Grab the tissues. This one is a doozy.
Sitting in Bars with Cake follows Corrine (Odessa A’zion) and Jane (Yara Shahidi) — two besties who couldn’t be more different but love each other and embrace their individual quirks and personalities. One night, Jane shows up at a bar with a cake she baked from scratch — all her glorious talent oozing from the batter — and boys come flocking to her like flies to feces. Jane, a bit shy and reserved (with a drawer full of granny panties) agrees to start “cakebarring” as a way to meet men. The premise: She bakes a cake, and they bring it to a bar. They map out the LA bar scene and hit the road — jumping from venues with hipsters and tech bros to the joints that attract start-up boys. They’re on a mission to land Jane, at the very least, a little action. The old adage apparently holds merit: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
While the movie begins with a lighthearted tone and energetic zest, everything changes when Corrine is diagnosed with Cancer, and Jane becomes her loving caretaker. In a movie that pays homage to Beaches with a contemporary spin — even featuring the Divine Miss M in a supporting role — it goes without saying that the waterworks come flooding down every now and again. So, here are the most heartbreaking moments from the Prime Video original movie.
Spoiler Warning for ‘Sitting in Bars with Cake.’
“I should be learning some major life lesson right now, but I’m just annoyed.”
In a moment of unbridled vulnerability between Jane and Corrine, the two share secrets, both admitting they sometimes wish they were more like the other. Corrine: brave and undaunted. Bold and colorful. Jane: thoughtful and introspective. Caretaking and selfless. Corrine says, “I should be learning some major life lesson right now, but I’m just annoyed” in a moment of full disclosure that is so brutally honest and self-aware.
This idea of “learning from everything” relies on some sort of fatalistic universal education and, guess what, sometimes (if not most of the time) it feels like a big old crock. Corrine is young, and she wants to live. She’s rejecting the “Hollywoodification” of pain — the idea that with each struggle comes some sort of step toward self-realization. The comment stings, for it’s so relatable in its rejection of all the BS people tell you when you’re going through hell. Sometimes, you’re just going through it, and all you’re doing is waiting for it to be over.
“I forgot your birthday.”
Corrine is in the hospital, and she is suffering from a bit of memory loss and confusion. She’s unsure of the month, unsure of the day. When Jane gives her this information, she says, “I forgot your birthday.” Here Corrine is, lying in a hospital bed with brain cancer, and she’s concerned that she missed her bestie’s birthday. To Corrine, what many would deem inconsequential at this time is no less significant. Just because she’s sick — and slowly losing her grip on the world of the living — doesn’t mean she has ceased to care about those whose lives will go on in her absence.
“I just needed something to be mad at. I’m not mad at you.”
Jane overhears Corrine’s parents, Fred (Ron Livingston) and Ruth (Martha Kelly), discussing Jane’s terminal diagnosis in the other room. Fred notes that they should’ve taken Corrine home with her. If they did, maybe she would have gotten better. Ruth points out the faults in this argument, but Fred is understandably pulling at straws — coursing through the history in his mind, looking for a single misstep to find something to blame: something to focus his anger and sadness on.
When Jane approaches Fred later in an apologetic fashion, he tells her this. Jane did all in her power — all anyone, even her parents, could have done. Her sickness is no one’s fault. Fred knows that. He simply needed somewhere to direct his rage. Direct this aching dejection and misery. This line is, once again, tragic in its sheer honesty. Saying it out loud is ownership of the behavior. He relinquishes the need to point blame and, instead, allows himself to just be pissed the hell off at the damn universe for putting his glorious child on her deathbed.
“I never thought I’d have so much fun.”
Ruth and Jane sit down and begin a little walk down memory lane. They relive the time Ruth promised Corrine that if she waited until she was 20 to get a tattoo of a record player, she would buy her a car. Yet, in Ruth fashion, she caved and let Corrine get it earlier. Ruth admits that she actually really likes the ink, too. Ruth then articulates this beautiful realization regarding her daughter.
Corrine is such a bright light. She brings joy and a contagious, neverending pool of energy wherever she goes. But, it is when Jane replies, “Me neither,” that we lose it. Corrine isn’t this fun-loving, mood-boosting person just for Jane; she’s this person for all who are lucky enough to cross her path. This conversation spotlights the kind of person Corrine is and the kind of person all who know her will have to learn to live without.
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”
Corrine’s Wham! jam. She gets up on that bar and dances with vivacity as she belts out the sing-a-long tune with a big smile and a zest for life. That’s how she sings this in one of the film’s opening scenes at the bar. Yet, toward the end, she selects this song once more. She’s sitting, and — with a breathy delivery and barely enough power in her voice to do more than whisper — she sings. Jane joins her to help out her bestie — even though she previously noted she would not make her karaoke debut tonight. Bestie love is stronger than the fear of a little public humiliation.
The pain here lies in the juxtaposition between this scene and the opening montage. We see how fast Corrine has declined. How fast she has gone from a vibrant young woman with a whole life ahead of her to an exhausted cancer patient with most of her life behind her. However, she’s still smiling. She’s still singing. She refuses to let what’s to come control her in the now. She’s not dead yet, so hand her that mic and wake her up before you go-go, because she’s still here to “hit that high.”
Jane and Corrine sit on the beach
If you haven’t seen Beaches, this scene may not hit as hard. However, if you’ve witnessed the classic film starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey in a very similar presence, this moment is bound to pull at the strings. Bette’s C.C. Bloom and Hershey’s Hillary Whitney sit on the beach and watch the waves go by before Hillary meets her death. Just seeing the sand and the beach patrons brings back this moment in an abundantly clear allusion to the ‘80s film. Jane doesn’t die at this moment, but it indicates that she only has so much time left.
“I thought of another secret…”
Toward the end of the movie, Jane tells Corrine, “I thought of another secret. I never wanted to move to LA. All I knew is that I’d follow you wherever you went.” She notes that she’d have gone to the darkest, grimiest place if Corrine would be there, for she has a way of bringing light everywhere she goes. Corrine cuts the tension a bit by replying “duh,” but it makes the moment no less tender.
Jane went to LA for Corrine, because Corrine is such a positive influence on her life. Deep down, she knew that, if she stayed close to Corrine, she would follow her heart, and not the “acceptable expectations” her parents have for her. It’s a remarkable commentary on their friendship and the type of bond they possess. They both have changed each other for good..and for the better.