Mail from our readers
As a major fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme, I was somewhat
disappointed with the pictures your magazine published of him along
with your recent profile (#154, Jan. 22). While I understand your
choices showing his transformation from kickboxing hero to a
'90s-style leading man, did you really have to print a photo of him
with eyeliner on? You ruined my fascination with his rugged-stud
persona and made this hunk into just another Hollywood pretty boy.
Susan Van Sledright
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Take Jean-Claude Van Damme seriously? How can you even ask this of
us when you proceeded to print those overblown ''makeover'' photos of
him? What were you people thinking? You successfully took the most
down-to-earth, realistic male superhero and turned him into a sunken,
sullen, aging drag queen.
Thank you! You have made my week! I really enjoyed the article on
Jean-Claude Van Damme. I think he is the man of the '90s and your
photos proved it to me. (He looks great whether he's in a suit or
Kudos to Jess Cagle on a superbly written article. But I'm still
smarting from the whipping he gave my favorite action hero. I've been
''fo-cused'' on Van Damme for several years now and own most of his
films. He should be getting the Cruise roles because he has a
magnetism that pulls the audience in regardless of the tale he's
Cagle writes, ''Van Damme is...a gamble'' because ''Americans like
their action heroes to be...heroic defenders of truth and justice and
the American way.'' In fact, if Cagle were to watch Van Damme's
movies, he would see that truth and justice are underlying themes in
all of them. And regardless of Cagle's harsh portrayal of Van Damme
as less than ''seensiteeve,'' in his appearances on the talk-show
circuit Van Damme is simply endearing. If in real life he's not, then
he has me, for one, completely fooled.
Audrey L.D. Petschek
I congratulate Ann McFerran for her more than ''behind the scenes''
article on Damage. I abhor reading a synopsis of the story and
performances I can see the movie and judge for myself. What I can't
do is be on the set and observe the fascinating creative process
between cast and director. Thank you.
'ALIVE' AND KICKING
It seems that the media is making a much bigger deal out of the
cannibal issue in Alive than the movie itself did. Owen Gleiberman
mentions the idea of cannibalism more in his two-column article than
the entire two-hour movie did. The movie depicted their behavior as
the only way they could hope to survive. Gleiberman makes it seem as
though the whole film revolves around this act. The movie revolves