Let’s pretend for a minute that you are famous. Like really famous. But you weren’t always. One day someone who is even more famous than you could ever imagine decides to pluck you up and make you into one of the biggest young stars in Hollywood. You star in a franchise based on a toy, you star in an oddly-decent ripoff of a Hitchcock film, and you costar in the rebootquel of one of the most iconic adventure films of all time, in the span of six years. All of these films are massively successful, and you are in position to command a salary upwards of 10 million for anything you want to do next. What would you do next? If it were me, I would probably use my fame to follow the blueprint of George Clooney or Matt Damon. They’ve both mastered the art of “two for them, one for me.” If I was this famous this quickly, I’d like to think I’d be aware of the fact that it can go just as quickly as it came, so I better make a lot of people happy. Unfortunately, I’m not famous, I never was and I never will be, but in the case of Shia LeBeouf, he is famous and he’s about two more missteps from being a nobody just like me. Lets see how it all came to bear.
Biting The Hand
Steven Spielberg is solely responsible for Shia even being something we know beyond the kid from Even Stevens. He picked him for Disturbia, Transformers, AND Indiana Jones misguided sequel. He saw that Tom Hanks-ian everyman quality in him. Having seen those three films and leaving my opinion aside, he did have traces of that quality. They all did well, but critically, they left plenty to be desired. However Shia was at the beginning of his film career, so who cares what people think, as long as they buy it. That is a crass opinion to have, but you have to equate his start like any other job. He started at the bottom of a very successful company, so he wasn’t going to be in charge of creative decisions as much. Like all of us late 20’s early 30’s types, we’re now getting to the position where we can choose our careers more by what we want, and less. Shia, finally in the position to pick roles a bit more discerningly (see: Lawless), decided to lambast pretty much everything he did up to that point. He criticized Spielberg’s choices in Indiana Jones (the guy who made him who he is), he criticized Transformers 2 in all facets, and criticized Oliver Stone for making a toothless sequel to Wall Street (a movie that everyone knew was a bad idea). Hollywood is built, from what I’ve come to understand, on relationships (and cocaine), so burning bridges? Never a good move.
In his never-ending quest to seem like the coolest most indie guy at the party that doesn’t exist, Shia, lately branching out into directing, wrote and directed a short film that premiered online and was ripped for being a blatant plagiarization of a Daniel Clowes short story. How he never once took any opportunity to cite Daniel Clowes’ work as inspiration isn’t even what I have a problem with. It’s the fact that he felt the need to make the short film in the first place. That’s like me sitting down to read Fight Club, and being “inspired” to film “Rumble Crew” with Skyler Jurgen as the lead character. Its not creative if you just take something and slap a new name on it. SO if it’s not creative, why are you bothering? And if you still happen to bother, how could you be so bold as to assume no one would know that original work exists? And if people found out you stole the idea whole hog, why would you plagiarize your apology? Everyone makes mistakes, but he did the equivalent of stepping on the bottom of a rake, having it hit him square in the face, and stepping right back on that rake four more times.
I work in a school, so I’ve seen some of the best and the brightest get taken down via sexting and dick pics (it’s a really gross fad). One thing I try to convey to my students is that whatever you do via social media will exist forever. No one has told Shi-dog that yet apparently. Through all of his troubles over the last month, nothing has been more damning than his own social media presence. He’s been a total douche about the whole plagiarism dealio, he made sure he told everyone on twitter he’s “retiring” from all public life (whatever that means), he’s angrily snapped at Jim Carrey over a joke made at the Golden Globes, and he’s continued to use his twitter to say he isn’t famous anymore. Oh and he also hinted that all of this shit has been one big performance piece similar to what Joaquin Phoenix did some years back. Dude. Shia. Shi-town. Shi-city. Everything you tweet now gets picked up by some news outlet, so stop tweeting and deleting.
Solutions for Shia
If Shia came to me for celebrity image rehab, he’d have to spend no more than six months at my outpatient clinic. There I would have him do the following:
- Delete his twitter: If you retire from public life, but continue to tweet, you didn’t retire. You just said you would so people would pay attention to you
- Call Spielberg and apologize: The guy made you and can easily understand you are a kid with more money and attention than you can probably handle, so he’ll be forgiving. Don’t bother with Oliver Stone. The guy doesn’t really have a substantive film left in him.
- Don’t do any interviews. If you’ve ever read an interview of him, it comes off as painfully obvious that he’s trying so hard to craft an image as a bad boy, which when you consider he’s only been successful in movies for teens, that doesn’t really work. By not interviewing, he’ll free himself up to actually write something that is wholly original. I will assume that might take him twice as long, but whatever he’s got time.
People are going to burn this guy alive for the next few weeks, until Miley does something we really don’t like, so if he was smart he’d actually go away for a minute. The great thing about Hollywood, however, is that it’s a pretty forgiving place. Hell, you can be Woody Allen, a known creepazoid and still be beloved by women everywhere! So please Shia, listen to my advice. Or don’t. I don’t care anyway (see now I’m cool like Shia too. I don’t even care about what I write).