Editorial: Art VS Autobots - In Defense Of Shia LaBeouf

Think about this for just a second. Shia LaBeouf has been a star of some caliber since he was twelve years old. That's what I said. Twelve years old. A child. A preteen that was handed the keys to the golden kingdom. Is he a broken man or a talented painter that's creating his own beautiful canvas of great, non-conforming movie roles? I vote for the latter. 

With the release of Holes he graduated from being a support player in lower budget films to costarring in larger movies with wider audiences. He played a support role in I, Robot, the original Constantine, and even starred as a young Robert Downey, Jr. in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. Eventually, he would go on to lead the thriller Disturbia and one of the largest franchises to ever hit the cinemas, Transformers. After three large scale battles with the Decepticons, Shia's Sam Witwicky was retired from the franchise as the actor burnt out on special effects laden blockbusters. His choice. No one else's. Live with it.  

In the years following the Michael Bay robot on robot planetary destruction action vehicles, Shia became a little eccentric, going on to do some strange things in public that made his audience abandon him, some becoming downright nasty and skeptical of his well being. Did he deserve some scrutiny? Yes. Absolutely. But, think about this for a second. This person went from nothing, became a successful child actor and then transitioned to the world where he was the center of attention in several highly advertised movies which changed him from being just an everyday Joe to being one of the biggest movie stars around for nearly a decade. His face and likeness were everywhere. Have we ever thought what that might do to someone's persona? Has the public ever thought for a single second that maybe the consistency of the glaring spotlight might alter someone's perception of reality and make them act out or do strange things? No. Instead, the media and the public eye cast doubt on him as a person, instead of thinking for one minute that he might be troubled or might just need some space. 

Fuck your swinging monkeys. I've got better things to do. 

Even more disturbing to me is the shameful disregard for this man's artistry. Instead of looking at what he's done since his departure from the Transformer's series, people have failed to pay attention to his actual artistry. The work he's done on crafting a resume loaded with low budget indie films should be respected. Despite his eccentricities and the public eye consistently tearing him down, Shia continues to make headway by crafting a nearly genius lineup of roles that most actors would never even have touched. Starring in such arthouse gems as Charlie Countryman, Nymphomaniac 1 and 2, and 2016's phenomenal American Honey, LaBeouf is doing exactly what he wants. He's making statements with the movies he makes and he's anchoring himself as a political presence in our current climate of fact denial.

As we're casting stones at an actor that should be revered, remember one thing. Although he hasn't made a major box office release in nearly 8 years, he still maintains a net worth well over twenty five million dollars. Imagine that for a single second. Put yourself in his shoes: You quit your boring day job. You get to make the movies you want to make when you want to make them? And you still get to be a multi-millionaire that's making creative moves in a system that highlights shit movies like Transformers and the ilk that follows. 

We should respect art. And we should respect people's choices as creative wrecking balls. The man never really lost it. He just decided to alter his path. And lastly, did you ever think he's just playing us?

Shia, I've got your back. Just do it. Do what you want because you can.