What do Lenny Kravitz have in common on stage at the Festivalbar, Leonardo DiCaprio in the elegant rooms of the Titanic, George Clooney in the corridors of the Country General Hospital, Brad Pitt riding in the prairies in Wind of passions and Will Smith fighting the alien invasion in Independence Day? And I could go on to cite other examples (spoiler: it happens shortly) of men who, in the 90s, made almost anyone sigh in love, with their appearing on large or small screens. So much so that I would bet on the fact that some teenager (who was) still today remembers the joy of being stuck in the room the poster of River Phoenix found in the That is. But, perhaps, the same cannot be said for that of Keanu Reeves: because there, looking after it with care, Mom took care of it …
Of immortal beauty like the bloodsucker he plays in 1994 (in Interview with the vampire by Neil Jordan), Brad Pitt is certainly the sex symbol of every decade, but, if possible, even more so than the glorious 90s. Born in 1964, William Bradley Pitt appears on the screens in 1991 in Thelma & Louise, where (s) plays the role of the young cowboy with flowing hair and an irresistible smile. A mix that, three years later, re-proposes in that Tristan Ludlow’s Wind of passions, the film that brings the female audience (but what do I say, the whole of humanity) to crown him king of all the bonazzi in existence. Could it be the long blond hair? Although it has a certain charm, the change of look that is inaugurated since 1995 with Seven is the proof that the hair does not make Brad. Neither did his success as an actor, considered the Golden Globe that he won as Best Supporting Actor for his role in theArmy of the 12 monkeys of 1995, and that makes everyone say one thing: that Brad Pitt is as handsome as he is good. See also the cultissimo Fight Club…
What would have been Beverly Hills 90210 without the beautiful and damned Dylan McKay? The problematic young man played by Luke Perry, or the actor who made the high forehead and small eyes irresistible, as well as the typically 90s tuft combined with Ray-Ban glasses. Born in 1966 in Ohio and, alas, died in 2019 following the complications of a heart attack, Coy Luther Perry III becomes a teen idol right from 1990, when the first season of the successful TV series is broadcast and his face becomes that of Dylan Leggenda narrates that, in August 1991, Luke had to escape from an autograph session after only ninety seconds spent in the Fashion Mall of Plantation, Florida. Behind the escape, no Hollywood star attitude, but only a great danger: that of being attacked by a platoon of ten thousand teenagers in love.
Before Grey’s Anatomy made Seattle Grace Hospital become the hospital with the highest rate of “doctor boils”, already in 1994 ER – Doctors on the front line he put the Country General Hospital in the running as first aid where he hoped to happen. In fact, Doug Ross worked there, the sexy doctor played by the then thirty-three-year-old George Clooney, who made the blue (or green) coat combined with the grizzled hair the first cause of domestic accidents. But in addition to being the best anesthetic around, in the 90s Clooney also has the great power to succeed in the most difficult task of all: that of bringing generations of mothers and daughters together. That gives ER forward, they find themselves burying the hatchet just to enjoy a nice evening in front of any movie in which he is there. Even if it’s a little splatter, like that From dusk to dawn of 1996; and even if it’s all punches, kicks and bad guys, like that Batman & Robin of ’97 (which Dad likes so much).
It is 1997 when Titanic by James Cameron was released in theaters, conquering critics and audiences, and winning eleven Oscars the following year. The film is beautiful, no doubt about it, but if you had ever asked any little girl of the late 90s what it was that made it such a masterpiece, she would have cared about the Oscars and would have answered: “Leonardo DiCaprio!” . And certainly not for the acting skills that, at the age of seventeen, make him get a part alongside Robert De Niro in Want to start over, of 1993; or the first Golden Globe nomination and then an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Happy birthday, Mr. Grape, of the following year. No, for that little girl, “her” Leo would have been only and uniquely the handsome young man with an angelic face who, by a stroke of luck, ends up on the Titanic and lives an intense (albeit short) love affair with Rose (Kate Winslet), eventually saving her from certain death by frostbite. Which leads Jack to embody the romantic ideal of prince charming who, for his beloved, would do anything. While DiCaprio, from her side, becomes the actor who can make her fall in love with her all the first time and, from that moment on, never let her pass her anymore.
If it is not for the role played, then the look and the attitude are put into it, to make the actor handsome and damned. This is the case with Johnny Depp, who when he gets hit with Edward scissor hands in 1990, she is twenty-seven, with the shadowy gaze and manner of someone who, unlike Leo, would gladly let you freeze to death (otherwise). But maybe I’m getting too carried away by Tim Burton’s gothic mood (which I also write Depp for Ed Wood of 1994), while I should focus on the love story that, between 1989 and 1993, made Winona Ryder the most envied woman in the world, precisely because she was engaged to one of the major sex symbols in Hollywood. Yet, that Johnny Depp is plagued by certain inner demons is there for all to see (and beyond the roles he chooses). Suffice it to say that, in those years, it is he who admits to giving in to self-harm, between alcohol and drugs that he shares with another handsome and cursed of that time: his friend and colleague, River Phoenix.
