Getting to Know Shia LaBeouf

I don't get it, do you?

By , Contributor

I arrogantly like to consider myself somewhat of a Hollywood expert, but sometimes I’m just stumped by certain movie phenomena. Here’s one that I can’t even begin to answer. Why is Shia LaBeouf a movie star? I just don’t get it. He just got paid fifteen million dollars to star in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Couldn’t they have gotten a homeless guy to play that part? Isn’t it really all about the evil cars that turn into evil robots? Do women find him attractive? I suppose he’s better looking than me, but doesn’t he sort of look like a weaselly troll?

Exactly what do big name directors see in this guy that makes them want to cast him? Steven Spielberg actually saw him as the next generation’s Indiana Jones and he slept with the incredibly hot Megan Fox. Is being in a movie so sexy that any hunchback with a face shot can get laid once they’ve starred in a movie or two? I just don’t see myself ever extolling the grandeur that was Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and Shia LaBeouf.

When I find myself in an area of ignorance about the world, I’ll stop at nothing to gain answers, which is why I decided to roam all the way over to Shia’s Internet Movie Database profile to learn exactly what it is that I’ve been missing. (Yes, if I were still in school all of my term papers would have been copied directly from Wikipedia.)

Shia was born on June 11, 1986 as Shia Saide LaBeouf. Wow, what a name. It’s like someone got too many vowels in Scrabble and got desperate. Maybe all you really need in Hollywood is a name that nobody has ever heard before.

According to the trivia section, Shia celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah. Well, who given the opportunity wouldn’t? That’s a lot of presents. He was apparently a precocious child star, which is really a good enough reason to hate him as any.

“Favorite movies are Dumb & Dumber (1994) and Saving Silverman (2001).” This seems to show a less than impressive grasp of cinema history. I’d have thought that with a pretentious name like Shia LaBeouf that he’d be sending people to Jean Luc Goddard movies. You just don’t see a lot of guys on Inside the Actor’s Studio discussing the finer points of a great Jason Biggs performance.

“As a child, he and his parents would dress up like clowns and sell hot dogs in the park across the street from their apartment…His French-Cajun father, Jeffrey LaBeouf, was a clown from San Francisco who spent time in France studying commedia dell'arte. His mother, Shayna, was a former ballet dancer from New York who once studied with Martha Graham. She also once ran a head shop across the street from Tompkins Square Park.”

Aha I knew drugs were involved somewhere. I wonder if his mother even realized that her husband was a clown or if she was always so stoned that she never noticed. His dad apparently had a heroin problem, which causes my mind to fill up with scary images of John Wayne Gacy clowns shooting up in a ghetto alley.

Shia is apparently quite eloquent because there are a lot of quotes attributed to him.

“Sometimes I feel I'm living a meaningless life and I get frightened.” That’s understandable. I feel the same way every time I hear about Shia LaBeouf getting it on with Megan Fox.

“[on Megan Fox] She is a very attractive girl. Very attractive. And she's a very close friend. But it hasn't been a romantic thing, because you're trying to respect the work environment. You don't push anything. And with sex and romance, things can become so convoluted so fast.” Well, so much for that impressive work ethic. Really, though, how good do you have to be to star in a Transformers movie? I’d probably blow off my artistic integrity to get down with Megan Fox too.

“Actors live dependent on being validated by other people's opinions. I don't understand what it is I do that people want. I don't know what an actor does. I have no credentials. I don't know what I'm doing. To my mind, talent doesn't really exist. Talent is like a card player's luck. It is motivation, ambition, and luck. It's just a drive to be the best. I think acting is a con game.” Can’t disagree with that one bit, has there ever been a greater work of art than The Emperor’s New Clothes?

So, here we are at the end of Shia’s profile and I’m still every bit as confused by his popularity as I am why anyone would grow such wimpy facial hair. The question of why Shia LaBeouf has such a better life than me remains unanswered.

Be here next week when I ponder the career of Colin Farrell.

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Brad Laidman has been a freelance writer since 2000. His work has appeared in Film Threat, Perfect Sound Forever, and Rock and Rap Confidential. His defense of The Kinks' Dave Davies so moved the legendary guitarist that Davies labeled Brad his hero and he has the email to prove it.

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