Saturday, April 19, 2014

Queen For A Day: The 10 Greatest Queens

It's Q-Day in the A to Z Challenge (click on the banner at the end of this post to find out what that is) so we should do something Q-related - and no, I am not talking about the John de Lancie-portrayed character from Star Trek, though this flitting drama queen may fit into here anyway.  Today, we celebrate the queen. No, not Charles Nelson Reilly! The Queen, with a capital Q. That monarch we all know so well. The Queen. Be it the legendary Guinevere of Camelot fame or Shakespeare's very own Titania, Queen of the Fairies; Hippolyta, Amazonian muckity-muck and mother to Wonder Woman or Frigga, Queen of the mighty realm of Asgard, and mother to Thor; Arwen, beautiful half elf queen of Middle-Earth or Narnia's wicked White Witch/Queen. Be it Mera, wife of Aquaman and Queen of the seven seas or, if one wishes to go a different route, Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. Any of these queens will do, from Steve McQueen and Butterfly McQueen to Queen Latifah herself. From the great Queen Victoria to Isabella of Spain to Christina of Sweden. We could even call up Queensland, Australia if we so desired, or maybe stop in at Dairy Queen for an Oreo Brownie Earthquake, but alas, none of these queens, real or fictional, male or female, human or down under territory, make the list that is just below. Nope, not even Charles Nelson Reilly. As for the 1950's quiz show, Queen For A Day, for which this post is named, that will come up in a few days when we get to our Spectacularly Bad TV: Episode III post. For now though, we have ourselves a countdown to get to.

And awaaaaaaay we go..,

Special Mention #1: The King of Queens

Okay, not technically a queen so much as a sit-com that is set in Queens, but that is close enough to get this Kevin James comedy at least a special mention. The CBS comedy ran for nine seasons, and even though it was pretty much a one joke sit-com, or a one trick pony, if you will, I still laugh at it in reruns, and probably always will. Granted, James' Doug Heffernan, the titular monarch of said NY borough, is a Mets fan instead of the Yankees fan he damn well should be (I know, Queens residents tend to be Mets fans, but they are just wrong dammit!) but, like I said, I keep on laughing, so this King of Queens stays where he is.

Special Mention #2: The Queen of Soul

R-E-S-P-E-C-T... find out what it means to me! Again, not an actual queen, but still close enough (a lot closer than Kevin James, fer sure) to land Aretha Franklin in the special mention zone. One of the greatest talents of modern music, and one of the best damn voices of all freakin' time, Franklin may not just be the Queen of Soul, but possibly the Empress as well. But, for the purposes of this list, let's just call the lady, the Queen of Soul. Perhaps one day, when I do a 10 Best Empresses list, I can include her there as well. Yup, it's a plan. 

10. The Acid Queen

Created by The Who, for their rock opera, Tommy, and played in the film version by Tina Turner, The Acid Queen is one mean bitch, baby! Obviously based on a certain hallucinogenic drug, the Pete Townsend-penned song has been performed by both Patti LaBelle and Bette Midler, but is Tina's version, both on the film soundtrack, and Turner's own album (creatively called Acid Queen), that is the reason behind this crazy bee-atch making this list of the greatest queens.  

9. The Borg Queen

Resistance is freakin' futile, baby! This Queen of Bitches, er...I mean, this Borg Queen (though I wouldn't want on this one's bad side, would you?) is the leader of  wretched hive of scum and villainy, more of which you will never find. Okay, misleading Star Wars paraphrasing aside, the Borg are a hive collective of ne're-do-wells from the Star Trek Universe, and this bitch is their queen. Like I said earlier (just above actually), resistance is freakin' futile... well, unless you happen to be Captain Jean-Luc Freakin' Picard, that is. Take that Borg Queen! And, she's kinda hot too. Or is that just me?

8. Queen Elizabeth I

The so-called Virgin Queen (yeah, right!), Elizabeth the First was a trendsetter and a muckraker. She could be as ruthless and as vicious as any of her male counterparts (maybe even moreso) but at the same time, she was a beloved figure for many, as well as a beautiful icon of history. Oh, and she liked bawdy plays as well, a thing a lady, and especially a queen, should not have been doing in her time. All this, and she was also played by the great Cate Blanchett in not one, but two films. And then there's the Ren Faire thing, where she plays chess with real live human beings. And she is one of the sexiest monarchs of all-time. Howzabout that!?

7. Queen Amidala

Now granted, I do tend to ignore the so-called Star Wars prequel films, and always think of them as trite pieces of cinematic garbage that do nothing but ruin the image of my beloved original Star Wars trilogy, sometimes even claiming they never actually existed in the first place, and that they are nothing more than a terrible mass hallucination (which they may very well be), but since she is the mother of Luke and Leia, and she is played by Natalie Portman in the aforementioned trite pieces of cinematic garbage, I suppose I should include this beautiful (and kick-ass) Naboo queen somewhere on this list. So here she is. Now stop talking to me about these damn prequels!

6. Emma Frost, The White Queen

Sure, the late (sorta) Jean Grey may have temporarily been the Hellfire Club's Black Queen, but that was actually the Phoenix posing as Miss Grey, and even so, Emma Frost as the evil but quite lovable White Queen, has always been the greatest of the Hellfire Club! And just like how Emma took Scott away from Jean, I too kick the all-too death-defying Miss Jean Grey to the curb, in favour of Miss Emma Frost. Sure, Emma has cooled down as of late, and become a genuine hero (yeah, I know, she's labeled a mutant terrorist now, but hey...) but she will always be the White Queen to me.

