September 26, 1988 — TISM release “Great Truckin’ Songs of Renaissance”

In 1988, the anonymous masked men who comprise TISM a.k.a. This Is Serious Mum released their first album, “Great Truckin’ Songs of the Renaissance” (actually a double album, although a single CD). This 27 track magnum opus featured a mixture of songs, snatches of interviews, random strangeness, and the poetic ranting that is “Morrison Hostel”.

It reached #48 on the Australian charts, and failed to chart anywhere else. There are any number of reasons why this occurred, but the unavailability of the album on any basis other than import probably had a little to do with it.

August 31, 1988 — Albert Goldman’s “The Lives of John Lennon” is published

One of the most controversial celebrity biographies of its era, Albert Goldman’s “The Lives of John Lennon” was almost universally denounced as a hatchet job. Goldman alleged, among other things, that Lennon was manipulative, anti-Semitic, dyslexic and schizophrenic. Lennon was also, apparently, involved – in a highly negative way – in several suspicious deaths, including those of Stuart Suttcliffe and an unborn child of Yoko Ono (who he apparently caused the miscarry by kicking her in the stomach during an argument).

Lennon’s associates, friends and family were near unanimous in their condemnation of the book. Cynthia Lennon (his ex-wife) and Yoko Ono both denounced it – Ono even threatened a libel suit at one point. Paul McCartney advised people not to buy it when asked about it in interviews (and he was one of the few people treated well in its pages). Other Lennon biographers have largely dismissed the book, and many of those Goldman interviewed in researching it later claimed that their words were misquoted or otherwise misrepresented.

As mentioned in:

God Pt II — U2

This date is approximate – I have been able to narrow it down no more precisely than “late August”, and have thus chosen the latest possible date in August.

July 15, 1988 — “Die Hard” is released

Die Hard was the first film in what would become one of the most popular franchises of the last three decades. A massive commercial success, it also created a set of expectations for the career of Bruce Willis: people expected that his every new film would start a franchise. From Hudson Hawk on, through The Last Boyscout and Striking Distance, every film was supposed to be the foundation of another great franchise.

But these other characters did not have the staying power of John McClane. It turns out that the same shit tends to only happen to the same guy once when it comes to successful film franchises (unless that guy is Harrison Ford, obviously).

As mentioned in:

Die Hard — Guyz Nite

April 22, 1988 — Sherilyn Fenn stars in ‘Two Moon Junction’

“Two Moon Junction” was a fairly forgettable erotic thriller from 1988. It actually had a fairly reasonable cast, featuring Louise Fletcher, Milla Jovovich in her first film role and Burl Ives in his last, but given that it was an erotic thriller, it was naturally the beautiful and desirable Sherilyn Fenn who was front and centre.

The film was neither a great flop nor a great success, although it did well enough to inspire a direct to video sequel some years later. In fact, aside from inspiring Screaming Jay Hawkins to write a song about how much he wanted to have sex with Ms. Fenn as a result of it, the film contributed little to the world. Hawkins did have a point, though.

February 5, 1988 — “The Serpent and the Rainbow” premieres

A horror movie based on Wade Davis’ non-fiction book about the case of a ‘zombie’ in Haiti, “The Serpent and the Rainbow” was directed by Wes Craven (best known for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” film series). It starred Bill Pullman, leading a cast of mostly unknowns.

It was a very loose adaptation of the book, with considerable liberties taken with both Davis’ account and the facts, but a lot more horror added. It grossed a respectable US $19 million, well over double its budget.