Joe Biden's Oppenheimer Review: What Did The President Think Of The Nolan Epic?

Now I am become Joe Biden, the destroyer of ice cream cones. The 46th U.S. president caught a screening of "Oppenheimer" with First Lady Jill Biden on Tuesday. As news of former President Donald Trump's indictment for interference in the 2020 election dominated the cycle, Biden was out of the fray and among the people in his home state of Delaware, watching a public screening of Christopher Nolan's historical epic. According to Deadline, the Bidens sat toward the back of the auditorium as they took in the story of atomic bomb inventor J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Biden's full review of the three-hour epic? "It was compelling," he told the press pool. Don't quit your day job for a career in film criticism, Mr. President. However, there's a good reason the POTUS may not wish to comment further on "Oppenheimer." The specter of nuclear warfare has hung over the Russo-Ukranian war since its onset, and as recently as Monday, a Russian official made clear that the country has not ruled out a nuclear strike should Ukraine's counteroffensive continue to push back Russian forces (via CNN). In this climate, the president will be treading lightly around the subjects "Oppenheimer" focuses on, as a single misplaced word from his office could be interpreted as a sign of aggression by adversarial nuclear powers.

"Barbie" reportedly played at the same cineplex, but there's no word on whether the commander in chief went for a Barbenheimer double feature. Presumably, he's got more pressing matters to deal with.

Presidents and pop culture have long gone hand-in-hand

Presidents have long engaged with the pop culture of their time, both as a way of relating to the public and as a form of political messaging. Of course, presidents are people, too, and some are simply fans on their own terms. Former President Barack Obama puts out yearly lists of his favorite movies, TV series, music, and more. Obama has always been in touch with the zeitgeist, and he was known for hosting rappers at the White House. He now has a production deal with Netflix. But he's far from the only U.S. president who was a part of pop culture in one way or another.

During Ronald Reagan's tenure in office, the "Star Wars" films greatly influenced his administration. A speech in which he referred to the Soviet Union as an "evil empire" was dubbed "the Darth Vader speech" by his communications staff, and he infamously spearheaded an ill-conceived orbital ballistic defense program that was dubbed the "Star Wars Project." Before taking office, Reagan had been president of the Screen Actors Guild, the closest link between the presidency and Hollywood until 2016.

Former President Donald Trump, too, had connections to Hollywood, having appeared in films like 1992's "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," and he had been thrust into the public consciousness by virtue of hosting "The Apprentice" on NBC. By the time he won the presidency, he was the sort of pop culture icon referenced in songs like Mac Miller's explosive 2011 hit, "Donald Trump." "I'ma take over the world when I'm on my Donald Trump s***," the rapper sang, unaware of his prophetic lyrics.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden's favorite film has long been the 1981 sports drama "Chariots of Fire," which he says inspired him to put principles above fame and glory.