Leslie Nielsen Tribute

Posted: December 7, 2010 by htschuyler in Commentary

On the 28th of November, 2010, the world lost one of the greatest comedic actors of all time. The Canadian Comedian died due to complications of pneumonia in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale. He was 84. To me, Leslie Nielsen was more than just an actor, he was an inspiration. I was raised on his films, no matter how sad or down I felt, his movies not only kept me amused, but would automatically make me feel better. Just his presence in a film was funny, and he could deliver dialouge with such seriousness or goofiness you can’t help but laugh. For those of you who don’t know who I am speaking of, shame on you. For the rest of you who DO know who I’m talking about, I’ll just tell a little background information before I start. Leslie Nielsen was born on February 11th, 1929, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Nielsan started acting in the 50s, and despite being a very talented actor in Drama films, usually playing a serious character, his burst to fame was when he turned to comedy, and became the comidic legend he still is. This tribute will consist of me talking about my favourite Nielsen characters, and my favourite quotes. This is not a review, or a comparison, it’s just HT Schuyler giving his respects to one the most talented actors of all time and considering he is one of my favorite actors, it seems only fitting for me to do a tribute.

Dr. RumackAIRPLANE! (1980).

The one character people always remember from AIRPLANE! The film itself is a classic, and is often considered the first spoof movie ever made. When people think of this film, the one actor that always pops to mind is Leslie Nielsen, despite the fact he isn’t even the lead. He plays a doctor aboard the plane who tries to help our hero, Ted Striker (Robert Hays) safely land the plane and get the passengers to the hospital, because they had food poisoning from the fish served on the plane. Nielsen plays the character100% seriously. He does nothing goofy or outrageous, and he mainly speaks in a monotone voice, which just adds to the hilarity. He is one the main reasons that film is such a classic, and this was really a break through because it put him in a comedy, instead of the normal Drama’s he’d been use to, and he does an outstanding  job. A terrific perfomance in a terrific movie.

Favorite Quotes:

“Dr. Rumack: ‘Can you fly this plane?’

Striker: ‘Surely you can’t be serious?’

Dr. Rumack: ‘I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.'”

“Dr. Rumack: ‘What was it we had for dinner tonight?’

Elaine: ‘Well, we had a choice of steak and fish.’

Dr. Rumack: ‘Yes, yes, I remember, I had lasagna.'”

“Dr. Rumack: ‘I won’t deceive you, Mr. Striker. We’re running out of time.’

Striker: ‘Surely there must be something you can do?’

Dr. Rumack: ‘I’m doing everything I can…and stop calling me Shirely!'”

“The life of everyone on board depends upon just one thing: finding someone back there who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner.”

“I just want to tell you both good luck, we’re all counting on you.”

Frank Drebin. The Naked Gun (1-3). (1988-1991-1994).

This is it, the big one. One of my favorite movie trilogy’s of all time. The misadventures of Frank Drebin, the cop who’s always getting caught up in hilarious situations and over the top schemes. In the first Naked Gun, Frank Drebin must stop Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban) from assassinating the queen of England, and includes a stuffed beaver, his friend in a coma, Weird Al Yankovic, Enrico Pallazzo, baseball, hot dogs, full body sized condoms, Reggie Jackson, a concrete dildo and much more. The second movie involves Drebin trying to foil a plot to kidnap a scientist who advocates solar energy, and believe it or not, this film is even more risqué than the first. Nielsen’s just as funny as in the first, and the over the top action sequences had me crying with laughter. It’s a hilarious ride. The third (in my opinion) is right up there with the first. It involves Drebin coming out of retirement to try and stop terrorists from blowing up the Academy Awards. The reason these movies work for me, and always keep me laughing, is because of Nielsen. His character, despite acting like a fool most of the time, is never annoying, and you never get tired of him. When he’s on screen you can’t take your eyes off him, your just waiting for the next funny thing he’s going to do, and when he does it, you laugh like crazy. Three of my favorite films of all time, which would not have been possible if not for Nielsen’s hilarious performance and witty dialogue. Out of all the characters Nielsen has played, Frank Drebin is my personal favorite.

Favorite Quotes:

From The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

“Frank: ‘Nice beaver.’

Jane: ‘Thank you, I just had it stuffed.'”

“Just think; the next time I shoot someone, I could be arrested.”

“Jane, since I’ve met you, I’ve noticed things that I never knew were there before… birds singing, dew glistening on a newly formed leaf, stoplights.”

