Bale de Jour
I stopped dead in my tracks and stared openmouthed when I saw your cover. I'll have to buy a few extra copies of this issue -- mine is getting waterlogged with drool! I have been in love with Christian Bale for years, and this will be the first Batman movie I've had even a remote interest in. It's great to see one of the most talented actors of my generation finally getting the mainstream attention he has (admirably) never sought but so greatly deserves. BETHANY LAWRENCE email@example.com Independence, Ore.
Christian Bale couldn't have been a better choice for the cover of your Must List. For years now, I have continually been impressed by his acting abilities. From his incredible film debut in ''Empire of the Sun'' to his brokenhearted loyalty to the March sisters in ''Little Women'' to his cold, murderous turn as the bored egomaniac Patrick Bateman in ''American Psycho'' -- his range as an actor is hard to match by many of his generation. To say nothing of independent turns in unique films like ''Metroland'' and ''Velvet Goldmine.'' I can't wait to see ''The Machinist,'' and if anyone can breathe life back into the Dark Knight, it's Bale. KELLY A. JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org Kansas City, Kan.
Christian Bale tops your Must List this year even though he doesn't have a movie coming out this summer (''Batman Begins'' is next year, folks) and he's rarely had a box office hit or won a major acting award. Kudos to Warner Bros. for starting the Batman PR machine a year in advance, but really, EW, don't you remember putting ''Josie and the Pussycats'' on the cover? This should have been Ray Charles' cover. You could have pushed back the inevitable Batman marketing a week to honor a legend. JENNIFER D. LAC KAMP email@example.com Los Angeles
Allow me to quote your article on Ray Charles: ''Five decades ago, a blind orphan sat at a piano and belted out raw yet sophisticated songs that forever changed music'' (''Ray Charles, 1930-2004''). EW goes on to say Charles was a ''genre-bending musical superhero'' who was ''known as the Genius of Soul [and] had a significant hand in inventing modern popular music.'' EW has obviously acknowledged Charles' magnificent talent and contribution to music. So why on earth didn't he earn a spot on your cover? One would think that a man who ''forever changed music'' deserves the honor before the star of ''Batman Begins.'' STEPHANIE SILVESTRI firstname.lastname@example.org Narragansett, R.I.
I was so excited to see that you included ''Farscape'' on this year's Must List! The show is amazing, and it is definitely at the top of MY must list! I'm one of those fans who fought long and hard to get this brilliant, quirky, intelligent, romantic show back, and I can't wait for the miniseries in October! I hope EW will be doing an article on ''Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars'' in the fall! LEE VIBBER LVibber@aol.com Tustin, Calif.
With Hollywood constantly attempting to remake its classics, I am surprised it still doesn't know how to get them right (News & Notes). I am excited to see the new ''Manchurian Candidate'' because of the great cast they put together, but ''The Stepford Wives'' had a good cast and that was a train wreck. Future remake projects need to worry about getting the script right before spending big bucks on an A-list cast. JEREMY SHEARER punk_and_disorderleee@ hotmail.com Medina, Ohio