Friday, January 31, 2014

Intergalactic Robinson Crusoe: An Interview with Mark Askwith

For those that remember it, Prisoners of Gravity was a television show clearly ahead of its time. It devoted a half-hour every week to the serious (and sometimes not so serious) discussion of science fiction, fantasy and comic books. Every episode was devoted to a particular theme (censorship, time travel, ecology) or to specific topics (Cyberpunk literature, the Watchmen graphic novel, writer Neil Gaiman). It was a show that tackled thought-provoking subjects in an entertaining and informative matter. There had been nothing like it before and nothing like it since.

The primary creative force behind the show was Mark Askwith. He had started off as the manager of The Silver Snail, one of the premiere comic book stores in North America, in 1982. Located in Toronto it was right across the street from Bakka bookstore, a shop dedicated exclusively to fantasy and science fiction books and magazines. This was the perfect area to cultivate a serious love of science fiction and comic books. More importantly, it also gave Askwith an opportunity to meet legendary comic book creators, like Frank Miller, and local science fiction authors.

He left the Snail in 1987 and worked on Ron Mann's excellent documentary, Comic Book Confidential (1988). Its success led to the creation of Prisoners of Gravity, a television program that took the ideas presented in Mann's movie and expanded on them in detail and scope. It was the brainchild of Mark Askwith, Daniel Richler and Rick Green. Askwith conducted the bulk of the interviews done for the show (over 400 guests by the end of its run), Green was the host (and provided the humorous asides and personality) and Gregg Thurlbeck directed each episode. All three worked closely together writing the show and assembling it so in actuality their tasks often overlapped. PoG's budget was very modest, only $23,000 an episode and over the course of its run received numerous awards and accolades.


Prisoners of Gravity first aired on TVOntario, a Canadian public television station, in 1989 where it ran for five seasons and 137 episodes before being canceled in 1994. It was shown numerous times in syndication, briefly on PBS, the Discovery Channel and Space: The Imagination Station (the Canadian equivalent to the Sci-Fi Channel). Over this time PoG developed a small but loyal following.

I had the chance to conduct an interview with Askwith via email. He is currently one of the founding producers of the Space channel and graciously took time out of his busy schedule to reminisce about Prisoners of Gravity.

How did you get into comic books and science fiction? Were you always into them as a young age or did you get into them later on?

I read the Narnia books, Andre Norton, the Robert Heinlein juveniles, and anything I could get my hands on. My mother ran a children's bookstore in Ottawa called the Bookery, so I had exposure to "the good stuff."

I was given a Tintin album Explorers on the Moon when I was 4. I think it was really what got me hooked on comics. I also ran across a stash of superhero comics when I was 7 - that also was a pivotal event for me... the seeds were sown.

I didn't take comics seriously until a friend with "The Tiny Perfect Collection" turned me on to great comics. This would have been first year university. I've always read every genre, and it wasn't until Prisoners of Gravity that I focused exclusively on genre.


How did you get involved in Ron Mann's documentary, Comic Book Confidential? Was it the blueprint or did it give you the idea for Prisoners of Gravity?

I pitched a documentary to Ron, because his previous documentary was on where I used to work - Coach House Press. He was open to the idea, but then started to mutate it into a valentine to Marvel Comics. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but I thought that Ron would be more attracted to the work of the underground artists, and I thought we had an opportunity to do something unique and timely - get these major creators before they left us. I gave him some direction, and with BP Nichol, the film happened.

Did Comic Book Confidential attract Daniel Richler's attention and result in the creation of Prisoners of Gravity?

Yes. Much as I loved working on a documentary film, I hated the fact that it took three years to produce. I realized that comics and pop culture really need a faster delivery system - television. When Comic Book Confidential won a Genie [note: this is the Canadian equivalent of the Academy Awards], that caught several people's attention. I initially saw PoG as "The New Music for SF/comics," [note: The New Music is an excellent T.V. magazine show dedicated to musicians and new trends in music] and as a person who was instrumental in shaping New Music, Daniel was the perfect person to pitch.

I really like that analogy of PoG being The New Music for SF/comics. I remember that program well! What really stood out was the quality of the questions asked of the artists. PoG certainly had the same level of quality and intelligent interviews. PoG didn't ask superficial questions or go for the fanboy response but really put some thought behind what was asked of the interviewee. I also think that what makes PoG stand out, is that it treated the comic book/SF/fantasy genre with respect and legitimacy. Was that an important thing for you to convey in the show?

