I was blessed to be able to hang out with a lot of wonderful people this year, and in spite of James Brown and Gerald Ford passing at the end of 2006, there were still some good times to be had. Moments that come to mind are of mid to lowbrow (mostly low) entertainment: watching Day of the Dead and The Descent, both on DVD.
Day of the Dead (DOTD), in case you didn't know, was George Romero's 3rd installment of the Dead trilogy, which later became a quadrology with Land of the Dead. There were a number of spin-offs (read Return of the Living Dead, et al), but George officially only directed four, with the most recent starring Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo. DOTD has cheesy acting for the most part, but what was cool about it, and what probably killed its success at the time was the fact that it "humanized" the zombies, and actually made the living seem more like the volatile and dangerous element of a society. Scientists and soldiers live in a missile silo in Florida, and the stereotypes are plentiful (read egotistic egghead scientists, overzealous infantrymen scoring a few IQ points higher than Lucy, and one Jamaican helocopter pilot.) The zombie ballerina at the end is wonderful. Fans will be interested to know that a remake starring Mena Suvari and Ving Rhames is planned for this year. Bah'leeve eet mon!
The Descent was a brilliant film from English director Neil Marshall. 6 bad ass spelunking women go into a cave, and their plunge into the dark is physical as well as a *wink-wink* descent into hopelessness. It's a straight-forward film that runs lean and tense. This movie was edited to keep viewers held captive until the end of the film finally cuts the bonds and shoves you outside where you finally get to appreciate the trees and sunlight...if you saw the U.S. verison. I recommend the U.K. version you can now find on DVD in the states.
If you want to see something really disturbing, though, you can check out Saddam Hussein's execution which a person present at the event recorded on his (I'm pretty sure it's a He...Iraq may be secular, but I'm betting they don't have the equivalent of Nancy Pelosi over there) cell phone. Say what you will about its content, but the proliferation of this leaked video was inevitable, as everyone has a morbid fascination with "how did he die", especially The Butcher of Bagdad.
Let's hope that his demise will bring as much peace and prosperity as his life brought death and poverty. Let us also not forget that the U.S. helped put him in power in the 80s (hunt around on the 'innernets' for the classic photo with Rumsfeld and Hussein shaking hands), which was when Hussein effectively destabilized the economies Iran and Iraq: actions for which the world is still witness. Perhaps this will be a lesson from which we can finally learn that puppet governments based on provisioned/outsourced warfare will unravel in the hand of the puppetmaster.