Brow Beat

Watching Shia LaBeouf Watch His Movies Is Better Than Watching Shia LaBeouf’s Movies

At least there are snacks.

GIF by Sam Reichman/Slate.

For the next three days, 24 hours a day, Shia LaBeouf will watch his movies at the Angelika Film Center in New York. All of them. He will watch Holes. He will watch Disturbia. He will watch Nymphomaniac: Vol. I AND Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2. He will watch Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

And you can watch Shia watch his movies. New Hive is hosting a live stream of the event (#ALLMYMOVIES), with a camera fixed on his face. In the early minutes of the feed, Shia, bearded and determined, seems to be enjoying his self-imposed tenure at one of the city’s most beloved movie theaters. The event is free and open to the public, and LaBeouf has already attracted a few groupies.

The feed will inevitably be dismissed as adolescent performance art, and perhaps also a publicity stunt. (The first movie LaBeouf watched was Man Down, directed by his longtime collaborator Dito Montiel, which is currently unreleased.) But there’s an uncanny and kind of magical quality to watching Shia watch Shia. Really!  

The actor, 29, is at a familiar crossroads: The baby face and rockin’ curls from his Disney days led to a legitimate adult career, both commercial and critical, before a recent glut of little-seen projects and public bad behavior and substance abuse at Broadway theaters. Unlike, say, some of the more vulgar recent stunts by his contemporaries, LaBeouf’s latest exploit feels like an inspired bit of self-indulgence: a winking nudge at the eye-rolling chorus he inspires online and a clever act of self-examination. In the way some of us are terrified to revisit our online pasts, LaBeouf is revisiting his real collected works for all to see. (If Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a painful memory for you, imagine how it feels for him.) It’s hard to picture many other young actors making themselves so weirdly vulnerable in such a public venue, especially at a moment of career uncertainty.

Or, you know, maybe he’s just a narcissistic child with a pathological need to be validated. Either way, I suspect anyone who visits all or part of the impromptu LaBeoufest will be surprised by the ambition of his 15 years on screen, Wall Street and Transformers sequels aside. With each greedy scoop of popcorn and misty-eyed, longing stare at the screen, LaBeouf has earned my amused attention for the next few days, and maybe he’s worth a tiny bit of yours.

The live feed has been buggy since its second hour live, but you can get a feel for how it’s going in the video below: