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Best Evil Queens in Movies

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Charlize Theron certainly cuts quite a figure as the Evil Queen character in the new “Snow White and the Huntsman” movie. But she’ll have to do more than just look the part to keep up with the best evil queens in movie history. Here are nine of them.

HELENA BONHAM CARTER

“ALICE IN WONDERLAND” (2010)

Bonham Carter, who has built up quite a collection of interesting supporting roles, does the whole regal nutjob thing perfectly. She has a little help here from special effects, but it’s her crazy, menacing manner as the Red Queen that seals the deal.

MALEFICENT

“SLEEPING BEAUTY” (1959)

As animated villains go, Maleficent was languidly, elegantly evil. She had no problem putting the whammy on people (i.e., Sleeping Beauty), and she looked good doing it. Bonus points for the horns.

SUSAN SARANDON

“ENCHANTED” (2007)

Sarandon is wonderful as Queen Narissa, who lives in an animated realm and banishes a beautiful princess to real-life Manhattan. Sarandon dispenses with subtlety and unleashes the full power of her personal charisma.

ALICE KRIGE

“STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT” (1996)

Charisma isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind with the Borg Queen, played by Krige. In the world of “Star Trek,” the Borg collective is all about conquering and assimilating other cultures into zombie-like cyborgs. Of course, Krige does manage to make her Queen character sexy in a cold, calculated sort of way.

ANJELICA HUSTON

“EVER AFTER” (1998)

I’m breaking my own rules here, because Huston doesn’t play a queen in “Ever After.” In this more realistic telling of the Cinderella story, Huston plays Rodmilla, evil stepmother to Drew Barrymore. She’s brilliant in the part, injecting sly humor and full-out slapstick where necessary. And her raised eyebrow, pictured above, almost deserves its own line in the cast list.

JULIA ROBERTS

“MIRROR MIRROR” (2012)

She’s going to be seriously overshadowed and left in the dust by the new Snow White film, but Julia’s take on The Queen is a success nonetheless. She used her image as an A-list movie star to shape a satirical, deliciously dark character.

ALIEN QUEEN

“ALIENS” (1986)

Possibly the most evil queen ever. In one of the greatest movie sequels in history, Sigourney Weaver takes on the mother of the bloodthirsty “aliens” that threaten the universe. This is absolute white-knuckle territory, in part because the queen is so utterly, thoroughly … evil.

DAME JUDI DENCH

“MACBETH” (1979)

Yes, yes, it’s a TV version of Shakespeare’s epic tragedy. So sue me. Dame Judi is spectacular as Lady Macbeth, the power hungry noblewoman who gets to be Queen of Scotland the hard way.

WICKED QUEEN

“SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES” (1937)

She’s the best, without a doubt. Lucille La Verne did the voice work for the Wicked Queen, and she’s simply indelible. Let’s put it this way: Would you ever want to get on her bad side? Thought not.

So are there any great, evil queens I’ve forgotten? Add them to The List!

Great TV & Movie Moms You May Not Remember

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This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day, so here’s something to get you in the mood: A bunch of terrific, but sometimes overlooked, moms from TV and movies.

SADA THOMPSON

“FAMILY” (1976-80)

This series about a California family was somewhat of a soap opera, but it got many things just right. Chief among them was the fiercely intelligent performance by Sada Thompson as Kate Lawrence. Without resorting to showy theatrics, she conveyed her character’s deep love for her kids even when they did self-destructive things. And what kid doesn’t do self-destructive things?

DIAHANN CARROLL

“JULIA” (1968-71)

Tame by today’s standards, “Julia” was an important show for its time. Carroll played a nurse raising her son alone, after her husband dies in Vietnam. Just like other shows of that era, it taught simple life lessons that were wrapped up neatly by the end of the episode. It didn’t need to be edgy; its mere existence on the TV schedule was statement enough. Plus, Carroll was excellent.

MERCEDES RUEHL

“BIG” (1988)

Amid the fantasy and comedy elements of the Tom Hanks movie, “Big,” there is this great performance by Ruehl. Her character, Mrs. Baskin, believes her young son has been kidnapped or run away. Her brief flashes of anger and sadness actually keep the rest of the story in perspective.

ADELINE DE WALT REYNOLDS

“GOING MY WAY” (1944)

Here’s a testament to the power of motherhood. In this movie, young priest Bing Crosby is trying to persuade old priest Barry Fitzgerald to change with the times and rejuvenate his spirit. At the end of the film, Crosby arranges to have Fitzgerald’s mother brought in from Ireland as a surprise. When he sees her – ancient, smiling, barely able to walk – he melts into her open arms.

MERYL STREEP

“THE RIVER WILD” (1994)

Introducing Meryl Streep, action hero mom. In “The River Wild,” her character, a whitewater rafting expert, has multiple problems to solve. She has to save her marriage, keep her family from being killed by a pair of criminals – and navigate some nasty rapids.

HIAM ABBASS

“THE VISITOR” (2007)

Abbass is quietly moving in a film that also is quietly moving. She plays a Syrian woman in America, whose son has been sent to a detention center for illegal immigrants. She feels guilt, rage and helplessness, but never wavers in her love and sacrifice.

BESS ARMSTRONG

“MY SO-CALLED LIFE” (1994-95)

There was nothing quiet about Bess Armstrong in “My So-Called Life.” Her mom character got mad, argued, debated and was willing to discipline her 15-year-old daughter, played by Claire Danes. It was painfully real. Yet she was willing to listen and console, too. Armstrong may have been the most realistic mom in TV history.

REGINA TAYLOR

“CLOCKERS” (1995)

This is maternal bravery, depicted on film. In “Clockers,” Taylor absolutely tears into a drug dealer (played by Mekhi Phifer) who might be taking an interest in recruiting her young son for the drug trade. Her fire – and her fear that she might be fighting a losing battle – are right there for everyone to see.

ANJELICA HUSTON

“50/50” (2011)

This is a tricky role that Huston plays very nicely. She’s the mom of an adult son who develops cancer, and her initial scenes require her to be fairly hysterical. As the movie progresses, an interesting thing happens with her. You come to realize through her that being fairly hysterical is actually part of a parent’s job.

PATRICIA WETTIG

“thirtysomething” (1987-91)

Wettig’s Nancy Weston on “thirtysomething” got to do something pretty radical for a TV mom. Her character was allowed to grow and change. She was at various times timid, mousy, trapped, jealous, angry, independent, forgiving and resilient. Great, great performance.

BARBARA BARRIE

“BREAKING AWAY” (1979)

She’s one of my favorites. Barrie is pleasantly daffy as the Indiana mom whose son has suddenly decided to pretend he’s a professional bicycle racer from Italy. She just goes with it, merrily waiting for her chance to inject some common sense here and there.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone. Feel free to add to The List!