I think it is important to remember that I am a writer, and was the manager of one of the best comic book stores in the world. By the time I worked on Comic Book Confidential, I had already met/interviewed hundreds of creators, and by the time I created PoG I had published The Prisoner Graphic Novel. Many of the Canadian SF writers knew me, as I hung out at Bakka, so I was "one of them." I had "street cred," or "genre cred" (!?). What I wanted to do was showcase what I saw as a hotbed of creativity, and not some guy in pointy ears at a convention. Interestingly, one of the few complaints I got from fans was that the show wasn't more about them, that we were elitist because we dared to focus on the authors (and didn't I know that fans went to cons to meet other fans, not see the guests). I really felt that if we got to the rich center of genre-ideas - then ANYBODY could watch (I always aimed the show at my mother and father), so I assumed no knowledge of the material. We built the shows so the material added up, and hopefully made sense.

Also, on all the shows I've worked on - whether it was an interview with Margaret Atwood, or John Updike, or William Shatner, my approach has always been to respect the material.


What was your original brainchild/plan for Prisoners of Gravity?

Originally the show was pitched as a 7 minute segment to fit between episodes of Dr. Who. I'd host it, and do the interviews, and use the platform to talk about the latest in genre. TVO lost the rights to Dr. Who, and I talked Daniel into a half hour, theme based show. I think he thought I'd host it (horrors), but blessed as I am with a face for radio, he let Rick Green audition.

How did Rick Green's name come up as a possible host? Was he much of a fan of comics/SF before he did PoG?

Rick was in seeing Daniel about other ideas, but Rick knew about my show because we played ball hockey together every Sunday. That may give Americans the idea that all Canadians know each other, and play hockey, but hey, that's my story...Rick was/is an old school SF fan, into Bova, Asimov, Bradbury...

Did TVOntario give you guys a lot of freedom on the show or did they try to impose any kind of restrictions?

They were great. We didn't cost a lot. We were not on their radar, and because of Daniel's clout, they gave us total free rein. Luckily, I knew what a blessing that was! They were very supportive, not only of the show, but of the producers and Rick.

Was it tough, at first, to get interviews with authors/filmmakers/artists or did you already have connections that opened doors for you?

One of the great things about being first, and getting it right, is that support just grew in the community. Everybody we put on air seemed to like it, so one interview led to another. It does seem crazy that we'd get so many wonderful, famous people (Anne Rice, Ray Bradbury, Jack Kirby), but in a way we were the only game in town. My work in publishing and managing the Silver Snail, and writing for DC Comics meant that I had some credentials... but mostly I think it was the show that opened the doors. It's also hard to remember, but when we interviewed first Neil Gaiman, or Terry Pratchett, or Jaime Hernandez, most people didn't know who they were.


I remember that the first season had a more Cyberpunk flair to it (Commander Rick even had his hair spiky and dyed!) that seemed to be toned down in subsequent seasons. Was that a conscious decision? Did you feel that his look and some of the visual tricks distracted from the content?

Yes, although there were other factors. One, a new director, Gregg Thurlbeck, who went back to my original idea, and the collective realization that film clips and certain visual tricks would date the show, and perhaps mean we couldn't repeat the shows.

You've talked about some of your favorite interview subjects over the run of Prisoners of Gravity in other interviews. I remember that you guys interviewed Harlan Ellison at one point. I've heard that he's an incredible storyteller and he certainly made some memorable contributions to certain episodes. What was he like to talk to?

I love his writing, but Harlan and I never seemed to connect. Gregg did the last three interviews, including the incredible one about censorship, and those two guys REALLY connected! I have no ego about my work, so if I feel another producer should do an interview, I'm the first to suggest it.

I find it incredible that Prisoners of Gravity was canceled even though it was inexpensive to produce and it was getting decent ratings? Did you ever find out why it was canceled at the height of its popularity?

The best explanation came from the Head of English Language Production (way up on the T.V. food chain), and he felt that other communities needed to be served. He felt that much of the PoG material could be wrapped into Imprint, and a short time later, I became the producer of Imprint. I think I was the least affected by the cancellation, I was the least upset. I didn't take it personally, because I was humbled that we got 5 years and 137 shows out before anybody shut us down. We won some awards, and turned some people onto good reading, so I was happy. Frankly, it never occurred to me we'd last more than a year or two.

