Al Right Questions: Thoreau Smiley

We’re back with another “Al Right Questions”, this time we’re talking with Thoreau Smiley, from our sponsor Harmless Entertainment. I got to know Thoreau via Audiodrama shows like Attention Hellmart Shoppers, 1994, and various other guest parts that he has participated in.

He then established Harmless Entertainment and I became a Patreon patron because I truly enjoy the shows he’s produced. If you are a fan of Superhero movies, especially Marvel and DC, among many others. Check them out, as Thoreau and his friends have a long catalog where they’ve discussed and ranked each superhero movie in order of release. Plus, I’m not going to cover most of those here. Let Harmless Entertainment be your fix.

Now, onto the interview!

UANM: How did Harmless Entertainment come to be, and how do you know the other hosts that join you each episode?
TS: It started after the podcast network I was previously a part of fell apart. I had multiple shows in production at that time and wanted a single brand to put them under. I began Harmless Phosphorescence and the name came from there. Harmless Phosphorescence basically came from my desire to talk about movies and not have to spend 120 hours producing and editing each episode like on an Audio Drama like Attention Hellmart Shoppers. Josh and Al I’ve actually known since High School. We’ve been roommates, workmates and friends for decades. Brian I met more recently, just a few years ago when I was working at a music store. We got along great and had similar taste in movies, so he seemed like a natural fit for the show.

UANM: Which classic horror movie character is your favorite?
TS: I guess that depends on what you’d define as classic. If we’re talking about the Universal horror era, I’d say Dracula. Bela Lugosi is amazing in that role and the character is iconic for a reason. If we include more recent genre classics, I’d have to go with Freddie Krueger. I grew up watching Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and his wise-cracking sensibility always drew me in. He had so much more personality than Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees.

UANM: What are some of your earliest movie memories and which films were they? What keeps them memorable to you?
TS: The earliest movie I remember watching is Star Wars Episode IV. I was a child of the 80’s and I remember it playing over and over on HBO in the very early days of the channel. I must have been about 4 years old. That movie more than any other molded my taste and idea of what a movie could be. I even told the barber that I wanted my hair cut like Luke Skywalker. My friends and I played Star Wars endlessly, using sticks for lightsabers and blasters. Star Wars might be the piece of pop culture that is closest to my heart. Maybe it’s in a close race with The Beatles.

UANM: What’s a movie that you think everyone should see but most seem to have never heard of?
TS: There are a few that come to mind. The Incredibly True Adventure of 2 Girls in Love is a great coming of age love story from the nineties, Ice Pirates is an absolutely insane 80’s Comedy Sci Fi movie, and Kicking and Screaming is a really funny quarter life crisis movie by Noah Baumbach. Also, I think John Carter is a completely unfairly maligned Sci Fi adventure.

UANM: Do you have any movie habits that you’d like to instill in your children and continue as a family tradition?
TS: I’ve been trying to get my son into Star Trek, so far pretty unsuccessfully, but I’ve had better luck with making Lord of the Rings a holiday tradition.

UANM: If you could take one thing from your daily/weekly routine and never have to worry about it or do it again, what would you choose an why?
TS: Hmm…If I’m talking about all of life, I’d love to not have to work a full 40 hours per week on a day job, but hey, that’s life, right? Podcasting ain’t paying the bills. If I’m talking about producing, I’m pretty over the editing process. It’s a grind, for sure, and the reason why Hellmart is so slow to come out.

UANM: Does Harmless Entertainment have a meme that embodies the show? If yes, which and in what way?
TS: Slaps top of car “You can fit so many uneducated movie opinions in this bad boy”

meme of a car salesman and a potential buyer. Caption of "You can fit so many uneducated movie opinions in this bad boy"

UANM: What are some movie tropes that make you wretch every time you see them coming? What are some that make you perk and sit up because you know things are going to get good soon?
TS: It drives me crazy when people don’t say goodbye on the phone in movies. I know it’s not a big one, but they just hang up. On their loved ones, a lot of the time. What kind of psychopath does that!? One that I love, no matter how many times I see it, is the heist-explanation voice-over. It’s just fun!

UANM: Finish this sentence: “Keep calm and ___”
TS: panic!

UANM: If you could have anyone from the movies covered on Harmless Entertainment become a patron, who would you pick and why?
TS: Are we talking about a fictional character? Then Bruce Wayne. He could fund us for life. If it’s an actor: Robert Downey Jr. He’d be fun in the chat.

UANM: Any final thoughts?
TS: I have watched so many superhero movies. Please, Hollywood, stop making them. For the love of my sanity.

An amalgamation of Gilbert Gottfried and Rhonda Shear, original hosts for USA Up All Night. Gilbert Shear is a blogcast journalist who manages to enjoy campy, cult, and even bad movies. What better to do with that than create a platform to discuss those movies while honoring the show that celebrated them in years past.

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