5. The Queen of Sheba

She has been called Nicaule, Nakuti, Makeda, and Bilqis, but she is most famously known (at least in the Judeo-Christian world) as The Queen of Sheba. Part of pretty much every ancient religion west of the Euphrates, this Ethiopian queen was a rich and powerful monarch, who would bestow great wealth on King Solomon, and praise his God as a good god. Good god, that was sweet of the Queen of Sheba. See what I did there? She also had a thing for lions, and on top of all that? Gina Lollobrigida once played her on the big screen. Now how's that for a full-figured queen!? Yowza!

4. The Faerie Queene

Since I thought myself a poet for many years (I think I thought it more than others thought it, but hey, I digress) - anyway, since I thought myself a poet for many years, it only goes to reason that I should include a poet queen on this list. And the best poet queen? Well, it has just got to be Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene (complete with the old world English e at the end). Spenser's incomplete epic poem was first published in 1590, and it even has a tie-in with another queen on this list. According to legend, though some say she never read it, The Faerie Queene was a favourite of Good Queen Bess from number eight.

3. The Queen of Hearts

This doer-away-with-heads is often mistaken for Lewis Carroll's other Wonderland despot, the Red Queen, sometimes, as in both the Disney animated version and Tim Burton's lackluster take, actually being combined with her as one amalgam character, but here The Queen of Hearts stands on her own dammit!! Tougher and more dangerous than the Red Queen, this evil-doer has a temper that will surely get many to lose their heads. I kinda like this attitude in a woman, and in a queen, so The Queen of Hearts definitely deserves a spot on the list - and a high one at that. This way, I won't lose my head. Well okay, I still might. She is fickle, that one.

2. Marie Antoinette

Now talk about hot queens! Probably the most famous of all the French monarchs, and probably the most infamous as well (so she didn't understand that peasants couldn't make cake, if they couldn't also make bread), the Austrian-born Marie was married off to the Dauphin of France when she was just fourteen. Just fourteen years later, poor Marie lost her head (literally! to the uprising known as the French Revolution. And hey, in the world of cinema, the great queen has been played by Anita Louise, Norma Shearer, Jane Seymour, Joely Richardson, Diane Kruger, and in my favourite version (directed by Sofia Coppola) Kirsten Dunst. Now let's go eat some cake!

1. Queen (the band)

C'mon people! None of the other queens on the list are responsible for Bohemian Rhapsody. None of them are responsible for Somebody to Love or for Crazy Little Thing Called Love or for We Will Rock You or for We Are the Champions or for Save Me or for Killer Queen. And most importantly, none of the other queens on this list are responsible for Fat Bottomed Girls, the greatest song ever! Nope, the only queen responsible for these hits, is that little foursome from London, England. That's right, kids, the top spot in our Greatest Queens list, is not a queen at all (well, technically, Freddie...oh, never mind) but one of the greatest rock bands to ever take the stage.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

8 comments:

  1. I have never seen the Kirsten Dunst version but, with what you say, I shall give this a look. I thought I was the only one who thought the prequels to Stars Wars was sad except for the kick ass music when they fought the red and black guy. I kept calling her Queen Armadillo. Don't get me started on Q-tip (Liam Neeson's character) and I really wanted the little kid to die a flaming death in the race sequence. Love Cate Blanchett. in These 2 films. Totally agree with Queen being # 1. Glad you mentioned Charles Nelson Reilly but what about Paul Lynde?:) Happy Easter

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  2. Yup, I love all of Sofia Coppola films, but her Marie Antoinete has been panned by some less intelligent critics. Ha! So, after I first saw Phantom Menace, I thought to myself that nobody could be worse than little Jake Lloyd, but then Hayden Christensen had to go and prove me wrong. As for Paul Lynde, I guess I only had room for one retro queen in my intro. By the by, have ya ever seen The Paul Lynde Show? It ran for just one season (1972-73). It was quite hilarious watching Lynde play a typical family man, but stil doing his over-the-top queenie schtick.

    See ya 'round the web.

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    1. I watched it religiously when it was actually on! Love Paul Lynde and thought it strange that he would be married

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  3. Awesome list! Lots of great Queens there -- and I didn't notice any glaring omissions this time ;-P

    Definitely agree with your choice of Queen as the #1 Queen. Such a unique band- their rock operas and arena chants are timeless.

    I've heard of Paul Lynde from a Family Guy episode but I'm not quite familiar with him. (I couldn't resist using the word 'quite" on every Q comment) Also, whatever happened to Kirsten Dunst? She was like the Jennifer Lawrence of her day, in that she was in like a half dozen movies every year (and also, she was hot) I can't remember the last thing I've seen her in but it's been a long while. Hope that doesn't happen to J-Law.

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  4. Thanx Chris. Dunst decided to go the more arthouse route. She was wonderful in von Trier's Melancholia a few years back.

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  5. A few things...

    1) If Aretha ain't no real queen, then neither is the Acid Queen.
    2) Garbo's Queen Christina should be here, just for her being played by Garbo!
    3) The Borg Queen IS hot!
    4) Jean Grey is cooler AND sexier than Emma Frost any AND every day of the fuckin' week!
    5) Just by principle, and even with her being Luke n Leia's moms, no one from those fuckin' prequels should be mentioned here.
    6) Where the fuck is Victoria!?
    7) Okay, Natalie Portman plays her, so yea, she should be here.
    8) Did I mention that the Borg Queen is indeed hot?
    9) Did I mention that Jean Grey is better than Emma Frost!?
    10) Queen as number one!? Okay, I'm down with that.

    Now I'll be seein' you 'round the web, buddy boy!

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  6. You finally do a female-centric list, and still you have to put men on top. I love ya like a brother, but you do know how much of a sexist pig you are, right? We won't even go into how you describe some of these ladies as bitches.

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  7. Get off yer high horse Cherry Bomb Shiksa. Not everything has to be all about the ladies. Or all about you.

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