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For Gen Z, even crushes are vintage

How a debate on Al Pacino and De Niro resurrected Hollywood's old glamour

For Gen Z, even crushes are vintage How a debate on Al Pacino and De Niro resurrected Hollywood's old glamour

«At a wedding and having a big debate rn. Please vote. Who was hotter?» 40 million views and 14 thousand comments later, it's still not known who between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro actually won the hottest heartthrob prize on Twitter; the poll closed at fifty-fifty. Becoming one of the most followed social discussions in history, perhaps on a par with the time when no one could be able to tell the real colour of a dress, this accidental tweet completely split social public opinion, permanently dividing fans of one actor and the other into two categories later named, according to those online who likened the case to a psychological visual effect invented in 1929, Bouba and Kiki. Twitter was flooded with theories delving into the phenomenon, TikToks from fan edits exhuming old photos and films, and comments reading, «He had no business being so attractive 25 years before I was born.» Psychological analysis aside, the fact raised a very topical question that also exists in the fashion world about the limits of modern entertainment: how far can this immense passion for faces, art and objects of yesteryear be pushed in the new generations?

According to a recent study conducted by the National Research Group, the analytical company studying the world of entertainment and technology, the stars who attract the biggest audiences to cinemas are old. In fact, a ranking compiled at the end of the survey shows that the twenty most-watched Hollywood artists in the world are all over 40, - the only one who saves himself is Chris Hemsworth, in 20th place, but he's 39 - and of average age of 57.5. It is clear, then, that despite the fact that today's list of Hollywood heartthrobs includes names such as Timothée Chalamet, Regé-Jean Page and Jacob Elordi, no list of fresh talent can easily compete with that of a few decades ago, which alongside De Niro and Pacino also counted Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio.

@kendallrae111 Robert De Niro for me #fyp #robertdeniro #alpacino wish you never met her at alll - Stefan

Young people love to immerse themselves in eras they have not been able to witness ever since the golden age of Tumblr, through fictionalised elaborations of items such as vinyls and polaroids, or the revival of past trends such as high-waisted trousers, low-waisted jeans, cottage-core and indie-sleaze aesthetics. Once upon a time, the driving force behind coolness used to be novelty, whereas today the true standard-bearers of fashion and the arts are those who dredge up what has already been. This nostalgia factor, already being eyed by scriptwriters and designers with films and collections that almost perfectly mirror the same images and narratives, between remakes of The Little Mermaid and 80s power suits, is definitely bulletproof, although according to the data it doesn't seem to stick as much as true vintage, and the reason is simple: the real deal is always better. Similarly, what has driven millions of people to bask in the beauty of men now in their eighties - De Niro will be 80 in August, Pacino just turned 83 - who even in the days of Taxi Driver and Scarface were considered unconventionally beautiful, is the pure and inimitable sense of comfort they arouse, even in those who only got to know them in 2023.