82 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 • 23 Ratings

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

    Episode #69 - Chain Reaction

    Episode #69 - Chain Reaction

    In this episode, we were fresh out of hydrogen so we need to watch Chain Reaction (1996) to learn how to make some more. How does this Cold Fusion adjacent movie draw on nuclear themes for its plot? Does the subplot about our heroes being framed as spies for China stealing national secrets have parallels to real life events? Did Evel Kinevil ever jump his stunt bike over a mushroom cloud? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Kevin answer these questions and more.

    Before we powered the city of Chicago with our Nalgene bottle, we recommend:
    -The Fugitive (1993 movie)
    -The Saint (1997 movie)
    -Gary Taubes, Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion, 1993
    -Eduro Life Media, “Impossible Climb Andler 2019 – Dirt Bike Graveyard – Hill Climb,” YouTube
    -David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, 2017

    We also recommend checking out:
    • Josh Friedman, “I’m Your Friend, Eddie,” I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing (Blog), August 24, 2005
    • Free Energy Suppression Conspiracy Theory, Wikipedia
    • Beth Laski, “Reeves, Davis Ring Up ‘Dead’ Cash,” Variety, January 8, 1995
    • Tim Prokop, “Causing a Chain Reaction,” Movie (Aus), January/February 1997
    • William J. Broad, “Spies vs. Sweat: The Debate Over China’s Nuclear Advance,” New York Times, September 7, 1999

    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, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube.

    Enjoy!

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Episode #68: WarGames - The Dead Code

    Episode #68: WarGames - The Dead Code

    In this episode, we watched a whopper, err WOPR of a movie in the 2008 direct to video-on-demand sequel to the classic nuke movie called WarGames: The Dead Code. What could go wrong when you put artificial intelligence back in charge of the nukes and the predator drones? How to do you convince a machine that nuclear war is not winnable? What happens when you don’t know what “The Dead Code” is and at this point you’re too afraid to ask? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Lucy Steigerwald (@lucystag) answer these questions and more.

    Before we booked our flight to Montreal, we recommend:
    -WarGames (1983)
    -Miracle Mile (1988)
    -The Iron Giant (1999)
    -Natasha Bajemna, Rescind Order, 2020
    -David Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy, 2009
    -Future Man (2017-2020, Hulu TV Show)
    -Zachary Kallenborn, “Giving an AI Control of Nuclear Weapons: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, February 1, 2022
    -Hackers React to WarGames: The Dead Code, Alex Chaveriat, YouTube, July 28, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PghUBYY4fpE

    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 52 min
    Episode #67: Top Gun - Maverick

    Episode #67: Top Gun - Maverick

    In this episode, we found ourselves in the danger zone watching a surprise nuclear weapon plot in the fun movie Top Gun: Maverick (2022) where Tom Cruise needs to teach a crew of hot shot misfits to airstrike a uranium enrichment facility on the Death Star (kind of). Why did Top Gun sequel feel the need to raise the nuclear stakes in the plot? Any real life influence on the story related to airstrikes against similar nuclear facilities? Will this movie series ever run out of teambuilding activities to play on the beach sand? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and co-host/aviation guru Gabe answer these questions and more.

    Before we request a tower flyby, we recommend:
    -Hot Shots! (1991 parody of Top Gun)
    -Amb. Wendy Sherman, Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence, 2018
    -“Israel Admits Striking Suspected Syrian Nuclear Reactor in 2007,” BBC, Mach 21, 2018
    -“Israeli Attack on Iraq’s Osirak 1981: Setback or Impetus for Nuclear Weapons,” National Security Archive, June 7, 2021
    -“Top Gun – The Need for Speed,” LockheadMartin.com
    -“Tom Cruise Terrifies James in ‘Top Gun’ Fighter Jet!,” The Late Night Show with James Corden channel on YouTube, March 24, 2022
    -“Actual TOPGUN, Dave Berke, Reacts to "TOPGUN: Maverick" with Jocko Willink,” Jocko Podcast channel on YouTube, June 3, 2022

    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 3 min
    Episode #66: Star Trek Voyager - Warhead

    Episode #66: Star Trek Voyager - Warhead

    In this episode, we investigated a distress beacon to find our new artificially intelligent WMD friend in the Star Trek Voyager episode “Warhead” (s5 e25 - 1999) where the crew picks up smart bomb hitchhiker hellbent on finishing his military mission. Why don’t all nuclear armed missiles have a self-destruct feature? How do you deter against a nuclear strike from a planet 80 light years away? How does the USS Voyager convince a nuclear bomb to stop loving itself and not explode? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast), co-host Gabe, and special guest James Sheehan (@jsheehandc) -- consultant working on trans-Atlantic cooperation and public diplomacy -- answer these questions and more.

    Before we check out of sick bay, we recommend:
    -Russian Roulette, PBS, February 23, 1999
    -Dark Star (1974 movie by John Carpenter)
    -“One,” Metallica, …And Justice for All (1989)
    -Meilan Solly, “The Japanese WWII Soldier Who Refused to Surrender for 27 Years,” Smithsonian Magazine
    -The Delta Flyers, Voyager Podcast
    -Jetrel, Star Trek Voyager (s1 e15, May 1995)
    -Sunshine (2007 movie)
    -Star Trek: First Contact (1996 movie)
    -Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons (2022), Wizards of the Coast

    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 25 min
    Episode #65: Choose Your Own Adventure Book

    Episode #65: Choose Your Own Adventure Book

    In this episode, we flipped our way through the pages of the Choose Your Own Adventure book, The Brilliant Dr. Wogan (1987), where a missing scientist might have a radiation neutralizer that can end the threat of nuclear war. How does the multiple ending and narrative freedom of this book genre help teach kids about nuclear dangers? What does this radiation neutralizer have in common with Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program? When is the book report on this story due again (this might just be a reoccurring nightmare the podcasts hosts keep having well into their 30s)? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Kevin answer these questions and more.

    Before we return the book to the library, we recommend:
    -Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018, Netflix)
    -Paul Lettow, Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, 2006
    -Timothy J. Jorgenson, Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation, 2016
    -Pat Frank, Alas, Babylon, 1959
    -Kate Moore, Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, 2018
    -57 North, mobile game published by Mighty Coconut
    -Brian Jacques, Redwall, book series 1986-2011
    -Peter George, Dr. Strangelove (novelization), 1963

    Thanks to pixabay.com for the sound effects used in the episode.

    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 37 min
    Episode #64: A Carol for Another Christmas

    Episode #64: A Carol for Another Christmas

    In this episode, we found a bootleg DVD in our stocking of the 1964 TV movie A Carol for Another Christmas, which retold the classic Christmas Carol story but with nuclear war. What was the public diplomacy mission of this pro-UN film? How does isolationism and international engagement theories suggest doing with the problem of nuclear weapons? Does the Ghost of Christmas Future know when the last two books in A Song of Ice and Fire come out? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and podcast co-host Gabe answer these questions and more.

    Full movie here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbp1du33l0c

    Before we get in our crash couches and jump the ship, we recommend:
    -Scrooged (1988 movie)
    -We’re Doomed! (2019 board game)
    -“Time Enough at Last” and “No Time Like the Present,” Super Critical Podcast episode #47

    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 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 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

Christopherus3 ,

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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