In many respects, Prisoners of Gravity was ahead of its time.

Thank you. It does seem to have aged well.

To this day, I'm hard-pressed to think of anything else like it on television. Do you think a show like it would still work today or did it belong to a certain time and place?

Great question. I think it was the product of its time, and the show was a labour of love for the very few people who produced it, and the hundreds of people we interviewed, and the tens of thousands who watched it. Others don't agree, and they think the show could work now. I'm a skeptic, you'd have to convince me.

I would like to think PoG would work now. With the success of Space: The Imagination Station in Canada and the Sci-Fi Channel here in the United States, there is certainly a market for a program focusing on SF/fantasy. Also, I think that with the recent resurgence in hugely successful cinematic adaptations of comic books (Spider-Man, X-Men, Ghost World, Hellboy, et al) there would be a definite market for that kind of show. Especially, if one were to establish it with a strong web-presence as well. That would be the key, because so many fans of comic books and SF have a strong, dominant presence on the Internet.

I'm glad you feel so strongly. I only see two possible markets - SPACE and Sci-Fi... so it isn't as financially viable as I'd like. I have long advocated a web tie-in, so I agree there. Frankly, I wouldn't do another PoG unless it was available beyond Canada.


Do you still get emails/letters requesting Prisoners of Gravity to be re-broadcast or put onto DVD?

We ran the show on SPACE in 1997/98, to great ratings and feedback. That prompted people to ask about further airings (it's airing now on BookTV), and possible DVD's. Oddly, in 1996 there was talk of doing a web-based PoG... with Microsoft (!), but plans fizzled out.

To that end, is there any interest in this area?

Some, but not enough.

The episodes are all available at The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, in Toronto. The raw interviews are not available.

Do you own the rights to Prisoners of Gravity? Is there any chance of this happening or perhaps it being re-broadcast in some format?

It's a murky area that would need lawyers... but I think that the agreements that the authors originally signed would mean "no."

On a side note, seeing as how you are so heavily involved in comic books, I was wondering what you thought about recent comic book adaptations into movies? What are some of your favorite and least favorite in the past few years and why?


I'm not very involved in comics now, although many of my friends make them. I did an eight page story with R. G. Taylor for a benefit book called Drawing the Line (plug, plug), and an eight page story drawn by M.W. Kaluta. I liked Spidey 1 and 2, X-Men 2, Crumb and Ghost World.


If you want to watch episodes of this show, check out this channel on YouTube.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Fabulous Baker Boys

In 1989, up-and-coming screenwriter Steve Kloves wrote and directed The Fabulous Baker Boys, an engaging and insightful look at two piano-playing brothers working the lounge circuit. The film was a critical hit, but barely made back its modest budget. A few years later, he wrote and directed Flesh and Bone (1993), an under-appreciated neo-noir that also failed to connect with a mainstream audience. Its commercial failure must have hit Kloves hard as he wouldn’t have another screenplay made until Wonder Boys in 2000. Since then, he has been the go-to guy for the Harry Potter franchise, which hopefully has given him enough clout within the industry to write and direct again – it would be a shame if he squandered the promise showed on his first two films.

The first thing that strikes one about The Fabulous Baker Boys: it doesn’t seem like the directorial debut of someone who only had one screenwriting credit to their name. It helps that Kloves had some pretty fantastic veterans behind the camera helping him out, like cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (GoodFellas) and filmmaker Sydney Pollack (Three Days of the Condor) as executive producer. I like that Kloves uses the opening credits sequence to show Jack Baker (Jeff Bridges) making his way through the streets of Seattle’s downtown. It gives us a sense of place and shows us the character’s daily routine – all to the brooding jazz music of Dave Grusin, immersing us in this world.

We meet Jack after a typical one night stand (judging from his blasé behavior, it is assumed to be one of many) as he heads off to work – playing piano with his brother Frank (Beau Bridges), one half of a lounge act, playing the cheap hotel and bar circuit. The first exchange between the two immediately and expertly establishes their respective characters. Jack is the laid-back brother and Frank constantly frets and fusses. Frank cares about appearances and their act as typified early on in an amusing exchange where he asks Jack to spray his hair to create “a magical sheath that simulates a dazzling head of hair,” to which his brother deadpans, “Frank, this is paint.” The way they interact with each other, especially Frank, is amusing.



