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Truly As Good As It Gets
10/10 Oh, this movie is the best. An absolute must-see. It's dreamy and romantic, yet cynical, so it's like having your cake and eating it, too. The Brothers Bridges are excellent (I wonder how much of their real-life relationship crept into their on-screen relationship) and Michelle Pfeiffer is absolutely perfect as Suzie Diamond. This is the movie in which Ms. Pfeiffer transcends, completely and irrevocably, the realm of mere mortals and achieves goddess status. She's smart, tough, funny, and sexy--all at the same time! When she stretches out on a piano to sing "Makin' Whoopee", she is radiant and reminds one of the greatness and the glamour of old Hollywood.2 years ago
RENT THIS MOVIE TONIGHT!!!!
The Real Seattle Sound
10/10 Written and directed by Steve Kloves, `The Fabulous Baker Boys' is a tale of music and brotherly love set in Seattle. The Baker boys are Jack and Frank (real life brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges), who eke out a living playing piano together at various venues throughout the Emerald City, a basic lounge act they've been doing for fifteen years. Frank is the responsible one, because he has to be; he has a wife, kids and a home in the suburbs. He manages their business, secures the bookings and is content to stick with a formula that works. For him, it's not about the music, it's about keeping food on the table for those who depend on him. Jack, on the other hand, is unattached and could care less about the business end of the partnership. As long as it affords him a modicum of security as well as dignity, he is more than willing to just go along for the ride.2 years ago
For Jack, though, underneath it all, it is about the music; it's about jazz. On off nights he will steal away alone to some small club to play, and deep down inside he knows that this is not only what he really wants, but needs. And he knows he could be great, if only he'd let himself go. The trouble is, he's been with Frank his whole life, and as long as the act is working he just can't make the break. Unless something happens, his dreams are destined to remain suppressed and unrealized. It is only when one of their regular clubs balks at rescheduling them that the brothers begin to realize that perhaps their act is getting a bit stale. So they decide to try adding a singer to the act. After a memorable scene in which a number of young hopefuls are auditioned, Suzie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer) enters their life. She joins the act on a trial basis, and after an amusing and somewhat tentative beginning, infuses it with new life, though Frank continues to adamantly resist too much of a departure from their original show. (`Does anyone really want to hear Feelings' again?' she asks him at one point). Ultimately, however, Suzie becomes the impetus for change that Jack has needed all along, and the stage is set for the decisive moment, which comes when the dignity of the brothers is compromised due to an incident on Frank's part of uncharacteristic carelessness. When Jack tells Frank, `We've never been clowns before' you know exactly how deep it has cut. Kloves has fashioned an entertaining study of relationships, change, and the effects of complacent loyalty and self-denial; and the importance of following your own heart. When Jack sits down alone at the piano in that smoke-filled club, we know that this is where he is meant to be. Filmed on location in and around Seattle, with a terrific score by Dave Grusin,a supporting cast that includes Jennifer Tilly (Monica) and Ellie Raab (Nina), and a classic scene in which Suzie Diamond croons `Makin' Whoopee' atop a piano, `The Fabulous Baker Boys' is an absolute gem you do not want to miss. I rate this one 10/10.
Enjoyable story, thinly plotted but very well made.
7/10 Jeff and Beau Bridges - brothers in real life - are here united to play brothers on the screen. It's not the first time real-life brothers have played fictitious brothers in a movie (in fact, in The Long Riders several famous siblings paired up to similar effect). However, The Fabulous Baker Boys really benefits from the pairing. The sibling rivalry that runs through this film feels very credible and very convincing, possibly because Jeff and Beau aren't really acting but are simply using their real-life love/hate brotherly attitudes to fuel their performances in front of the cameras.2 years ago
It's a fairly thin story, but well told. Jack Baker (Jeff B.) and Frank Baker (Beau B.) have spent years working together as stage pianists in various bars, hotels and night-clubs around Seattle. Their long-running act begins to run out of steam and they find themselves playing to empty rooms.... even their more established employers begin to express doubts about their ability to pull in the big crowds. They decide to hire a female vocalist to spice up the appeal of their show and, after over thirty awful applicants, they finally unearth a winner in the shape of Suzy Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer). Initially, Suzy provides them with a turn in their fortunes, but the future of the trio becomes cloudy when she and Jack develop sexual yearnings for each other. The problems don't stop there, with Frank and Jack slowly becoming more and more distant with each other as their views on how best to market their musical talents are revealed to be very different.
The Fabulous Baker Boys is extremely well-acted throughout, with Pfeiffer in particular giving an outstanding performance (she even sang most of her own songs). The main themes of sibling rivalry and unfulfilled talent are generally engrossing, and help to paper over the thinness of the story. Jeff acts rather moodily for much of the time and is very believable as a man working in the lower ranks of his trade when he could've reached the top. Beau is also in fine form as a performer who does what he does simply because it puts money in the family kitty. It's a hard film to describe, because it's not really about very much, but if you can adjust to the relaxed pace and just enjoy the leisurely development of the three main characters then you will come away from the film feeling thoroughly satisfied.
Finest, most important film ever made on the subject of Music
10/10 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.2 years ago
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.
Even when a larger audience will see it, they will probably not like it
8/10 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.2 years ago
"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.