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Podcast overthinking movies about nuclear weapons with policy analysis, quasi-science, pop culture debates, and too many puns.

Podcast overthinking movies about nuclear weapons with policy analysis, quasi-science, pop culture debates, and too many puns.


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Podcast overthinking movies about nuclear weapons with policy analysis, quasi-science, pop culture debates, and too many puns.




Episode #58: Twilight's Last Gleaming

In this episode, we put a crew together to seize a movie theater to watch the nuclear missile silo hostage taking movie Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977). How easy is it to hijack a nuclear Titan ICBM launch site? What does the Vietnam War have to do with the logic of nuclear deterrence? Is “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” what they call the sparkly skin in those vampire movies? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast), Gabe, and returning special guest returning special guest Stephen Schwartz...


Episode #57: The Day After

In this episode, we looked at our calendars and realized it was finally the day to watch The Day After (1983). What would happen to a “middle of nowhere” city in Kansas in the event of a nuclear war? How did this TV movie impact the public dialogue about nuclear weapons? What about the movie scared Ronald Reagan so much he had to write about it in his diary (this is not a joke)? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest David Craig (@Producing2Power), Clinical Associate Professor of...


Episode #56: On The Beach

In this episode, we raised the periscope on our nuclear submarine to enjoy the story of On the Beach - both the movie (1959) and book (1957). What is the more likely ultimate catastrophe of a nuclear war: global nuclear fallout or nuclear winter? Why did the Eisenhower administration try to shut this movie down? If you read On the Beach while sitting on a beach, is that just tempting fate? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione), Distinguished Fellow at...


Episode #55: The Manhattan Project

In this episode, the high school yearbook voted us “Most Likely to Join the Nuclear Club” after we watched the 1986 movie The Manhattan Project where student Paul Stephens builds a nuclear bomb with plutonium stolen from a secret government lab run by the guy dating his mom. How easy is it to build a homemade nuclear weapon? What motivates a brilliant scientist to devote their life to WMD? Do you enter a homemade nuclear bomb at the science fair under the project category of physics,...


Episode #54: Deterrence

In this episode, we left the polling booth to watch the movie Deterrence (2000) about a president fighting a nuclear war against Iraq while stranded in a diner during a snowstorm on the campaign trail. Are nuclear weapons useful to deter chemical, biological, or conventional weapon attacks? Can anyone stop an irrational president from ordering a nuclear strike? Is there a connection between the diner’s famous greasy chiliburger and the IBS News station? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and...


Episode #53: By Dawn's Early Light

In this episode, we scrambled our B-52s so we could watch the in-flight movie By Dawn’s Early Light (1990). What is the U.S. president to do once a nuclear war begins? Who is in command of the nuclear stockpile when POTUS is missing? Why is James Earl Jones always finding his finger on the nuclear button? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Sylvia Mishra (@MishraSylvia), doctoral researcher at King’s College London where studies nuclear strategy and emerging technologies, answer...


Episode #52: Testament

In this episode, we got the family together over Zoom to watch the most depressing “Hallmark movie” of all time, Testament (1983). How can one Mom keep the family going after a nuclear attack cuts off their community? How accurately does the movie portray the horrors of radiation sickness? How does nuclear war turn ham radio operators into the most important people on the planet? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Lucy Steigerwald (@LucyStag), contributing editor to...


Episode #51: Miracle Mile

In this episode, we pulled an all-nighter to watch the thrilling movie Miracle Mile (1986) about star crossed lovers trying to escape Los Angeles at night before a possible nuclear attack. Why do we keep nuclear weapons in North Dakota? How long would you have before the missiles start landing in your backyard? Does Google Maps have a good escape route preprogrammed in the event of a pending nuclear war? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Gabe answer these questions and more. Before we...


Episode #50: Spies Like Us

In this episode, we aced our foreign service exam and started our undercover mission to the movie Spies Like Us (1995). How well does this comedy deploy a Soviet road mobile nuclear missile for hilarious effect? Can you actually recall a nuclear missile once it is in the air? Doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, and doctor. Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Gabe answer these questions and more. Before we open up the nuclear disarmament negotiation board game box, we...


Episode #49: Matinee

In this episode, we leave our bunkers and march like atomic ants to the movie theater to enjoy the film Matinee (1993). What does this story about director Joe Dante’s love of B-movies monster flicks have to say about the Cuban Missile Crisis and its impact on kids living in Florida? How do you write an effective comedy about topics that are usually nightmare fuel? When can we equip our own home theaters with Atomovision? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Matthew Gault...