Frank and Jack have been playing together for 15 years and their act has clearly gotten old. Frank’s on-stage banter is riddled with tired clichés, so much so that it looks like Jack, or perhaps the audience, could fall asleep at any moment and still play his part. However, being the old pro that he is, Jack keeps it together, going through the motions for Frank – the responsible one that deals with the bookings while Jack shows up and plays. However, it becomes obvious that while Frank can play well, Jack is the real talent. He lacks any kind of ambition and is squandering his talent by playing lounges with his brother. Kloves provides us further insight into Jack by showing his private life, which mainly involves his friendship with a young girl (Ellie Raab) who lives above him and whom he is teaching to play piano.

In recent times, their act has reached a cul-de-sac of sorts as typified by a gig at a tiki lounge where there are more people following a basketball game on television than listening to their act. The bar’s owner actually pays them for the next night, not to play: “I love you guys. You’re class. But people today, they don’t know class if it walks up and grabs them by the balls.” So, Frank proposes that they add a singer to their act in an effort to mix things up as he tells Jack, “Two pianos isn’t enough anymore, Jack.” Cut to a funny montage of potential singers that audition for the Bakers. What makes this sequence so amusing is not just the wildly disparate styles of potential singers – Broadway, R&B, opera and just plain awful – but Jack’s reaction to them, all conveyed via facial expressions.

Of course, Kloves saves the best for last – arriving 90 minutes late and looking like a hot, disheveled mess is Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is equally unimpressed with the Bakers (“This is show business?” she says sarcastically). She talks tough and has the attitude to back it up – that gets their attention, but she keeps it when singing “More Than You Know.” Her voice and the feeling she puts into the performance not only intrigues the Bakers, but us as well. The reaction shots of Frank and Jack give upon first hearing Susie sing are nicely understated and illustrate how the sound of her voice affects them, wakes them up from the musical funk they’ve been in for years. Who is this woman and where did she get the chops to breathe new life into this old standard? Needless to say Susie is hired and while her initial on-stage act is a little rough (she forgets to turn on the microphone and accidentally curses once it is), as soon as she starts singing the audience is enthralled (so is the hotel staff). The rest of the film plays out the new dynamic between the Bakers and Susie, including the growing attraction between her and Jack.



The casting of actual brothers to play cinematic siblings was a brilliant move on Kloves’ part. The shorthand between Jeff and Beau is believable because of their real-life relationship. For example, the scene where Frank proposes hiring a singer to enhance their act is so well-played because of the dynamic between them. Jack speaks very little. All he has to do is give Frank a look and that says it all. The facial expressions Jack gives tell us exactly what he is thinking. Sometimes an economy of acting can be an embarrassment of riches. They complement each other. Frank provides the regimented structure for Jack’s otherwise aimless lifestyle. If Frank’s life plays by sheet music, then Jack’s is by ear. On the creative side, Frank is a technically proficient musician, but he lacks the soul that is readily evident in Jack’s playing. It is a classic split that you see in the dynamic between brothers, but Kloves provides subtle shades to both Frank and Jack, like how they’re both romantics, only one is more open about it. For all his anal-retentiveness, Frank is a romantic at heart, getting all nostalgic when he hears “Moonglow” as it reminds him of his wife. Jack is the dark, brooding romantic, but keeps everything internalized while Frank is an open book.

While Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer received the lion’s share of critical acclaim, Beau Bridges is quite good playing the thankless role of the practical brother. However, he is able to find nuances to the character with scenes that see him alternate between the nagging worry-wart, the giddy grown-up kid, and the hopeless romantic. He shows a real knack for comedy and drama, as evident in the scene where Frank and Jack finally have it out after years of tension simmering under the surface.

Jeff delivers a nicely understated performance playing a brother that keeps his emotions in check to the detriment of his relationships. The only people in his life that get past his defenses are Frank and the girl who lives above him. If Frank is a technically proficient musician, then Jack is that way when it comes to matters of the heart and Jeff is not afraid to play Jack as emotionally unavailable, not above cruelly crushing someone with words when he begins feeling something. Jack is afraid to show vulnerability to anyone. He does not know how to open up to people thanks to years of leading a transient lifestyle. Jack’s feelings are expressed through the heartfelt jazz he plays at a nearby club. It is what he’d rather be doing than playing hotels and bars 300 days out of the year. We are all ships and you can either have an anchor that keeps you moored to a home with a family or you stay adrift, which is Jack’s lifestyle. For example, his apartment reflects a nomadic existence with its sparse furnishings and lack of personal touch with the exception of a few affectations.



