A breakdown of Brad Pitt’s return to full hotness in ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’

We’ve seen some hard times with Brad Pitt.

2002 was a pretty much a wash with that Lynyrd Skynyrd beard. The infamous Billy Idol bleached ‘do. Ouch. His recent movie roles in “War Machine” and “The Big Short”? Noble parts, but lacking maximum Pitt.

Those days are over with Pitt’s glorious appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.”.

His portrayal of out-of-work stuntman Cliff Booth completes a supremely satisfying return to the kind of hotness quotient the star proffered via hat tip in “Legends of the Fall.”.

Let’s break this down, shall we?

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Brad Pitt has that head of hair all men wish for

Who blessed this man with hair this lustrous and thick at age 55? In the film, Pitt’s Cliff rocks a caramel, shaggy mane that looks ready to careen straight into the ’70s. And still, the star is not above a joke at his own expense. In his fight scene with Bruce Lee (played by Mike Moh), a tuxedoe’d Pitt cheekily removes his oh-so-Hollywood hairpiece before duking it out with the martial arts master.

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He unveils that epic six-pack

Theater audiences have been applauding (and swooning) during the delicious and drawn-out scene where Pitt’s Cliff takes his shirt off (naturally) to fix a TV antenna on buddy Rick Dalton’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) roof. The six-pack revelation is stellar, and entirely reminiscent of the first time a shirtless Pitt stole our hearts as the kindest, hunkiest convenience store robber opposite Geena Davis nearly three decades ago in “Thelma & Louise.”.

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Pitt doesn’t submit to such beefcake moments often, preferring to hide behind annoying shirts or highlighting less-than-savory moments (like his bloody “Fight Club” battle). He hasn’t lost an ab to time and this indulgent footage should just about get us through the next 30 years.

Those dog moments are so precious

Watching Cliff doggedly have Rick’s back is heaven. But the scenes with his adorable pit bull Brandy are simply too much to bear: Cliff’s moments of reflection pondering which flavor of canned dog food to feed his pooch, the stern warning over Brandy’s pre-bowl manners. And just when you’re hitting cuteness overload, you learn Pitt sent a heart-melting photo to dog actor Sayuri’s owners, featuring the star frolicking with the pup.

He rocks a bronze California tan

Yes, this one is self-explanatory. But Pitt’s golden tan is so healthful (assuming it’s a spray-on; it’s 2019 and we know better now), so sun-kissed, so absolutely Southern California. We vote yes.

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His effortless style makes a statement

If you’re going to fight Bruce Lee in a fantasy sequence, it might as well be in a dapper tuxedo. But low-key stuntman Cliff is really about the unbuttoned yellow Hawaiian shirts and his stuntman-association belt buckle. Don’t try this at home, people, but Pitt pulls off the middle-age underachiever look perfectly.

Brad’s sexy swagger is back

Listen, rare is any movie that detracts from Pitt’s innate physicality. The man knows how to exit a car, walk down the street, swig from a bottle of beer, punch a guy out and roar off in a retro ride. Even in real life, Pitt seems to have gotten his swagger back since his split from Angelina Jolie, showing up at the Hollywood premiere in a relaxed suit, winking at the camera and having fun with fans. And his year will include many more red carpets: This fall, he stars as an astronaut in the sci-fi epic “Ad Astra” (in theaters Sept. 20).

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