94: “Okay To Go” – Men In Black & Contact

It’s Part Two of (deep breath) the When We Were Young Early Late Mid-to-Late 90s Summer Alien Invasion Spectacular, taking on the top alien flicks to invade 1997! In our latest episode, here come the MEN IN BLACK (clap clap), Barry Sonnenfeld’s massively successful action-comedy starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and a slew of Oscar-worthy makeup effects.

We also take a look back at Robert Zemeckis’s metaphysical and emotional drama CONTACT, which launched Jodie Foster into space to meet a very different kind of alien. (Or did it?!) Despite being released at the peak of UFO mania in the 1990s, these films could not be more different.

Jump on our spaceship as we fly through a wormhole back to 1997 to decide if the Men in Black still make the summer blockbuster look good, or if we’d rather make contact with a movie adapted from an astrophysicist’s book.

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33: “My Recipe For Disaster” – Dante’s Peak & Volcano


Don’t look back. The pressure is building. This thing’s gonna blow, and it’s hotter than hell! No, this is not When We Were Young’s episode on the best porn of the 90s — it’s the pyroclastic flow of natural disaster flicks unleashed by Twister’s sweeping success in the summer of ‘96. To blatantly rip off our first episode, Episode 33 surmounts Dante’s Peak and pokes around in the stinky tunnels of Volcano, two back-to-back disaster doppelgangers from 1997.

First, Chris relates the real-life 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, the basis for Dante’s Peak’s magmatic magic. Then, Becky harkens back to her days as a budding geologist to scientifically measure the likelihood of a volcano suddenly bursting from the loins of Los Angeles.

One has Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, the other has Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche. Both feature thwarted vacations, youth in peril, charred limbs, and dogs leaping away from lava in the nick of time — but neither was a seismic event at the box office. This podcast once concluded that Twister doesn’t suck, but does Volcano blow? Is Dante’s Peak dormant or active? And which rates higher on the disaster epic Richter scale? In this episode, strong opinions flow like magma until these hosts are toast!

[Please excuse the audio quality in this episode – in keeping with our disaster theme, the computer fucked up the recording! We assure you we’ll return to peak fidelity in future episodes.]

When We Were Young is a podcast devoted to the most beloved pop culture of our formative years (roughly 1980-2000). Join us for a look back to the past with a critical eye on how these movies, songs, TV shows and more hold up now. You can follow us on Twitter at @WWWYshow, on Facebook at @WWWYShow, you can Email us at, and don’t forget to subscribe and review us on iTunes!

You can help us defray the costs of creating this show, which include purchasing movies/shows/music to review, ordering delivery food to eat our emotions, and producing & editing in-house at the MFP Studio in Los Angeles CA, by donating to our Patreon account at