Michelle Pfeiffer was rightly praised for her breakout performance in this film, even doing all her own singing. She not only brings the requisite swagger and attitude as the street smart Susie, but also conveys the vulnerability that lurks under the surface. She is a headstrong character that seems to share Jack’s anti-romantic sentiments, but both do have intense feelings – only she is more in touch with them and not afraid to embrace them unlike Jack who is afraid to express his feelings because he is scared of them.

Steve Kloves had always been interested in what he called, “blue-collar entertainment – people who work in the arts in a kind of working class way.” When he grew up in the 1960s, Kloves used to watch Ferrante and Teicher, a piano team that had a string of easy-listening hits from 1950 to 1980, on The Ed Sullivan Show and thinking, “what a weird act this is, and what if you had a low-rent version of that working the Holiday Inns?" It stayed with him, as did a guy he saw playing piano in a retro malt shop in Disneyland years later. Kloves came up with an idea about brothers “with a dying piano act,” and he spent six months writing notes about the characters and their relationship before creating a narrative. He then wrote a first draft and followed that up by doing some research.


In the spring of 1984, he had his Racing with the Moon script made into a film and the next year sold a draft for The Fabulous Baker Boys, to producers Paula Weinstein and Gareth Wigan who made a deal with the president of Warner Bros. Mark Rosenberg to make it. However, Weinstein and Wigan’s production company disbanded and she became an executive consultant with MGM while Rosenberg left Warner Bros. to form Mirage Productions with producer-director Sydney Pollack. As a result, the project languished at the studio. Weinstein struck a deal with Mirage, but this fell through as well. MGM was briefly interested and then withdrew. Kloves remembered that he always thought of it as “a comedy on some level. But the studios thought it was too dark, too depressing.” By 1988, the project was finally green-lighted by Gladden Entertainment and 20th Century Fox.

Initially, it was thought that a more experienced filmmaker would direct, with George Roy Hill (Slap Shot) considered at one point, but over the three years of development, Kloves convinced the producers that he was right for the job. Over the years, he resisted the pressure to make a formulaic Hollywood movie: “This was a project where there was a feeling in town that it could be made with Chevy Chase and Bill Murray which would be a disastrous mistake.”



Originally, Kloves envisioned Jeff and Beau Bridges playing the Baker brothers. The filmmaker flew to meet with Jeff on his Montana ranch. After reading the script, Jeff gave it to his brother Beau. Initially, the studio was hesitant to have them play brothers in the film because there was the possibility of clashing egos or the casting would be seen as a gimmick. Beau wasn’t sure he wanted to do the film because he wanted to get the role on his own merits and not because of his brother. After reading the script, he aggressively pursued the role and met with Kloves over breakfast. Once the two men realized they were on the same page, Beau got the part.

Jeff and Beau had studied piano when they were young and ended up spending several months during pre-production learning how to play the songs in the film and how they would look playing them, continuing to practice during the entire shoot. Jazz pianist Dave Grusin dubbed Jeff’s piano playing while John F. Hammond dubbed for Beau. Kloves picked all the songs in the film, from the ones in the audition to the ones that the Bakers play. According to the filmmaker, they were chosen to reflect the characters and the places they play them in.

Initially, Kloves had a hard time getting a hold of Michelle Pfeiffer. When he finally was able to she read the script and liked it but was too busy. He met with her several times over the course of a week and eventually wore her down. Her initial apprehension came from not singing professionally since Grease 2 (1982). She spent four months strengthening her vocal chords in extensive daily practice sessions. Pfeiffer had to work on the phrasing for the various songs because she was used to popular music, which was different. In addition, she also researched a lot of lounge singers in the Los Angeles area.




Early on, Kloves sat down with the film’s cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and told him that the colors should be like an Edward Hopper painting: “The burnished red of the booths, a kind of dark crimson with amber light and a slightly threadbare quality, like the surroundings are all going to seed a bit.”

