My 10 Hours Spent Watching Shia LaBeouf Watch Shia LaBeouf
Oh Shia LaBeouf, the walking enigma. Ever since LaBeouf was caught plagiarizing, it seems that he has gone off the deep end. From announcing his retirement from acting (yet continuing to act), to his weird art shows, the 29-year-old actor has radically changed his image into an apparent high art intellectual. Whether you think of him as a genius or a joke doesn't matter because he'll just keep doing what he's doing and I think there's something respectable about that. In my opinion, I think he's somewhere in between being a genius and a joke. But onto the experience!
I was at work on Tuesday when I got a message from my friend that LaBeouf was in the midst of a three day movie marathon of his entire filmography in reverse chronological order at the Angelika Film Center here in New York. I responded with all caps, WE'RE GOING. At 4pm, my shift was over and I headed to the theater. I met my friend outside the theater at 5pm and we got in line and the waiting began. As of writing this, the line has exploded out the door and people are waiting 8-12 hours to get into the theater. Luckily for my friend and I, we had little to no line and waited no more than an hour until we were seated in the same row of the theater as LaBeouf.
The first movie I saw was Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac Volume 1. Now, I am one of the biggest critics of Lars Von Trier and I do not like this film, but I have to say how utterly surreal it was to watch Shia LaBeouf watch Shia LeBeouf have sex on screen. It was like something you'd hear your friend talk about some sort of dream or nightmare they had. But this was real life! At the end of the film, LaBeouf bolted from his seat and out the door, a trend that would continue throughout the night. My friend said the novelty had worn off and he headed home. So there I was, in a theater of strangers and Shia LaBeouf getting ready to watch Charlie Countryman.
Charlie Countryman and The Company You Keep were next up after Nymphomaniac. At one point during the night, an audience member who I can only assume was incredibly drunk (must have snuck in a flask or something) knocked into the camera as he hobbled out of the theater. The livestream was supposedly affected by this as I was messaged that the livestream went down around this time. At one point in the night I maneuvered myself until I was 2 seats away from LaBeouf.
As the night went on, a peculiar thing was happening: in the beginning of the evening, the audience (myself included) would focus on the screen and watch the film with LaBeouf, only occasionally looking over at him. But as the night dragged on, our collective focus shifted ot the actor. There was really no reason for this, and I don't quite know how to explain it, but it was just a natural progression of our focus.
Lawless was shown after The Company You Keep, and if you've seen that film (or Charlie Countryman for that matter), you know that LaBeouf gets his ass kicked a lot. Again it was an incredibly strange moment watching someone watching themselves get the shit kicked out of them on screen. There were also the scenes in both Lawless and The Company You Keep where Shia's character would be flirting with a girl. His characters share a similarity in this regard as they are incredibly cocky and overconfident and yet very charming. During these scenes, Shia had a somewhat sly smile on his face.
But my favorite part of the night and the moment I will cherish for the rest of my life came towards the end of my stay. If you know me, you know I am an avid defender of the Transformers films and to a greater extent director Michael Bay. So there I am, watching Transformers: Dark of the Moon with its main star and it was incredible. But as we all know, the Transformers franchise is kind of ridiculous — it's part of its charm in my opinion. So there's a scene in Dark of the Moon in which Buzz Aldrin appears. Yes, BUZZ ALDRIN, not an actor portraying him. They actually got Buzz Aldrin to appear in this film. This is a dude who has actually been on the moon and he's reduced to talking to the Autobots, thanking THEM for all they've done and their achievements. It's an insane scene that I cannot help but laugh at. So there I am cracking up at Transformers and Shia LaBeouf looks over at me and starts laughing too. We reveled in the fantastic absurdity of the film.
At one point in the night, some fellow patrons asked how long I was gonna stay as I had become somewhat of a staple in the theater. There were a handful of others that had been there for a great length as well. I told them I'd stay as long as my mind would let me. I jokingly insulted Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, saying that I'd sleep through that shit film because money may never sleep, but I do. As I said this, LaBeouf returned to his seat. I just shit talked one of his films and he didn't care in the slightest, or at least that's how it appeared.
This was first and foremost a movie marathon. LaBeouf never spoke, there was really no talking in the theater — it was a very chill and peaceful atmosphere. LaBeouf would watch his films with great intent, sometimes leaning forward in his seat, getting closer to the screen. At one point in the night, he went to sleep. He legitimately got out of his seat and laid down in the back of theater and went to sleep. It was great.
After ten hours, I left the theater around 3:30am as I felt as if I had gotten my fill. It was a wonderful experience, though, and one I will probably never forget. You can tune into the live stream right here until #allmymovies is over, which should be around 9pm on Thursday night.