Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

In writer/director Steve Kloves' directorial debut film, about two struggling, Seattle-based piano-musicians with an outdated act (playing together on matching grand pianos):

  • the two "Fabulous Baker Boys": the two brothers (in fiction and real-life) - younger, carefree, womanizing piano lounge player Jack Baker (Jeff Bridges) and less-talented, older, married Frank Baker (Beau Bridges), who were in a restroom preparing for their two-person piano show at the Starfire Lounge - after 15 years of playing together; Jack sprayed Frank's hair with black, paint-like Crowning Glory's Miracle Hair to cover his bald spot and conceal his age (Jack: "This is paint, Frank!" - Frank: "No, it's a magical sheath that simulates a dazzling head of hair")
  • the sequence of their awful, painful auditions to potentially hire a female vocalist for their act to enliven their show - there were a total of 37 failed auditions, including Blanche "Monica" Moran (Jennifer Tilly) singing "Candyman", and other Bad Singers crooning "Up, Up and Away" and "Tiny Bubbles" - and more
Failing Auditioner Blanche "Monica" Moran ("Candyman")
Bad Singer
("Up, Up and Away")
Bad Singer
("Tiny Bubbles")
  • the audition of the 38th vocalist who arrived an hour and a half late - unrefined, gum-chewing, white-trashy, tough girl, ex-hooker/escort Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer), an amateur with no previous formal music training; she explained her entertainment experience ("The last couple of years, I've been on call for the Triple A Escort Service"); after meaningfully singing "More Than You Know" - she asked: "So?"
  • after Susie was hired, the montage of singing gigs - all the while showing the singer's improvement with tremendous stage presence and sex-appeal - unexpectedly entrancing audiences, and resulting in an increase in bookings and gigs for the trio, but then developing tensions that emerged in the group when Jack began dating Susie - endangering the relationship between the two brothers
  • the scene of Frank's upset that Jack was becoming emotionally involved with Susie - and his warning before a show: "Leave her alone. I mean it. Jack, this isn't a hatcheck girl you can leave behind at the Sheraton. You've got two shows a night with her!...I know trouble, and its name starts with an 'S'...You do me a favor, little brother. Stick to cocktail waitresses"; later after their show (during which they had lovingly called themselves "one big happy family" on stage, an argument developed between the two boys, and they insulted and threatened each other by tossing a kiwi and pineapple at each other in their hotel room; watching from an adjoining room, Susie noted: "It's the f--king Newlywed Game"
  • the New Year's Eve show scene (in Frank's absence) in which high-heeled, sensuous Susie Diamond, wearing a high-slit, slinky red dress, sang "Makin' Whoopee"; she slithered atop a slippery piano top (similar to Jessica Rabbit's sexy performance of "Why Don't You Do Right?" in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)) as Jack accompanied her and the camera executed a 360-degree circling around her
"Makin' Whoopee" Performance
  • the sex scene on New Year's Day (early morning) after the entire hotel ballroom was emptied following their show, and Jack and Susie were left alone - Jack's seduction of Susie -- he massaged her shoulders, disattached her red dress straps, and then unzipped the lower part of her dress, rubbed her back, and kissed her neck; when the front of her dress fell down, he grabbed her right breast (and the view of them faded when they sank down and began to have sex on a table)
  • the scene of an embarrassing, small-time telethon (to raise money for a new Lahuga High School gymnasium), that Frank had unfortunately signed them up to appear - for publicity; after the duo was given an impressive but incorrect intro: ("Well friends, we are very pleased to have with us two of the most respected men in the musical entertainment field. The Fabulous Bunker Boys! Come on out here guys. Hey, nice suits, fellas. Now, I know that a lot of you amateur musicians out there are gonna wanna rap with these guys, and don't worry, as soon as they're finished up here, they're gonna be manning the phones. Well, all right. What are we waitin' for? Take it away, guys!") - the two finally started to perform at 3 am - but then were almost immediately interrupted by the telethon host with an update on money totals ("Uh-oh, you know what that means, don't we? It's time to turn that big board over again. I'm afraid you guys will have to wait a few minutes") - Jack attacked the MC and charged out of the studio
  • outside, the two brothers vehemently argued with each other - Jack was incensed that his brother hadn't checked everything out, had 'kissed ass', had besmirched their dignity and turned them into "clowns"; Frank defended himself as the responsible and professional one -- "Don't you think I'd like to walk up to one of these assholes and blow smoke in his face? You're god damned right I would! But I can't. I have to be responsible, little brother. I have to make sure the numbers balance out in my favor at the end of each month so everyone else can go on living their lives"
  • when Jack walked away from the "speech," Frank made a major accusation against his brother: "You just had to do it, didn't you Jackie? You couldn't keep your cock in your pocket"; Jack retaliated: "Who I f--k and who I don't f--k is none of your f--king business! You got that!" - and then when the argument escalated, the two became physical with each other
  • the film's conclusion in Frank's home - the two brothers eventually ended up burying the hatchet, although Jack had decided to go his own way ("I'm not coming back, Frank...I just can't do it anymore. I've been lying to myself long enough") - they shared a drink together from a bottle that they had saved since their first professional engagement, then reminisced happily about one of their early gigs, and joined together to play a spirited, vocal version of: "You're Sixteen"

Frank and Jack
(The Baker Boys)

Susie Diamond's Winning Audition ("More Than You Know")

Frank: "Leave her alone. I mean it"

Jack: "Go to bed, Frank, or this is gonna get ugly"

Sex Between Jack and Susie in Empty Ballroom

Ugly Telethon Incident

Vicious Brotherly Argument After Telethon

Ending: Reconciliation Between the Brothers


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