One New Year's tradition I don't observe is the "Who Died" list - the list of influential entertainers who died in the last year. But we did feel the urge to commemorate one great late actor, Leslie Nielsen, died Nov 28, 2010. We did not watch any of his best or most famous movies, but we felt our choice was appropriate: Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
I'm not going to say too much about this film, because Mr. Peel of Mr. Peel's Sardine Liqueur said it so much better. It was made in 1995 and is, unbelievably, the last feature Mel Brooks directed. It isn't one of his funniest (or Nielsen's or co-star Harvey Korman's), but it has a very lovable quality. It feels like more of a tribute than a spoof. Some of the best parts are Peter MacNicol's dead-on Dwight Fry imitation as Renfield, and Korman's Nigel Bruce as Dr. Seward. Nielsen makes a terrible Dracula, but never lets on - keeping his Transylvanian accent firmly in place, and tongue far from his cheek.
The jokes are rare and mostly pretty lightweight, but it worked for us much better than, for ex, Spaceballs, which was just a mess.
Good-bye, Lt. Drebbin. We'll miss you.
A sad postscript - Nielsen's co-star in Forbidden Planet, Anne Francis died Jan 2, 2011. We loved her in Honey West.