The Fabulous Baker Boys

1989 film by Steve Kloves

The Fabulous Baker Boys is a 1989 film about two brothers who have been playing lounges as a piano duo for many years but decide they now need a female vocalist to keep the act going. They hire Susie Diamond and the act takes off. But when the relation between Susie and the younger, less committed, but more talented brother briefly becomes more than professional, tensions surface between all three.

Jack Baker: You look good.
Susie Diamond: You look like shit.
Jack Baker: No, I mean it. You look good.
Susie Diamond: I mean it, too. You look like shit.
Directed and written by Steve Kloves.
For 31 years it's been just the Fabulous Baker Boys... but times change.


Susie Diamond: This where the auditions are?
Frank Baker: This is where the auditions WERE. We’re finished.
Susie Diamond: What about me?
Frank Baker: You’re an hour and a half late.
Susie Diamond: Yeah, well, I had a little trouble catching a cab.
Frank Baker: Punctuality. First rule of show business.
Susie Diamond: This is show business?
Frank Baker: Look, Miss. We’re tired, you have gum on your lip, and we’re going home.
Susie Diamond: Just like that, huh? I come all the way down here, break a heel, and you’re not going to give me a chance because I have gum on my lip and I’m a few minutes late?
Frank Baker: You’re an hour and a half late. Do you want me to say it again?
Susie Diamond: It’s not exactly bewitching me. Besides, you’re not going anywhere.
Frank Baker: I beg your pardon?
Susie Diamond: Intuition, I’ve had a hunch about this all day. Only I gotta say, in my mind it was a little more glamorous. And anyway, if I’m so late how come you’re still here?
Frank Baker: We ran long.
Susie Diamond: Uh huh. So where’s the winner? [pause] See? What I tell you? Intuition.
Frank Baker: Jack.
Jack Baker: [shrugs] What’ve we got to lose?
Frank Baker: Terrific. Thirty-eight.
Susie Diamond: What’s that? Thirty-eight? You guys have some kind of code or something? You know, I’m sensing a lot of hostility from you.
Frank Baker: Name?
Susie Diamond: Susie. Susie Diamond.
Jack Baker: Catchy. You have any previous experience as a singer, Miss Diamond?
Susie Diamond: No.
Frank Baker: You have any entertainment experience at all?
Susie Diamond: Well... for the last couple years I’ve been on call for the Triple A Escort Service.
Frank Baker: Any RATIONAL reason you think you can sing professionally, Miss Diamond?
Susie Diamond: Well, I figure if you want to see if you can swim, throw yourself in the water. What’s the worst that can happen?
Frank Baker: How about drown?
Susie Diamond: You know, my bet is that you’re too literal a person.

Frank Baker: [nervous] I told everyone seven-fifteen. Didn’t I? Seven-fifteen.
Jack Baker: She’ll get here.
Frank Baker: Just like the day of the auditions, right? Jesus. How’s my hair?
Jack Baker: Awe inspiring.
Frank Baker: Yeah, well, yours isn’t. Let me run a comb through it.
Jack Baker: Get out of here!
Frank Baker: It’s not gonna hurt you.
Jack Baker: I’ll hit you, Frank. I swear.
[Jack punches his shoulder]
Frank Baker: You hit me!
Jack Baker: I told you I was gonna hit you.

Jack Baker: You feel like a cup of coffee?
Susie Diamond: Now? On Christmas Eve?
[Jack nods]
Susie Diamond: Nah. Gives me the shakes. Anyway, I’d better get home. Rest the pipes.
Jack Baker: You want me to walk you?
Susie Diamond: No. Thanks. [pause] Hey, listen, you’re not going soft on me, are you? I mean, you’re not gonna start dreaming about me and waking up all sweaty and looking at me like I’m some kinda princess when I burp.
Jack Baker: Forget it.
Susie Diamond: I mean, that’d be too creepy with us working together and all.
Jack Baker: Forget it.
Susie Diamond: Nothing personal...
Jack Baker: Better hurry. You’re a nickel down on your cigarette.

Clerk: Super Chief around the corner.
Jack Baker: Huh?
Clerk: Bathroom. Super Chief around the corner.
Jack Baker: No, I, uh, left a dog here this morning.
Clerk: Regular hours are eight to five.
Jack Baker: Yeah, yeah, I know. I was just passing by. Thought I’d check in on him.
Clerk: You can check in on him tomorrow. Between eight and five.
Jack Baker: Yeah, well, I thought maybe...
Clerk: Hey, pal. We’re not communicating, are we? [shakes his head] You want to know if he’s okay. Right?
Jack Baker: Yeah.
Clerk: All right. Hold on.
Jack Baker: The name’s Baker...
Clerk: Save it. What’s he look like?
Jack Baker: Black. Lab.
Clerk: All right. They lay the dead ones out in the cold room. I’ll take a look.
[Leaves to look]
Clerk: Nope. Just a couple poodles. [starts reading his magazine again]
Jack Baker: I WANT MY DOG.
Clerk: Listen, pal. Get the hell...
[Jack pinches the Kid’s nose between his thumb and forefinger.
Jack Baker: No, YOU listen, you little fuck. You either get off your candy ass and get me my dog or I’m gonna roll that magazine and stick it straight down your throat. Are we communicating now?

