Saying Good Byes…

by KV

Hoi! Stop blaming PETRONAS & start asking what the hell the Government has always been doing with the billions Petronas has given to the country!

& so the harrowing 32-week internship comes to an end.

As the last weeks overwhelmed yours truly so much, working his ass off till late hours while at the same time rushing to prepare the many paperwork, reports & the big final presentation for his university, anyone would have guessed that come the last day, it would have been like a huge relief for him that work life is coming to an end & now the author can look forward to returning to…um, Tronoh…wait a minute, did I just say look forward?

Even on the very last day of internship, I was rushing to finish up work, having such a short time to make the rounds to Level 48 and 49 of TM Tower to say my good byes to everyone. I didn’t even have time to join the other interns that were brought up to the helipad on the final day. But then, as the dust settled at about 8-9pm, & after my long talk with my supervisor cum Senior Manager, as I sat down to pack my things in my cubicle, preparing to type my good bye e-mails to those closest, it hit me how much the people in MBM have affected me & my life. Without going into details & much melancholic recollections, I am just utterly lucky & grateful to have encountered people like all my department members, the “aunties” in Level 49, & the girls; Anida, Pey Wen, Liz, Michelle (as well as motherly ex-Smart Theng Theng). Makes you think that sometimes perhaps even if the work kicks your nuts real hard, it’s the people that really make work life go past bearable into memorable. Kinda applies to UTP too ain’t it? It was also hilarious how during my farewell lunch, almost all of my division members fit into our very own 10-seater Vito van to go to lunch, with my German VP & my Senior Manager being made to sit at the rear seat!

As I leave all these wonderful people behind in hope that paths will intertwine some day, she has finally returned from overseas. & that, my friends, is a very good reason to smile.

~~*~~

Okay, so Hancock sort of bombed at the 2nd part of the movie. Not even the rather funny jokes in the 1st half or Will Smith’s quite impressive one-man-show could save this from being a mangled cock-crap with even poorer CGI. Wanted was stylish & Jolie was looking old but bloody delicious, but still…bending the bullet a full 360 degrees in a small confined hall? That aside, the whole car scene takes the cake. Hellboy II: The Golden Army was a whole bunch of entertainment as Guillermo del Toro gleefully unleashes waves of all kinds of monsters in full unstoppable glory. There’s really nothing to complain about; Selma Blair’s hair was ultra-hot, Hellboy really got to kick-ass & got some nice face-bashing himself, & behind-the-mask master Doug Jones shone through Abe Sapiens, the Angel of Death & the Chamberlain. It’s no classic (who the fark cares?), but it’s Hellboy, & I loved it.

But it was among all these continuing onslaught of summer blockbusters that I came across something entirely unexpected. On the night of my final day of internship, as I sat down at my computer desk late at night fully drained & feeling the effects of a 8-month training, scrolling through my massive movies collection wanting to click on something stupidly funny (in the line of Superbad or Harold & Kumar) to get my mind off everything, I found myself double-clicking instead on Grace Is Gone.

I didn’t know anything about the movie aside from the fact that John Cusack was in it, & I read about that somewhere a while ago. Initially thinking I was probably gonna end up just browsing through it anyway, I instead found myself still stuck to the same position on my seat 1.5 hours later, with tears welling up in my eyes. Oh yea, this so-called manly big chump almost cried like a bloody big-ass baby. ALMOST, okay?

At the heart of this story is John Cusack’s Stanley Phillips, an average Joe daddy trying to find the appropriate means & moment to tell his 2 young daughters about the demise of their mother, while himself fighting to cope with the reality of the death of his wife. Struggling & unable to face the moment of telling his older fast-maturing 12-year-old daughter, Heidi (a remarkable Shelan O’Keefe) & 8-year-old Dawn (Gracie Bednarczyk) that their mother died in battle in Iraq, he takes them on a trip to Enchanted Gardens theme park. A incredibly sad movie that barely mentions the Iraq war or even Stanley’s soldier wife (she does not even have a scene), the whole story focuses on Stanley & his two daughters, & in the bigger picture, how the Iraq war affects concerned loved ones. Remarkably subtle & not obviously dramatic, the many poignant moments shared between Stanley with Heidi & Dawn throughout the journey to Enchanted Gardens builds up to the big-time tear-jerking moment when Stanley finally finds the voice to speak the painful words to his daughters. Grace Is Gone has no plot twists or spoilers; we know that the inherent pain of tragic loss is coming, & it becomes even more painful for us as that emotional core is dangled in front of us for 1.5 hours.

The storyline hinges on the magnificent performance by the cast. John Cusack gives the performance of a lifetime as a restrained father struggling to cope & to take care of his 2 daughters. Cusack’s Stanley hardly gets to show his true thoughts & feelings, as he sole duty & responsibility goes to his daughters. Shelan O’Keefe does more than holding her own opposite Cusack, almost outshining Cusack as she goes through a period of self-discovery with her dad throughout the journey to Enchanted Gardens, while Gracie Bednarczyk’s Dawn injects effervescence to counter the heartrending drama circulating the movie. & surprise surprise, Clint Eastwood composed the plain but touching music score.

Grace Is Gone does not force any political stance on the Iraq war, just a look at humanity, at how we might deal with the tragic loss of life, & reflect on the effects of war. It is simple yet effective, subtle yet beautifully poignant, sensitively low-key but packs a huge emotional wallop, & it will stay on with you after the end of it all.

July 17th, the Dark Knight cometh. Are you ready?

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