Oh, now I get it
Half a lifetime ago, when I was 17 and not yet "out of the closet", I started watching a lot of old films from the 1950s. I often find it difficult to connect with "the here and now" and as a teenager, I felt completely culturally isolated by 1980s culture (though I can appreciate it more now, from a distance). The 1950s seemed like a more interesting, romantic place, like another planet (I also read a lot of futuristic science fiction, which was equally an attempt to "escape" the present.)
Anyway, I was rather taken with James Dean, who, with his big dirty blonde quiff, babyish eyes and high cheekbones looked boyishly cute. I had a big quiff too, and when I smiled I would unconsciously make my top lip go thin, just like JD. I knew that there was "something up" in Rebel Without A Cause, but didn't know exactly what it was (it was Sal Mineo and a big gay subtext you dummy!)
Around the same time I also saw Streetcar Named Desire and the Wild Ones with Marlon Brando. But I didn't get him at all. His scowling enormous moon face did nothing for me.
But I've watched a few Brando films again recently, and have to admit that I now see what the point of it all was. James Dean on the other hand, meh! You can have him.