Susie Diamond: You're good, aren't you?
Jack Baker: I can carry a tune.
Susie Diamond: You're better than that. [pause] You know, I saw you guys once. You and Frank. At the Roosevelt.
Jack Baker: Must’ve been a cheap date.
Susie Diamond: Soap convention.
Jack Baker: Soap?
Susie Diamond: Yeah, they got a convention for everything. This guy was some big roller in suds. At least he was clean. Some of the guys I met through the service, you wouldn’t believe. The older ones, they were okay. Nice. Polite. Pulled the chair out for you. But the younger ones...It wasn’t so bad, though. I’d get a nice piece of steak, flowers, sometimes even a gift. Usually whatever the guy was into. Got a set of socket wrenches once. Believe it? The guy looked like he’d just given me four dozen roses. But I stayed at the Hartford once. You should see the rooms. All satin and velvet. And the bed. Royal blue, trimmed in lace clean as snow. Hard to believe sleeping in a room like that don’t change your life. But it don’t. The bed may be magic, but the mirror isn’t. You wake up the same old Susie.

Susie Diamond: Oh Christ, not the goddamn Luau Lounge again!
Frank Baker: What's the matter with the Luau Lounge? They don't salt their peanuts?
Susie Diamond: Singing 'Feelings' knee-deep in paper orchids and plastic tiki lamps is not exactly my idea of a fun evening.
Frank Baker: Fun? Who promised you fun? We get paid, remember?
Susie Diamond: I’m just saying maybe we should vote on it. Or maybe... we should ask Jack what he thinks.
Frank Baker: I don’t have to ask Jack what he thinks. I know what he thinks. It’s five days. The money’s green. We’re there.

Frank Baker: Okay, let's hear it. We trashed the Avedon, the Luau Lounge - what's our beef with 'Feelings'?
Susie Diamond: Nothing... except who cares? I mean, does anybody really need to hear 'Feelings' again in their lifetime? It's like parsley, okay? Take it away, nobody's going to know the difference.
Frank Baker: 'Feelings' is not parsley!
Susie Diamond: Frank, to you 'Feelings' may be goddamn filet mignon, but to me, it's parsley. It's less than parsley.
Frank Baker: Look, 'Feelings,' despite what you may think of it, has always been one of the bright moments of the show, and a consistent crowd-pleaser, and consequently we have an obligation to perform it. If we didn't, the audience would be disappointed.
Susie Diamond: Oh. Well, they weren't exactly crying their eyes out on New Year's Eve.
Frank Baker: You passed over 'Feelings'?
Susie Diamond: Yeah. Oh, and 'Bali Hai' went out with the bathwater, too.
Frank Baker: Ah ha. I see. The cat goes away for the night, and the mice take over the orchestra.
Susie Diamond: Hey! I ain't no mouse.
Frank Baker: That's right - you're parsley.

Jack Baker: I think you better calm down, Frank.
Frank Baker: I think you better make sure it’s your head that’s doing the thinking these days, little brother.
[Susie stands up, takes her coat]
Susie Diamond: This food’s been sitting here too long. It’s starting to make me feel SICK.
[Susie turns and slams out the door]
Jack Baker: Why don’t you loosen the leash.
Frank Baker: Let’s not let a whiff of perfume blow off fifteen years. Be reasonable, Jack.
Jack Baker: I play three hundred nights a years with you, Frank. How much more reasonable you expect me to be?

