Episode 1: The China Syndrome

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In this, the inaugural episode of Green Screen, Sean and Cody discuss and review the 1979 thriller The China Syndrome, directed by James Bridges, starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas and pre-Quaker Oats and “diabeetus” Wilford Brimley. The film deals with the issues of nuclear power, and famously was released and in theaters only days before the real-life near meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania in March 1979, which effectively killed the nuclear power industry in the United States—though its death throes took a long, long time.

Was The China Syndrome prescient, or just lucky? Are nuke plants really as dangerous as people thought they were in the ‘70s? Was NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome a gateway drug to anti-vaxx conspiracy theories and Gwyneth Paltrow health woo nonsense? Is it just coincidence that TMI and The China Syndrome happened during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, who was trained as a nuclear engineer? Did “Hanoi Jane” get a raw deal when she sat on that Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun in 1972? Does sexism count as an environmental hazard? What’s the deal with Michael Douglas’s bell bottoms? And, most importantly, how nuts do you have to be to let a turtle crawl around on your bed? All of these questions will be exhaustively interrogated in the very first episode of Green Screen.

The China Syndrome on Letterboxd

The image for The China Syndrome is presumably copyright (C) 1979 by Columbia Pictures. Its inclusion here is believed to be permissible under fair use.

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