New on Netflix: Hollywood says goodbye to comedic legend

Bryan Trude , feature editor

The Thanksgiving weekend was blemished by the loss of one of the most iconic comedic actors in Hollywood history.
Leslie Nielsen passed away Nov. 28 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he had been hospitalized with pneumonia.

Neilson had a sizeable career as a dramatic actor in television and film, and established a second career as a comedic actor with the 1980 cult smash “Airplane!”

With the passing of one of the greatest parody actors of all time, I felt it appropriate to scrap the original column I was going to write and instead, find something of Nielsen’s to watch and review.

In all honesty, finding something was, in itself, a difficult task. Most of the good stuff he is famous for is not available for streaming. However, I did find a little nugget that slipped between the cracks, a made-for-TV film that received little attention in its’ day.

Chance of a Lifetime
Rating: Not Rated
Released: 1991
Director: Jonathan Sanger
Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Betty White, Ed Begley, Jr.

Originally broadcast on NBC, “Chance of a Lifetime” is a romantic comedy starring Betty White as Evelyn Eglin, a widower of 10 years who wraps herself up in her work as a result, blowing off her personal life and even her family.

After learning she had contracted a potentially fatal disease, Eglin takes a vacation to sunny Mexico, where she meets fellow widower Lloyd Dixon (Nielsen), who helps her use her pending mortality to rediscover life and love.

Honestly, I wish I had a better Nielsen movie to review available. “Chance of a Lifetime” looks like it was shot for the Hallmark Channel, back when Nielsen was more known for his comedic acting than his serious roles.

Ed Begley, Jr. turns in a forgettable performance as White’s concerned son from her first marriage, which is something the movie is full of: forgettable performances. It has all the tone and entertainment value of a soap opera, and never saw a widespread release outside of its NBC showing.

In all, however, it was nice to see Nielsen flex a little acting chop beyond being a pure comedic actor. To be perfectly honest, you don’t need TV movies like “Chance of a Lifetime” to remember the many hours of entertainment he provided the world.
Just remember to never call him Shirley.

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