Susie Diamond: I’m quitting.
Jack Baker: Congratulations.
Susie Diamond: As of now.
Jack Baker: Well, if you ever need a recommendation, let me know.
Susie Diamond: Jesus, you’re cold, you know that? You’re like a fucking razor blade.
Jack: Careful. You’ll have me thinking you’re going soft on me.
Susie Diamond: You don’t give a fuck, do you? About anything.
Jack Baker: Hey. What do you want from me? You want me to tell you to stay? Is that what you’re looking for? You want me to get down on my knees and beg you to deliver the Baker Boys from doom? Well, forget it. We survived for fifteen years before you strutted onto the scene, sweetheart. FIFTEEN YEARS. Two seconds and you’re bawling like a two year old. You shouldn’t be wearing a dress. You should be wearing a diaper.
Susie Diamond: Jesus. You and Egghead ARE brothers, aren’t you?
Jack Baker: Damn straight. And let me tell you something. Over the years they’ve dropped like flies in every fucking hotel in this city, but we’re still here. We’ve never held a day job in our lives. He may be an easy target, but add it up and you’ll see; Frank’s done fine.
Susie Diamond: Yeah. Frank’s done great. He’s got the wife, the kids, the little house in the suburbs. Meanwhile his brother’s sitting in a shitty apartment with a sick dog, Little Orphan Annie, and a chip on his shoulder as big as a Cadillac.
Jack Baker: Listen to me, princess. We fucked twice. That's it. Once the sweat dries, you still don't know shit about me. Got it?
Susie Diamond: I know one thing. While Frank Baker was home putting his kids to sleep last night, little brother Jack was out dusting off his dreams for a few minutes. I was there. I saw it in your face. You're full of shit. You're a fake. Every time you walk into some shitty daiquiri hut, you're selling yourself on the cheap. Hey, I know all about that. I'd find myself at the end of the night with some creep and tell myself it didn't matter. And you kid yourself that you've got this empty place inside where you can put it all. But you do it long enough and all you are is empty.
Jack Baker: I didn't know whores were so philosophical.
Susie Diamond: At least my brother's not my pimp. You know, I had you pegged for a loser the first time I saw you, but I was wrong. You're worse. You're a coward.

Jack Baker: What’s happened to you, Frank? You been kissing ass so long you’re starting to like it? You let that guy turn us into clowns tonight. We were always small-time, but we were never clowns, Frank. What’s happened to your dignity?
Frank Baker: Dignity? Who the hell are you to talk about dignity? [Frank reaches into Jack’s coat, coming away with the whiskey] This where you get your dignity, Jack? This where you get your courage? [Jack tries to grab the bottle but Frank holds it away] No, let’s do it straight for once. I want to explain something to you, little brother. See, there are people in this world who depend on me. I’ve got a wife, and two kids who expect to wake up every morning with food on the table and heat in the house. I got a mortgage. I got car payments. And, oh yeah, I got you. My little brother Jack who’s so cool and so hip and so fucking sure he’s better than everyone else. Don’t you think I’d like to walk up to one of these assholes and blow smoke in his face? Goddamn 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 can go on living their lives. You don’t win medals for it, but you can be damn sure you’d all take notice if I folded up shop. So don’t talk to me about dignity, little brother. You’re drawing on a weak hand. [Jack stares at Frank, then turns and begins to walk away] Great. Terrific. Walk away. You’re good at that, Jack. You never could commit to anything, even a conversation.
Jack Baker: Is that what that was? Sounded more like a speech to me. Next time save it for the PTA.
Frank Baker: You just had to, didn’t you, Jack? You couldn’t keep your cock in your pocket.
Jack Baker: Hey. Who I fuck and who I don’t fuck is none of your fucking business. Got it?
Frank Baker: It is when it affects my business.
Jack Baker: Your business. YOUR business? Your business exists because of me.
Frank Baker: YOU? Who’re you kidding? I make the calendar, I pay the expenses. Christ, I even make your shoes are shined. What do you do? Show up for a couple hours a night and smoke cigarettes.
Jack Baker: Frank. If someone requested “Chopsticks,” you’d ask for the sheet music.
Frank Baker: If it wasn’t for me, little brother, you’d be playing for dimes out of the back of a truck.
Frank Baker: Yeah, you’re a real pro, Frank. You were doing such a bang up job a few months ago, you had ‘em paying us NOT to play. That’s fucking genius.

Jack Baker: You look good.
Susie Diamond: You look like shit.
Jack Baker: No, I mean it. You look good.
Susie Diamond: I mean it, too. You look like shit.

Frank Baker: So what’s there to talk about?
Jack Baker: We’re still brothers.
Frank Baker: I’m touched, Jack. Really.
Jack Baker: Frank...
Frank Baker: Look, Jack. If you want to piss away everything we’ve built over fifteen years, that’s fine. Just spare me the ruminations on brotherly love.
Jack Baker: Listen to me, Frank...
Frank Baker: I don’t want to listen to you anymore, Jack. What’re you going to tell me? That I wasted your life? That I twisted your arm for fifteen years? Well, forget it, little brother. That’s a lie. Hear me? A fucking lie.
Jack Baker: You’re right. Okay? You’re right. I don’t blame you, Frank. I don’t blame anyone. I just can’t do it anymore. [pause] I’m drying up inside, Frank. I’ve been drying up for years. Do you understand? Somewhere along the way I started to close down. It’s like I had this big house and one day I just started painting the windows black, one by one. I mean, I sit in the fucking Hilton or the Sheraton or wherever, practically every night of my life, and from the minute I get onstage, I’m waiting for it to end. We play the same goddamn songs the same goddamn way every night. That isn’t enough for me. It just doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s dishonest. I can’t do that anymore. I’ve been lying to myself long enough.


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