I don’t know what’s going on most days, lately. Everything has been really difficult, for three months straight now. Everyone is in so much pain, and those that aren’t are either oblivious or selfish and hateful, and all of these reasons are depressing.
So I spend a fare amount of time staring at the computer screen, unable to string together complete sentences, let alone deep insights. That’s probably why I’m not making any progress on writing projects, why I’m not saying much on social media, and why I keep coming back to the films that bring me joy. I might not know how to help or fix anything in my life or the world around me right now, but I know that everything makes complete and total sense to me when Susie Diamond waltzes into the Baker Boys’ lives and completely blows them away with her nakedly raw performance of the old standard, “More Than You Know.” It isn’t much, but if it’s a source of joy for me, then maybe that joy will radiate out to others in need of some good vibes.
Pfeiffer’s rendition is a jaw-dropping moment, sung from the depths of Susie’s soul and influenced by her life of hard knocks. It’s a perfect introduction, with Susie proving she is most definitely more than you know, or think you know about the cursing, gum-chewing, former call girl in the micro-mini. Pfeiffer isn’t a singer by trade, but her singing voice is sensual, smooth, and above all evocatively emotive – just like her acting. She bares every inch of her being in that moment. It’s more intimate than most love scenes, and in fact almost feels like we did just make love to Susie ourselves (“Oh, if only,” said every person ever). At least, that’s how powerfully connected I feel with her in that instant, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
The Fabulous Baker Boys and Michelle Pfeiffer inspired this site, obviously. That’s because my thoughts never stray far from the film, from Susie, from Pfeiffer. There’s a melancholic beauty to the movie, the character, and the performer that provides the ultimate in cinematic comfort for me. I want to live inside the Baker Boys’ late ’80s Seattle jazz scene existence – right alongside Susie, of course. A friend once said that the world of the film, as conceived by writer-director Steve Kloves, seems reflective of a past that might never have actually existed. Or only in dreams, maybe. It feels contemporary and old school, all at once. Susie could have walked right out of an old screwball comedy or a film noir, depending on which side of her personality was on display at that moment. Traveling Seattle’s lounge club circuit with Susie, Jack (Jeff Bridges) and Frank (Beau Bridges) is an exquisitely immersive feeling.
And what a feeling it is. The kind that can bring joy in otherwise joyless times.