“Yes, well when I see five weirdo’s dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards, that’s my policy.”

“Ludwig: ‘Drebin!’

Jane: ‘Frank!’

Frank: ‘You’re both right.'”

From: The Naked Gun 2 1/2

“Jane: ‘[Caucasian]. A moustache. About six-foot-three.’

Frank: ‘Awfully big moustache.'”

“Frank: ‘Have you noticed anything different about him?’

Jane: ‘Well, only that he’s a foot taller, and he seems to be left handed now… Frank, what are you trying to tell me? That Quentin has somehow found an exact double for Dr. Mainheimer and that tomorrow that double will give a fraudulent report to the president?’

Frank: ‘Why that’s brilliant, that’s a lot better than what I came up with.'”

“I want a world where Frank junior and all the Frank juniors can sit under a shady tree, breathe the air, swim in the ocean, and go into a 7-11 without an interpreter.”

From The Naked Gun 33 1/3

“Frank: ‘Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant, Police Squad.’

Guard: ‘Yeah, and I’m Robert De Niro.’

Frank: ‘Mr. De Niro, we’ve got to get inside.'”

“Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes.”

“Like a blind man at an orgy, I was going to have to feel my way through.”

“Cheer up, Ed. This is not goodbye. It’s just I won’t ever see you again.”

“Jane, Jane. That name will always remind me of her.”

“Ed: ‘You haven’t shot anybody in six months.’

Frank: ‘That’s true. Funny how you miss the little things.'”

“Frank: ‘Danger is my middle name!’

Ed: ‘But what about Jane?’

Frank: ‘I don’t know her middle name…'”

Count Dracula. Dracula: Dead and Loving It. (1995).

Yes, believe it or not, Leslie Nielsen played Dracula. Not only was he Dracula, but he was in a movie with another comedy master, Mel Brooks. The plot is an altered version of the story of Dracula, but with added moments of hilarity and over the top wacky characters. Dracula himself is actual pretty calm. He’s not as over the top as some of the other characters, and he is pretty straight faced through points in the film. Watching Nielsen take on such an iconic character is interesting, and he parodies it really well. Just seeing him in the vampire costume is funny, and watching him act along-side Mel Brooks is just awesome. This film is not as well known as some of his other works, and it’s not that popular, but for what it’s worth, I think it’s hilarious, and Nielsen, as usual, is freaking hilarious. If you’re a fan of Nielsen or Brooks, definitely check it out.

Favorite Quotes:

“Person: ‘Would you care for some wine?’

Dracula: ‘I never drink wine… oh, what the hell. Let me try it.'”

“[after rising from his coffin and hitting his head on a chandelier] I must move the coffin or the chandelier.”

“[last lines from Dracula] Renfield, you asshole!”

“Dracula: ‘[carrying Essie instead of Mina] You will be my bride throughout eternity. We’ll share the endless passion of immortal love.’

Essie: ‘Oh I can’t wait!’

Dracula: ‘NOT YOU! [takes her back inside and throws her on the floor, and carries Mina out] You will be my bride throughout eternity, we’ll share the endless passion of immortal love!'”

President Baxter Harris. Scary Movie 3&4. (2003-2006).

Say what you will about Scary Movie and its sequels, but you can’t deny that Leslie Nielsen’s performance in the third and fourth entries as the bumbling President is hilarious. You could say that his characteristics are similar to Frank Drebin from The Naked Gun, but his character is unique enough as it is. My favorite scene from Scary Movie 3 is when the president has gathered together people with mental and physical disabilities in order to give then awards for their courage, when his security guard comes up and tells him there has been an alien attack, and that the aliens could be anywhere, so Nielsen is scared that the handicap may be aliens in disguise, so he and his security guard fight there way out, and start a massive fight in the White House. His humor is mostly all dialogue based, but it’s written by none other than Pat Proft, who also wrote all the Naked Gun movies, so obviously his words and actions are hilarious. My favorite scene in Scary Movie 4 is when Nielsen is talking to world leaders about the alien invasion, and doesn’t even know where he is and doesn’t know what to say, so he starts off by telling a rude joke, then goes on to show them a machine that vaporizes clothing, and sets it off and makes everyone in the room naked. The Scary Movie movies have been known for their characters, but out of all the 4 films, Baxter Harris is by far my favorite in the 3rd and 4th. He’s the comic relief for the comedy movies, which seems weird, but is true, every line he says or scene he’s in he steals the show, as usual of course, but to me, he’s what makes the series complete, and 3 and 4 wouldn’t be complete with him.