Enfant prodigy of Hollywood, River Jude Bottom saw his surname change to Phoenix only in 1979, when his parents chose to symbolize the beginning of a new life with the reference to the phoenix. Like the mythological animal, in fact, River’s family wants to rise from the ashes that have seen her take part in a sect where, it seems, River is still abused as a child. Then the detachment from the sect takes place, and the subsequent economic hardships see him playing first around Florida, then in Los Angeles. There, with his brothers, he participates in castings, finally being noticed by the director Penny Marshall, who wrote him in 1982 for the TV series Seven brides for seven brothers. At nineteen he is already nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Live on the run (1988), and in 1991 he won the Coppa Volpi for Beautiful and damned, where he acts with Keanu Reeves (see below), with whom he is deeply connected. At that point River Phoenix is already considered a sex symbol, but he keeps himself away from photographers as much as possible, because he supports that Native American belief that every shot steals a bit of his soul. However, it is precisely since ’91 that addiction to substances such as cocaine, heroin, alcohol (and more) puts him in a spiral from which he will never come out, except with death, which takes place during the Halloween evening of 1993 in front of him. (among others) to brother Joaquin and sister Rain, whose help will be, alas, useless.
Representation of the tamarro that you like, Lenny Kravitz in the 90s has all agreed. So much so that even those who have never liked piercings and earrings (let alone flared pants paired with white tank tops) recognize that Lenny Kravitz, born in 1964, on the stage of the Festivalbar 1998 is a great sight; and who cares about the playback. So much so, that he is also good at singing has been known since he launched Let the Love Rule, the 1989 debut album; it was then confirmed with the next Mama Said, which also ends up in the Top 40 of best-selling records; and it is finally taken for granted on the notes of Are You Gonna Go My Way 1993. And while he writes songs for Aerosmith and plays with Slash (or for Mick Jagger and David Bowie), even winning some awards here and there, Lenny is also consecrated a sexy icon; all without even going out of the way. Or, rather, he passes through it, but only when he marries Lisa Bonet in 1987, only to divorce in 1991. Thus comes the relationships with Madonna and Vanessa Paradis, which will be followed (in the 2000s) by the one with Adriana Lima and, later, with Nicole Kidman; women as beautiful as they are different from each other (just look at them), proof of what was said at the beginning. And that is that Lenny Kravitz, between a solo and the other, has always put them all in agreement.
Actor, rapper, producer, savior of the world against the alien threat, sex symbol: it certainly cannot be said that Will Smith (born Willard Carroll Smith II) is not a multifaceted artist. Still known today as Fresh Prince, Will found success at the age of twenty-two playing, between 1990 and 1996, that famous Prince of Bel-Air which gives its name to the series of the same name. In 1995, however, the colorful outfits and the attitude of a sympathetic troublemaker gave way first to the bulletproof vest of Bad Boys (directed by Michael Bay), then to the elegant black dress, the hallmark of the Men in Black. But no role is as sexy as the one from 1996 in Independence Day. There Will plays the role of Steven Hiller, the captain of the American Navy who, after various vicissitudes, saves the world from the invasion of extraterrestrials. It may be the black tank top (Lenny Kravitz teaches) or the tough attitude (but not too hard), but Will is truly remarkable. So much so that the viewer hopes that this is only the first of a long series of threats from space …
In 2019 Keanu Reeves was defined by Time as “the latest introvert in Hollywood”. On closer inspection, this could already be seen in the 90s, that is when the then 27 year old Keanu Charles Reeves, while dedicating himself to the role of action hero first with Point Break (in 1991) and then with Speed (three years later), outside the big screen he doesn’t do any stunts to put himself in the limelight. Yet when he plays the unscrupulous attorney Kevin Lomax inThe Devil’s Advocate 1997, it happens that everyone would like to go to court. And in 1999 we want to find ourselves in front of Orpheus who asks us if we want the blue or red pill, in order to fight with that Neo with the long leather coat in Matrix. Because after all, whatever role he plays and whatever red carpet furrows, everyone would like to know what’s going on in Keanu’s head; everyone would like to be able to read beyond his gaze. But he, dear friends and dear friends, is the classic that displays and does not respond. And this thing, since world and world, has always been a guarantee of success.
And while in Hollywood someone knocks on the gates of hell, someone else is already preparing their place in heaven. Who else but the current Minister of the Baptist Church, as well as a very young ex-sex symbol, Kirk Cameron? Born in 1970, when Kirk Thomas Cameron achieves success, his face is associated with that of Mike Seaver, one of the three brothers of the family protagonist of the successful sit-com Parents in blue jeans (who also launched DiCaprio: a case ?!). Between 1985 and 1992, Kirk becomes the idol of young girls, who by now lose count of how many times they have seen him on the covers of the That is or on the posters that frame his big blue eyes and that boyish air all home and church. Which, to be honest, Kirk really is: already at the age of seventeen, in fact, he decides to convert to Protestant Christianity, starting to put his beak among the insiders of Parents in blue jeans, and asking to remove what he considered too inconvenient. Then other roles, mostly television, with which he can’t get rid of the part of Mike Seaver. But so much so that you do with your acting career and the aftermath of your role as a sex symbol when you feel you have to answer who, for you, has had a bigger design?