Readers saluted our Saving Private Ryan cover and review (#442, July 24), but some felt Owen Gleiberman’s A grade wasn’t an honorable enough mention. ”Why, when I know EW uses the A+ grade, have I never seen it given to any movie?” asks Adam B. Vary of Columbus, Ohio. ”Gleiberman is so rapturous of Ryan — as he should be — that his review seems tailor-made for an A+.” While it’s true that other EW critics will occasionally award A pluses, in Gleiberman’s grade book they add nothing to the critical discussion. ”Back in 1991, I did give an A+ to the rerelease of Citizen Kane,” says Owen. ”Since then, I’ve come to feel that it’s sheer folly using a plus sign to quantify artistic sublimity.” Class — and case — dismissed.

War Correspondence

Your article on Saving Private Ryan left me so touched that I saw the film the first day it opened. If you can’t cry in a movie theater, maybe this film isn’t for you. It’s brutal, intense, and amazing.
Studio City, Calif.

What an excellent cover story on Saving Private Ryan. I’ve read umpteen articles about the movie, and yours was fantastic. Everyone has been emphasizing the gory violence in the film, and I almost didn’t see it. But your article convinced me that this was a movie not to be missed. I managed to make it through the entire thing and am so glad.
Boerne, Tex.

Kudos to Jeff Gordinier for his fine article on the making of Saving Private Ryan. I was amused by the account of eight pampered Hollywood actors doing a stint in boot camp on the orders of Spielberg. What comes to mind, though, is the advice that Laurence Olivier gave to Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man (after Hoffman prepared for a harrowing scene by going without sleep for two days): ”Dear boy, why don’t you try acting?”
Riderwood, Md.

I want to thank Owen Gleiberman for his clear-sighted review of Saving Private Ryan. In a film where soldiers die at an unforgiving rate, Ryan shows us that one life is indeed worth saving. I don’t think Hanks and Spielberg even care about an Oscar — it doesn’t even seem appropriate. The film deserves a Medal of Honor.

It’s All in the Bag

Wanted to let you know that Sandra Bullock’s Tin Tote in Hope Floats was hardly original. I bought the exact purse for my wife four years ago. I guess life imitates construction in this case, not art.
St. Louis Park, Minn.

Summertime Blues

Your article ”Summer … What a Bummer” reaffirmed my faith in the taste of the film-viewing public. The lower-than-projected takes for poorly realized special-effects extravaganzas such as Godzilla and Armageddon and the surprisingly successful ”small” films such as Hope Floats and The Horse Whisperer suggest that viewers may finally have decided that a plot-defective film cannot ride on its visual novelty alone.
Toledo, Ohio

Rimes and Reason

Leann Rimes feels that her version of ”How Do I Live” should have won the Grammy. I strongly disagree. Trisha Yearwood sings that song with maturity, emotion, and experience. Rimes sounds like she’s singing it to her teddy bear.
West Chicago, Ill.

Copping Appeal

Thank you so much for the article on The Sentinel. The series really has something special; it’s much more than an ordinary cop show. Even though I’m from Germany, I did what I could to help save the show — writing letters, faxing, and phoning to let UPN and Paramount know what’s important to me. I have never worked so hard to get a TV show back.
Diez, Germany

So Farrah, So Good

I don’t know where Joe Neumaier has been hiding since 1979, but Farrah Fawcett’s best acting has been done since she left the ”superhero couple.” Did Neumaier see The Apostle, in which Fawcett was excellent opposite Oscar-nominated Robert Duvall? Or Extremities (either the stage or film version)? Or any of her TV-movie work (including The Burning Bed)? How many movies would she need to have made to be a success?
New York City


‘Snake’ Charmers
Gary Sinise and Brian De Palma talk about their new thriller, Snake Eyes.

Brave News World
Read online-only flashes about George Clooney, Jerry Seinfeld, and the Barenaked Ladies.


Our Fall Movie Preview.

Plus reviews of
Return to Paradise, with Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche (Movies)
— HBO’s The Rat Pack (Television)
— Korn’s new CD, Follow the Leader (Music)
Sin and the evolution of Doom clones (Multimedia)

Saving Private Ryan
  • Movie
  • 170 minutes