Favourite Quotes:

From Scary Movie 3

You’re excited? You should feel my nipples.

John: ‘Sir, I think you should go on the TV and tell everyone there is no such things as UFO’s.’

President Harris: ‘Don’t spell in front of me damn it!'”

“President Harris: ‘Get me the President!’

John: ‘You are the President.’

President Harris: ‘Good. Then I already know about this. Let’s order lunch.'”

“[flying saucers appear in the air] Ah, good. The Air Force is here with those new round planes.”

“George: ‘Family, that’s just what I’ve been running away from.’

President Harris: ‘Well, that’s because your an idiot.'”

“I just want to wish you all good luck, we’re all counting on you.”

From Scary Movie 4

“Agent: ‘Mr. President, the country is under attack by aliens.’

President Harris: ‘I’ll deal with that later. Right now I want to find out what happens to the duck.’

Agent: ‘More people will die!’

President Harris: ‘ The people will die regardless. But this duck still has a fighting chance.’

Agent: ‘Sir, I’ve read the book. The duck dies!’

President Harris: ‘Good God! That’s horrible!'”

“Harper: ‘Sir, you’re naked too!’

President Harris: ‘I am? I thought this was a wrinkly leather coat!'”

“I’m here today at the…[looks up at the UN sign]…….un.”

Uncle Albert. Superhero Movie. (2008).

Again, say what you want about this movie, but again you can’t say a bad thing about Nielsen, because his parody of Uncle Ben from Spider-Man is awesome. Instead of giving the protagonist Rick (Drake Bell) good advice such as “With great power comes great responsibility”, he tells him to use his power to get chicks. When Rick tells him he has super human skin, Albert’s first reaction is to stab him, not even worrying he may be wrong. Even the way they introduce Nielsen into the film is great, we see Aunt Lucille (Marion Ross) talking to her husband while he’s reading the paper, and we can’t see his face. Then suddenly he puts the paper down, and everyone cheers as Nielsen is introduced and makes the movie hilarious. I’ve often said how Nielsen is great with dialogue, and I think this is mainly due to his way of delivering it. He says his lines with such seriousness, yet at the same time you know he’s doing it for laughs, and what he’s saying is downright ridiculous. I mainly love this character because it’s the complete opposite of Uncle Ben, and is a great addition to a Spider-Man parody.

Favorite Quotes:

“Uncle Albert: ‘Remember, with great power comes…’

Rick: ‘Great responsibility?’

Uncle Albert: ‘Well, I was gonna say bitches, but if you want to be a virgin for the rest of your life…'”

“How can you say that? I’ve been like a father to you! I raised you, just like your father did! I believed in you, just like your father did! I slept with your mother, just like your father did!'”

“And maybe your father shouldn’t have given you this after all, look at the words your ancestors inscribed in that ring: honor, valor, sacrifice, duty, commitment, bravery, justice, integrity, brotherhood, self-esteem, low prices, affordable housing, loose fitting pants, cheep internet porn, the rest is in Latin.”

Now, just to clear some things up, these are not what I think are Nielsen’s best performances. I have seen other Nielsen films, but these were the ones that had the characters that personally appealed to me. They are the characters and performances I fondly remember. In conclusion, I really don’t think there is such a thing as a bad Nielsen performance, I mean, when you have an actor as funny and talented as Leslie Nielsen, no matter what your movie is, he will give a good show. The world suffered a great lose due to his death, but he will never be forgotten. As long as his films are viewed, people will forever be laughing at his performances, and admiring the actors talents. Leslie Nielsen was an inspiration, and though he may be gone, his performances and talents will forever live on in the hearts and minds of all those who view his work. Mr. Nielsen, you are an inspiration, entertainer, and legend. You will be missed, but never forgotten.

-HT Schuyler.


Comments
  1. Lemur68 says:

    Though, sadly, the only nielson movies I’ve ever seen are scary movie 3&4, this makes me want to see them all . I find myself regretting never before having seen any of his works, and never bent able to fully appreciate him while he was still alive, but better late than never right? His legacy will always be here to new and old movie lovers to have the privilege of seeing, thanks HT Schuyler.

  2. htschuyler says:

    Forgive my tardiness, but Happy Birthday Leslie Nielsen, you are still much missed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s