References to these films have also materialized on TikTok in the wake of the invasion. “Don’t worry folks. Gen X has been prepared for this since we were kids,” goes one such post in tribute to “Red Dawn,” followed by the obligatory “WOLVERINES!” in all caps — a reference to the high school mascot that also serves as the battle cry for these high school guerrillas, who not only fight off the Soviets but also their pumped-up Nicaraguan allies. (“Red Dawn” is peak Reagan-era absurd.)
Also prominent are references to the 1983 made-for-TV movie “The Day After,” in which Jason Robards played a kindly doctor in Lawrence, Kansas, struggling with the devastation wrought by a Soviet nuclear attack. The film, when it first aired on ABC, was a cultural event — drawing an unimaginably massive audience of 100 million people (at a time when the U.S. population was about 236 million) and terrorizing download video tiktok tanpa tulisan a generation of viewers with its scenes of abject devastation. When I was in junior high, we took an entire period out of social studies class to discuss it in earnest.
In the days following the Ukraine invasion, TikTok user @Vampslayin posted a vintage news report about the film’s social impact: “Who remembers watching this as a kid?”
“I do,” responds @chefmichelleagnew. “It was and is still frightening.”
“I was going to show some video,” says @diva_ dee25 of the film in a post about the movie, “but then I realized, when I watched the videos again, it kind of retraumatized me because I felt like I was back on that day when I first watched that movie.”
I was indeed rendered sleepless by “The Day After.” As NPR’s Neda Ulaby, who grew up in Lawrence and was around for the filming, noted in a report marking the film’s 20th anniversary, “The Day After” landed amid some intense Cold War bellicosity and anti-Soviet paranoia. The year in which it was released, President Ronald Reagan branded the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” and the Soviets shot down a Korean commercial airliner that had accidentally veered into their airspace.
On the radio, songs such as “99 Luftballons,” by the German synth-pop band Nena, imagined a devastating war triggered by the innocent release of a few helium balloons into the air. The song appears as the soundtrack to another gag on TikTok that shows an image of a school desk emblazoned with the phrase: “I bought a Gen-X bomb shelter today.”
In retrospect, “The Day After” is hokey. The film pummels its audience with an hour of heartfelt backstory before getting to the main event. When the nukes finally do arrive, the devastating effects of the bombs on people are rendered by showing outlines of their skeletons, as if they were cartoons.