Great In ’88 – A Few Memories Of The Year’s Top Pop Hits

I’m wrapping up this week looking back at 1988 with a few videos from that year that I have fond memories of. This was several years before I really got into music, but I was still of the world and hearing the pop hits of the day. I didn’t watch MTV back then, but I think there was a video show on Nickelodeon or maybe USA that catered to kid-friendly pop. I intended to write about an album from this year that I came to later in life like Jane’s Addiction’s Nothing’s Shocking or Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, but I’m not sure if I’ve absorbed either album enough to really write about them.

Back when I was 5, I didn’t know who George Harrison was. Heck, I probably didn’t even know who The Beatles were, but I knew that I liked “Got My Mind Set On You.” From doing the tiniest bit of research possible, I’ve discovered something else I didn’t know, this song was a cover. Harrison recorded in for his 1987 album Cloud Nine, but it wound up being the third most popular song on the Billboard Hot 100 the following year. I also had no idea that there were two versions of the video, the one above set in an arcade and the one below which finds everything coming alive in Harrison’s study like a far more lighthearted version of Evil Dead. It’s the latter I remember from being a kid.

The 45-year-old Harrison became an MTV star years after being in the biggest band the world has ever seen, which is pretty impressive. I specifically remember seeing this video while out visiting people with my Grandma in Cleveland. I’m sure I’d seen the video before or at least heard the song, but we were in a place that my memory tells me was like a huge log cabin house, but people lived there, people with teenaged children, so MTV was on. This was one of the videos playing…

And, as it happens, George Michael’s “Faith” was one of the others. That song was the number one most popular song that year, which makes sense ’cause it’s super catchy. The single helped Michael push Wham even further in the rear-view mirror and  transformed him into the “bad boy” sex symbol he would be know as for a decade or so.

When it came to the late 80s pop war between Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, my allegiances firmly lied with the latter. “I Think We’re Alone Now” is just impossible to beat. But that jam came out in ’87 and Tiff’s big hit of this year was “Could’ve Been” which is okay, but not as fun as Debbie’s “Shake Your Love.” The Billboard charts don’t agree with me, though, as Tiffany’s track clocked in at the 8 spot for the year while Gibson’s was at 22. Unlike the other videos on the list, I don’t remember this one was well, but that song was EVERYWHERE.

Finally, you can’t talk about the late 80s without talking about Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” off of Appetite For Destruction from the previous year. I eventually picked this record up at a used CD store in the late 90s, but even a decade later it hadn’t lost it’s punch and power. I try not to play “What if?” too often, but I can’t help wondering what this band could have evolved into had they kept the wheels on the bus (and their sanity) to make a prolonged go at it.

Listening to these songs and watching the videos was a huge trip down memory lane. Some of the things I wrote about in this week’s review of 1988 were familiar to me then like the Transformers toy commercial and playing Mario 2, but most were things I came to much later like Animal Man, Green Arrow, Not Of This Earth and Bloodsport. It’s kind of nice to end with some tunes like this that I remember so vividly from that year.

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus Ain’t So Good

It’s like Public Enemy says, folks, don’t believe the hype. Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus is nowhere near as cool as the trailer had us believe.

And by hype, I of course mean this crazy trailer that everyone was passing around the internet:

Every cool part of the movie is right there. I didn’t even realize this movie was put out by Asylum, the same guys that do Transmorphers until BC over at HorrorMovieADay pointed it out. By the way, I swear I don’t try and copy his viewing choices, though I do get inspired to check out movies like Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. I did make note of a lot of the same things though.

For instance the special effects are pretty good as far as the title characters go (and, in some cases, they’re more developed than the actors), but these weird flashes of white are super freaking annoying. At first I thought it was lightning, but then it was under water as well and kept happening over and over again. And inside of a sub.

Aside from being incredibly slow and boring, the movie was also poorly acted. Lorenzo Lamas plays a total asshole, who’s also racist. It’s played tongue in cheek I guess because he says something like “I’m an equal opportunity racist.” He’s actually pretty funny, but not in a way that seems on purpose.

There’s also alot of other bad actors playing military types. There are two captains. The boat captain is awesomely ridiculous. I think he’s the one in the trailer who says something like “It rises” or whatever. The other is the captain of the sub and seems to be channeling Chris Penn in all his exasperated glory. It’s crazy.

The person that disappointed me the most was Ms. Debbie Gibson (the part of me that loved watching her in music videos on Nickelodeon when I was a youngin’ will never call her Deborah). To be honest, I didn’t even remember she was in this (or Lamas), but I got psyched when I saw her in the credits. Unfortunately, her delivery is pretty flat throughout the whole thing. Instead of harping on it, just watch this Debbie Gibson video from the 80s. I wanted the official one, but couldn’t find it (which means I couldn’t find it with a simple search of YouTube).

There was one bright spot in the movie (and not the digitally inserted ones) in the form of Sean Lawlor who played Debbie’s professor. I’m not quite sure if he’s that good or if he’s just really good compared to everyone else. Holy crap, he was in Space Truckers! Oh IMDb, you never cease to impress me.

So, yeah, this is a bad movie. If you read this interview and, hopefully, HMAD’s, and you still want to check it out, you’re beyond help, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you.