70 episodes

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

Super Critical Podcast Tim Westmyer

    • TV & Film
    • 4.9 • 21 Ratings

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

    Episode #57: The Day After

    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 Communication at the University of Southern California and author of an upcoming book - Before The Day After - answer these questions and more.

    Full movie online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyy9n8r16hs&t=3840s

    Before we start power up our ham radios with the rare car battery, we recommend:
    -David Craig’s book (Before The Day After)when it is available!
    -Dawn Strover, Facing Nuclear Reality: 35 Years After the Day After, December 2018
    -Physicians for Social Responsibility, The Last Epidemic
    -Testament (1983)
    -Threads (1984)
    -Viewpoint episode that aired right after The Day After
    -Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, 1986
    -Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, May 2013
    -That Certain Summer (1972)
    -Beth A. Fisher, The Reagan Reversal: Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War, 2000

    Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube.

    Enjoy!

    • 2 hr 19 min
    Episode #56: On The Beach

    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 the Quincy Institute and recent president of the Ploughshares Fund, answer these questions and more.

    Before we start our engines at the Australian Grand Prix, we recommend:
    -Beverly Gray, “The Continuing Relevance of ‘On the Beach,’” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, August 3, 2015
    -Fallout (2013 documentary)
    -Collisions (2015 documentary)
    -Office of Technology Assessment, The Effects of Nuclear War, May 1979
    -Warfare History Network, “One of America’s Most Legendary Generals Had a Terrifying Plan to Win the Korean War,” The National Interest, July 16, 2017
    -Fail Safe (1964 movie)
    -Them! (1954 movie)
    -Seven Days in May (1964 movie)

    Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube.

    Enjoy!

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Episode #55: The Manhattan Project

    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, chemistry, or psychopath? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) answer these questions and more.

    Before we earn extra credit by weaponizing some anthrax in AP Bio class, we recommend:
    -Special Bulletin (1983 movie)
    -Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes game
    -“Fat Man and Little Boy,” The Simpsons, season 16 episode 5
    -Science Fair (2018 documentary)
    -Ken Silverstein, “The Radioactive Boy Scout,” Harper’s Magazine, November 1998
    -Ken Silverstein, The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor, 2005
    -The Day After Trinity (1980 documentary)
    -WarGames (1983 movie)
    -“Nth Country Experiment,” Atomic Heritage Foundation, March 1, 2019

    Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube.

    Enjoy!

    • 2 hr 2 min
    Episode #54: Deterrence

    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 co-host Gabe answer these questions and more.

    Before we reach our positive control point, we recommend:
    -Kevin Pollak Chat Show (2009-2019)
    -Thomas Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (1960) and Arms and Influence (1966)
    -The Contender (2002 movie)

    Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube.

    Enjoy!

    • 1 hr 43 min
    Episode #53: By Dawn's Early Light

    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 these questions and more.

    Before we reach our positive control point, we recommend:
    -Sylvia Mishra, “Directing Doomsday: Lessons Learned from Nuclear War in Film,” CSIS Next Generation Nuclear Network, July 8, 2020
    -Fail-Safe, 1964 movie
    -Countdown to Looking Glass, 1984 movie
    -David Hoffman, The Dead Hand, The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, 2010
    -Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, 2017
    -Christian Brose, The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare, 2020

    Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube.

    Enjoy!

    • 1 hr 33 min
    Episode #52: Testament

    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 AntiWar.com answer these questions and more.

    Before we go blow out the candles on our sad birthday cake, we recommend:
    -DVD extras for Testament, including “Testament at 20”
    -Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006)
    -Airplane! (1980)
    -Carol Amen, “The Last Testament,” Ms. Magazine, August 1981, https://www.scribd.com/doc/59083080/Amen-Carol-The-Last-Testament-Ms-Aug-81
    -The Day After (1983)
    -On the Beach (1959)
    -Threads (1984)
    -TheStagBlog.com, “Testament”

    Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube.

    Enjoy!

    • 1 hr 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

Anders1201 ,

The best deep dive into the nuclear dimensions of pop culture entertainment

Smart, funny, extremely well researched deep dive into the science and strategic logic underpinning nuclear weapons in popular entertainment

Xopherus ,

5 out of 5 Megatons!

I love listening to the hosts analyze these movies and the nuclear issues found in them. What plot device could be more "explosive" than a nuclear bomb?! But, how realistic is the nuclear event in your favorite movie? Do you care? I do. I can't help it - I'm Super Critical. If you are, too, you'll radiate while listening to this podcast.

MovieChamp42 ,

Great show!

Thanks for this fun show. It can be a little long sometimes but keeps my interest.

My favorite dumb plot line is how space movies ignore gravity. Even in Star Wars, every planet seems to have breathable air and the same gravity as everywhere else. Doesn't make any sense.

Anyway, thanks again for the show. Keep up the good work.

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