Younger Jack is the carefree one without commitments to anything or anyone, including women, he who has had a long string of one night stands, most specifically with cocktail waitresses. Jack's strongest commitments are to his aging dog, Eddie, and to Nina, the lonely adolescent who lives in the apartment above his with her single, constantly dating mother. Jack's commitment to Nina is because of her unwavering commitment to him. The Baker Boys' act is becoming stale and outdated, and as such their ability to hold onto what gigs they are able to get is getting more difficult. So Frank comes up with the idea of hiring a singer to beef up the act. After thirty-seven failed auditions, they ... Written by Huggo

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die fabelhaften Baker Boys See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$18,100,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Brothers Dennis Quaid and Randy Quaid turned down the roles of brothers Jack Baker and Frank Baker. Dennis Quaid would later be directed by Steve Kloves in Flesh and Bone (1993). See more »

Goofs

After Jack leaves the restaurant in the early morning, Jack returns home and tries to console Nina on the roof of their apartment. The sun, however, is not rising early in the morning, it is setting, since the view is looking to the north along First Avenue and the setting sun is to the west. See more »

Quotes

Jack Baker: You let that guy turn us into clowns tonight. We were always small time, but we were never clowns.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 100 Greatest Sexy Moments (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Pea Song
Performed by Michelle Pfeiffer
Words by Steve Kloves
Music by Michelle Pfeiffer
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Finest, most important film ever made on the subject of Music
16 June 2000 | by petermaxieSee all my reviews

I consider Baker Boys the best film on music because it is one of the finest noir stories ever written on the subject. It is an important film because of the subject matter: an expose of musical art married to entertainment. It is a subject rarely revealed in American media.

Most people think of "musical art" as something found at the classical music concert or the college music department. The other stuff we hear is entertainment, right? Well, sometimes it just isn't that simple. Baker Boys is a story based on those cases of mixed marriage when the talented artist finds himself locked into an employment situation that hampers his artistic ability. It may come as a surprise to Jazz and commercial music lovers that such music artists really do exist beneath the glamorous facade of their favorite music acts (not to mention films). The story of Jack Baker means to reveal this dark underbelly of the entertainment business.

It is well for the public to understand how and why such musicians exist. The distribution of a film such as Baker Boys is but one step toward this end. While most people saw the film as a romance involving the swing music genre, what they didn't seem to recognize is the more important underlying contextual theme. This issue - of undiscovered musical talent - is not popular. Unfortunately the average layperson is not familiar enough with music to understand or care about why a musician would be unhappy with his job. It is easy to see why most people avoided this, the main theme of the film - it's too dark - and instead focused on the romance and the style.

In the end, Baker Boys is a story of one Jack Baker, an entertainer who was finally bold enough to make the transition to Jazz artist. It is a story of passive resistance to what Blake Edwards immortalized as that "other" part of the entertainment industry known behind the scenes as S.O.B. (Standard Operating Bullshit). It is but one fictional story that represents many, many similar true-life cases of successful failure.


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