By Dejarelle Gaines
On the intersection of Mercer Street and West Houston Street, the Angelika Film Center hosted a congregation of eager New Yorkers all eagerly forming a line to enter the venue last Thursday. Despite it being past midnight and the rain pounding outside, those in line passed the time playing “Heads Up!” or “ninja” while waiting to gain entrance to see him. Within the walls of the theater, a cloaked figure lay in the back of the room of theater two, snoring through the metallic and otherworldly sounds of alien robots known as Transformers crashing and colliding on the screen. A marathon of films starring Shia LaBeouf, and there he lay, Shia LaBeouf, sound asleep on the floor.
The actor known for his eccentric antics and odd performance pieces holed up in the Angelika Film Center to host a movie marathon starring none other than, himself. The three-day festival showed his films in reverse chronological order, kicking off with the post-apocalyptic war thriller “Man Down” on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at noon, and ending late on Thursday, Nov. 12 with the Hayao Miyazaki film “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.”
LaBeouf tried to keep a stoic demeanor, but after sitting through “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” it was plain to tell by the expressions on his face, which you could follow for the entire duration of the marathon as it live-streamed on newhive.com, that even he couldn’t stand to sit through that movie. By the end of the film he had made camp in the back of the theater, hiding deep within his white-hooded sweatshirt and using his army-green parka with fur lining as a pillow. He retreated to the same spot when the second film in the Transformers franchise, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” began to play about two hours later.
There was a sense of camaraderie among the members of the audience. While, each of them kept a close eye on the actor shifting their gaze between the screen and the actor who sat amongst them, there was also a nonverbal bond that was forged. At one point during the transition period between films, an audience member who had brought an oversized bag of Starbursts offered to share his candy with the rest of the moviegoers. After doling out the candy to those who asked, he walked over to the seat where LaBeouf- who had stepped out to use the restroom and grab refreshments-was sitting, leaving a pink starburst on his seat then retreating to his place.
Reporters all around have jumped at the chance to call LaBeouf pretentious because of his latest art piece #allmymovies, but it is in a way quite brilliant what he is doing. What he is doing is studying. As an actor, it is his job to entertain the public in whatever role he is cast. What better way to become the best actor that you can be by watching your past work, studying what you did right versus wrong, and take what you have learned to improve your talent? This is not simply a trivial stunt geared towards patting his ego, instead, this is a learning experience catered especially for LaBeouf, by LaBeouf.
It is quite easy to jump to critique the actions of the famous, but there comes a time when one has to give credit where credit is due. LaBeouf may not be the most… normal celebrity out there, but it is clear that the man is making strides as the artist/actor that he is. And while his art project served as a teachable moment for himself, it also worked to bring together his fandom, all for the love of Shia LaBeouf.
Dejarelle Gaines is a Staff Writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org