Principal photography began on December 5, 1988 in L.A. at the Ambassador Hotel, the home of the famous Coconut Grove nightclub. Even though the film’s story was set in Seattle, the producers chose to shoot most of it in L.A. so that they wouldn’t be at the mercy of the Pacific Northwest’s notoriously temperamental weather. The small crew ranged from 50-75 people with a quick shooting schedule that consisted of spending only one day shooting at each location. For the famous scene where her character sings on top of a piano, Pfeiffer rehearsed it wearing knee and elbow pads, but when it came to filming she went unprotected, claiming that it was “rough on my knees,” and that “the most difficult thing was climbing down at the end.” For the scene, she had only one choreography lesson that lasted three hours with choreographer Peggy Holmes.

Not only is Kloves an amazing screenwriter, but also an exceptional director, integrating all of the elements masterfully. He frames shots expertly with beautifully lit sets courtesy of Michael Ballhaus. Conversations take place on rain-slicked streets that reflect the neon signs of nearby stores or the dimly-lit atmosphere of lounges. It is interesting to note that The Fabulous Baker Boys takes place just as Seattle’s grunge music scene was taking its initial steps towards the mainstream and shows us a very different side of the city’s music scene – a bygone era that has all but disappeared. Kloves’ film takes an excellent look at the grind of working musicians that survive from gig to gig. The Bakers start off barely eking out an existence and with Susie’s addition enjoy a modicum of success that is fleeting.

The Fabulous Baker Boys received mostly positive reviews from critics. Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars and wrote, “This is one of the movies they will use as a document, years from now, when they begin to trace the steps by which Pfeiffer became a great star.” In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, “Versatile as he is, Jeff Bridges hasn’t played a character like Jack before. For an actor who usually conveys such can-do resilience, the defeated slouch and the bored, jaded cynicism required for this role are notably new.” The Washington Post’s Desson Howe called the film “a thoroughly enjoyable entertainment that should play just about everybody’s strings right. Kloves proves to be quite a plucker.”

Pauline Kael wrote, “The choice of songs, their placement, and the sound mix itself are extraordinary – so subtle they make fun of any fears of kitschy emotions. And there’s a thrill in watching the three actors, because they seem perfect at what they’re doing – newly minted icons.” In his review, Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote, “This pared-away comedy-drama, which concentrates exclusively on the three characters, has plenty of old-fashioned virtues: deft acting, a nice sense of scale that makes the drama agreeably life-size, a good use of Seattle locations, fluid camera work (by Michael Ballhaus), a kind of burnished romanticism about the music, and a genuine feeling for the characters and their various means of coping.” Finally, the Los Angeles Times’ Sheila Benson wrote, “For an ending to a picture this delicious, it’s like a crepe compared to triple-decker strawberry shortcake. You may just have to learn to love crepes.”



While the film didn’t set the world on fire, initially, it has gathered plenty of steam over the years thanks to home video. Kloves said, “enough people have seen it over the years that I feel justified … Baker Boys is probably the truest expression of my sensibility.”

What creates a classic film? The Fabulous Baker Boys is one of the films that I go to for the answer. Somewhere within the film are the answers to this question. Kloves makes it look so easy as he flawlessly integrates all the elements, putting us in a moment of time to watch the defining moments in the lives of these characters. It’s rare that one gets to see a satisfying arc for characters over the course of a film. Watching this film, one feels like they’ve been on a journey with these characters – that they’re at a different place from where they were at the beginning of the story. And yet Kloves leaves the ending tantalizingly open-ended so that we’re left wondering about these characters and what kind of adventures they might have in the future.


SOURCES

Crowther, Bruce. Michelle Pfeiffer: A Biography. Robert Hale Limited. 1994.

Eborall, Bob. “Building Bridges with The Fabulous Baker Boys.” Video Today. November 1990.

The Fabulous Baker Boys Press Kit. 20th Century Fox. 1989.

Griffin, Nancy. “Shot by Shot – The Fabulous Baker Boys.” Premiere. November 1989.


Hemphill, Jim. “’I’m Not Qualified for Anything Else.’: Writer/Director Steve Kloves on The Fabulous Baker Boys and Flesh and Bone.” Filmmaker. September 11, 2015.

Matthews, Tom. “Brothers in Tuxedos.” Box Office. November 1989.

Sragow, Michael. “A Wizard of Hollywood.” Salon.com. February 24, 2000.