THE GREAT AMERICAN ROAD TRIP HITS THE WEST COAST
Destination: The State of Washington
Movie: The Fabulous Baker Boys
A Guest Post by BETH WHITMAN
Quick – think of a movie filmed in Seattle, Washington. Likely the first flick you thought of was Sleepless in Seattle. After all, who isn’t enamored with this romantic comedy that shows all the best the Emerald City has to offer? (Seattleites, of course, have a thing or two to say about the authenticity of the sites featured – but that’s beside the point.)
Let’s tour my fair city through another movie that is mostly filmed in Seattle. It’s The Fabulous Baker Boys starring Jeff and Beau Bridges, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The plot centers around two washed-up piano playing siblings who take on a sultry singer to liven up their act. Predictably, she shakes up their world beyond their performances. They begin to make a comeback. Things fall apart. But, ultimately, everything works itself out (Hollywood ending and all.)
This film highlights a Seattle that you could possibly find: A world of jazz clubs and lounge lizards. After all, we do have Jazz Alley and there’s no shortage of singers behind the keyboard (stop in at any Nordstrom or high-end mall if you doubt me). It’s unlikely that any of them are as down and out as the Baker brothers, however.
Despite the movie’s sad undertone, it gives a lovely nod to downtown as it follows the characters on walks through Pioneer Square and areas near the Pike Place Market. It features beautiful sunsets, ferry rides and quiet streets. Though it lacks coffee and computer nerds, there’s enough “Seattle” in this 20+ year-old movie that it could still entice people to move to the Pacific Northwest (especially if you believe you could find a Michelle Pfeiffer-like character singing Making Whoopie!).
The film was critically acclaimed when it was released in 1989. Michelle Pfeiffer was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role and it was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score.
We like to think of our city as award-winning, but along with the rest of the country, we’ve certainly struggled these last few years. Like The Fabulous Baker Boys, we’re hoping to make a comeback real soon…
Beth Whitman is founder and editor of Wanderlust and Lipstick, a web site for women travelers. Beth is an expert on travel in India and SE Asia, and has published The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo, For Women Traveling to India and is the publisher of Traveling with Kids). She leads tours to several exotic destinations, and is one of the founders of Passports With Purpose.
Thank you Beth, for sharing your home town and state with the Traveler’s Library Great American Road Trip. Readers should know that Beth sent this post to me as–recently returned from attending the Nobel prize ceremonies–she winged off to yet another destination. Aren’t we lucky to have her contribution at A Traveler’s Library?
Stumped for a comment? How about suggestions for books to read about Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii? Or tell us about your own favorite west coast destination.