Surely he was one of the best. R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen
I thought last month that I’ll have to deal with comic idols being dead. Bill Murray is the big one. I think he’ll hang on for quite a while, but when that glorious bastard croaks, I’m going to need a personal day off work.
Nielsen wasn’t one of the first I thought of, but he certainly counts. Sorry Mr. Nielsen, so far I’ve ruined your memorial by talking about how great Murray is and why you were in the back of my mind.
The dude did Airplane. That’s enough for anyone. But the man is a parody god. It’s just a same he’ll be remembered by the youngest generation for a bunch of lazy low-quality movies.When his movies (and I’m neglecting the thousands of people who contribute to his work) missed, they missed bad. That’s the nature of silly comedy, punchlines and fart jokes. But when they hit, they destroyed.
I was puzzled when he started doing the Scary Movie series, a franchise that wanted so badly to be edgy and funny, but didn’t realize that parody wasn’t about name-dropping popular things, it was subverting the standard clichés of your target and hitting it from all sides without worrying about story or plot.
Even if you don’t like The Naked Gun series, it gave us O.J. Simpson being destroyed for our comedy amusements. It’s like Nielsen had the Third Eye into The Future (not a real thing) and could see what would happen a decade later. It’s him saying, “Sure, that dude got away with murder, but he falls down stairs a lot in my movie. Oh, that was a stuntman? Oh, he made tons of money for his appearances? Well…” [Leslie trips down some stairs himself and accidentally disrobes a pretty lady while doing so].
I mean, look at this guy. Superhero Movie was pretty terrible, but the old dude had some magical power to make his scenes a bit better than everything else. It doesn’t even feel like the same movie.
They don’t do comedy like Nielsen anymore, at least not well. Dick Van Dyke, keep it going.