Episode #48: Daybreak

In this episode, school is out for nuclear winter break, so we binged the Netflix series Daybreak about high school students surviving post-WWIII. How well does a nuclear war plot mesh with a John Hughes teenage comedy? What is the connection between sunflowers and nuclear disarmament? Who in our high school yearbook was voted “most likely to depress everyone with a podcast about nuclear war movies”? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Cecili Thompson-Williams (@cecilitw),...


Episode #47: Gilligan's Island

In this episode, we tried to get healthy during quarantine by watching an episode of the TV show Gilligan’s Island called “Pass the Vegetables, Please” where the castaways get super powers from eating crops grown from radioactive seeds. Can radiation actually help farmers? What would happen if you ate radioactive food? Is the Professor a stand-in for Dr. Oppenheimer of the Manhattan Project? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Gabe answer these questions and more. Before we our three hour...


Episode #46: Air Force One

In this episode released on April 1, the show gets inverted and becomes the Super Critical Angle of Attack podcast to talk about the movie Air Force One (1997). Sure, the movie has some nuclear weapon plots, but how well did it accurately portray POTUS’s airplane? Did the movie do justice to flight physics? If aviation accident prone Harrison Ford is your pilot, would you have a bad feeling about this? New podcast host Gabe and special guest Tim Westmyer (@Westmyer) answer these questions...


Episode #45: Fat Man and Little Boy

In this episode, we see how many scientists in the desert it takes to build an atomic bomb by watching the 1989 movie “Fat Man and Little Boy.” How did scientists and the military both collaborate and clash in the pursuit of the first nuclear weapon? What was the role of women scientists in this endeavor? Could you actually buy a condo in Manhattan even if you had the budget of the atomic bomb project? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guests/nuke experts Erin Connolly...


Episode 44: Twilight Zone - "Time Enough at Last" & "No Time Like the Past"

In this episode, we make time to watch two Twilight Zone episodes that deal with both “time” and nukes: “Time Enough at Last” and “No Time Like the Past.” How would the development of thermonuclear weapons impact your reading habit? If you had a time machine, how would you prevent the WWII atomic bombings? Does every household need a 2-in-1 bank vault/fallout shelter to protect their loved ones and valuables? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast), Gabe, and returning guest Elliot answer these...


Episode #43: Christmas at Ground Zero by Weird Al

In this episode, we ring in the holidays with the Weird Al Yankovic song, Christmas at Ground Zero. What does this 1986 jingle tell us about nuclear war? How does Weird Al repurpose Duck and Cover propaganda footage from the Cold War for his holiday melody? Is “dreaming” about a white Christmas technically a nightmare if it is snowing radioactive fallout? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Kevin answer these questions and more. Here is the song on YouTube:...


Episode #42: Superman IV - The Quest for Peace

In this episode, we explore what happens when someone with superhuman speed tries to finish the nuclear arms race in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). How easy would it be for Superman to destroy the planet’s nuclear weapons himself? What happens with Lex Luthor decides to rearm the world? Is that a bird? Is that a plane? Is that… a giant wad of nuclear missiles flying toward the sun? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast), Gabe, and special guest Will Saetren (@WillSaetren), Project Lead in...


Episode #41: When the Wind Blows

In this episode, we picked When the Wind Blows out of the children’s book bin to see what advise the 1982 graphic novel (and 1986 animated movie) have for surviving nuclear war in Britain. How easy was it to follow official government radiation survival guides during the Cold War? What was it like for the average family trying to make sense of nuclear deterrence? Will you ever be able to look at a baked potato again the same way after witnessing this story? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and...


Episode #40: Godzilla

In this episode, we explored the nuclear origin story of Godzilla. What famous nuclear test inspired the Godzilla franchise? How did Toho Studios and Hollywood handle the nuclear story over the ages? Will the “King Kong vs. Godzilla” movie have a cameo from Major “King” Kong from Dr. Strangelove? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guests Rachel Emond (@Rachel_Emond) and Geoff Wilson (@NuclearWilson) of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation answer these questions and more....


Episode #39: Amazing Grace And Chuck

In this episode, we lived #ShootYourShot and watched the movie Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987) where an NBA legend joins forces with a little league player to protest nuclear weapons. Could a child’s peaceful act of resistance against nuclear war inspire the world to Global Zero? What is the history of anti-nuclear weapon movements in the 1980s? If your chartered jet is exploded by an evil nuclear illuminate, is that technically a traveling violation? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Pranay...