Hulu now has The Fabulous Baker Boys online to watch for free. You can also watch it here below.
While this 1989 film is far from a geek pick, I thought I’d link it because it’s actually a really good movie and I’m pretty much a sucker for all ’80s movies. It stars real-life brothers Beau Bridges and Jeff Bridges as two brothers who make their living in the Seattle area as a hotel piano lounge act known as The Fabulous Baker Boys. Frank (Beau Bridges) handles the management end of the business, while his brooding playboy younger brother Jack (Jeff Bridges) is really the talent of the show. Unfortunately for the duo, while they’ve managed to make a living off of songs like “Feelings” for decades, it seems piano lounge music is dying out, leaving them with fewer gigs. So, Frank gets the idea to hire a female singer to update their act. Enter Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer), a downtrodden yet beautiful young woman, who inadvertently causes tension between the brothers, putting the future of The Fabulous Baker Boys in jeopardy.
If you can get passed the lounge music — and trust me, if of all people I CAN, then it shouldn’t be a problem for you — then you’ll really enjoy this film. Admittedly, the first 45 minutes has little dialogue and focuses many on the aforementioned lounge music, but trust me, after that, it’s like a whole new movie begins. We finally get some insight into Jack’s personality and years’ worth of familial issues surface. And, you might remember the iconic images of Michelle Pfeiffer in a sexy red dress singing atop a piano — once you get to this scene, the film truly takes off.
I remember when The Fabulous Baker Boys came out, I couldn’t wait to see it. This was the late 1980s, so I already loved Jeff Bridges from King Kong (1976), Tron, and Against All Odds, and was excited to hear Michelle Pfeiffer sing again after Grease 2. Unfortunately, being the heavy metal-loving teenager I was just could not stand that lounge music; this heavy metal-loving adult still hates it, but the mature movie-lover in me can handle it for the sake of the watching experience.
Also, be sure to pay attention during the audition scene — you’ll notice some famous actresses before their big breaks. And I just love that they were all singing The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited” (a song I totally hate, but am so obsessed with, I sing it all the time).
A few tidbits about the film:
The film opened in 858 U.S. theaters and earned $3.3 million domestically in its opening weekend. Its budget was $12 million.
While the Bridges brothers both know how to play the piano, their music in the film was dubbed by professional musicians. The actors did work with a teacher to learn all the songs from the film so that it would seem that they were really playing the songs.
Michelle Pfeiffer, on the other hand, was not dubbed; she provided the vocals for all of her character’s songs. It was the first time in 7 years that Pfeiffer had sang professionally. The previous time was for Grease 2 in 1982.
Pfeiffer was nominated for several awards — including an Oscar — for Best Actress, in which she won one at the Golden Globes. The film also received other award nominations, including three other Oscar nods (Cinematography, Film Editing, and Original Score), and a Grammy win for Best Original [Score] Album.
Madonna and Debra Winger were both considered for the part of Susie Diamond, that eventually went to Michelle Pfeiffer. Madonna said she turned down the role because it was “too mushy.”