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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Top Ten Queen Moments on Film

Having just learned that Sacha Baron Cohen backed out of playing Freddie Mercury in a biopic film, I felt the need to look back at cinema and cherry pick my favorite uses of Queen music from films.

With that I give you Top Ten Queen Moments on Film.

10: Iron Man 2 - "Another One Bites The Dust" (Remix)
It wasn't the greatest of sequels.   But there is a brief moment where Iron Man faces off with his best friend, wearing the War Machine suit and Queen kicks up in the background.  Blink and you might miss it.

9: Ella Enchanted - "Somebody To Love"
Before she waif-ted away to nearly nothing in order to tackle Les Miserables and earn herself an Oscar, Anne Hathaway sung her tiny lungs out as Ella Frel in Ella Enchanted.  I've never seen the movie, but the clip does her singing some justice.  It doesn't do much justice for Freddie Mercury's voice, though.  I guess it's a cute movie, and I needed it to make up ten entries... so. 

8:  A Knight’s Tale – "We Will Rock You"
2001 brought Heath Ledger to a new level of fame, prior to being in another “Knight” film.  The late actor took on the role of William Thatcher, a lowly squire looking to change his stars.  To do that, he assumes the identity of a knight in order to compete in tournaments and win the heart of the Shannyn Sossamon.   In his first tournament, disguised as his dead master, Lord Ector, he rocks the joust. 

In the opening credits, the peasants in the gallery chant and cheer, something that would probably be ancestral to today’s stadium behaviors.  How fitting that Queen provides the ever popular and hardly unknown “Stomp, Stomp, Clap” beat to their chants.

7: Iron Eagle - "One Vision"
 "This ain't no game, I'm telling ya!"  Anytime you can get a hardened Air Force colonel to loosen up and listen to some Queen, you've done something good.   The poor man's Top Gun gave us a true 80s version of a hot shot pilot.   One that bombs unidentifiable Middle Eastern targets while adjusting the equalizer on his Walkman. It's not Maverick, or even Gooseman for that matter, but Iron Eagle had something that Top Gun didn't, 80s plausible film logic.  While Top Gun showed a more, loosely put, realistic view of how Naval Fighter Pilots train, Iron Eagle gave us the tale of how a kid on an Air Force base could pull off a secret rescue mission, complete with two fighter jets and a shit load of ammunition.  

While the government tries to hunt down a NSA whistle blower in today's world, the 80s sees a kid that breaks every foreign policy rule in the book get admitted to flight school. 

6:  Grosse Point Blank – "Under Pressure"
We never truly leave high school.  That is never more true than when we return home for a reunion.  Stoic loner and contract killer, Martin Blank comes home again as his present and past collides in a high school gym.   Faced with the feeling of angst towards killing bad people for money, he has a moment staring into the wide eyes of a classmate’s son.  The universe smacks him upside the head as his life hurtles towards epiphany, complete with the David Bowie/Queen collaboration, Under Pressure. 

5: Shaun of the Dead - "Don't Stop Me Now"
"Why is Queen still on?" 
Cause it's flipping awesome.   The zom-com that bent the genre on it's nibbled ear had a memorable scene where a record collection was dissected in order to determine which works were salvageable and which could be made into wax weapons of mass distortion.  But later at The Winchester was where the magic happened, randomly, that is as this ditty came on the jukebox as our heroes fight to keep out the dead.    

4: Flash Gordon – "THE WHOLE SOUNDTRACK"

By today’s standards, this movie might would have ruined comic book adaptations.  But, there is something nostalgic and kitsch about the lack of good special effects and… well, script.   Part of it could be Max Von Sydow as Ming or Brian Blessed as Vultan or Pre James Bond Timothy Dalton as Barin.  Or… it could be Queen’s kick ass soundtrack.  I’ll let you decide. 

3: Highlander - "THE WHOLE SOUNDTRACK"  
I'm not sure if the movie beget a love of Queen's music and swordplay in nerds or if the creators of the movie acknowledged a tie-in between the type of music Queen made and nerds love of swords and epic stories.   In any case, who wants to live forever, right?  If only they would have stopped at the first film, they could have stopped a lifetime of vitriol among their fan base.  At least they had a few years before the Internet was born... but the series made up for some of that. 

2: Revenge of the Nerds – "We Are the Champions"
"No one's really gonna be free until nerd persecution ends."  Truer words were never spoken, but history has a way of changing and nerds rule these days.  But there was a time, back in the 80s when nerds were outcasts and the meek.  It was a simpler time when panty raids and CCV streams of sorority houses weren’t considered remotely creepy or illegal.  It was a time when you could simply win any battle with a well choreographed light and sound show, complete with a spiky haired Timothy Busfield rocking the violin.   But when the jocks of Alpha Beta take out their vengeance by destroying the house of Lambda Lambda Lamdba, the only way to end the war is with a passionate speech about embracing your inner nerd.  It also helps when you have Queen underscoring your monologue.   I wanted to make this number one, I did.  But while ROTN has that great Queen moment, number one goes meta by acknowledging what we already know.

1:  Wayne’s World – "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Good call, right?  
The 1992 movie introduced Queen to a generation of fans that never heard their older siblings’ records.  Flash Gordon introduced me to Queen, but this film introduced me to "Bohemian Rhapsody".  
It seems a bit too easy to go with "Bohemian Rhapsody" at number one, but admit it.  You still bang your head at the guitar solo, right?  Though, these days, it hurts to give it a full effort.  I may have to spew into a paper cup.    

Got any favorite Queen moments in movies? Let me know in the comments!

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