By Sean Gardner
Weird, wacky, oddly entertaining and often misunderstood Shia LeBeouf is one of my favorite actors. He’s been getting a lot of hate the last few years because of his lifestyle and career choices. Oddly promiscuous music videos, strange indie films, hitchhiking, paper bag performance art, and nights in jail are just the tip of the iceberg for this former child star. While I do not agree with some of his off screen choices, I applaud him for most of his performances, especially within the last 5 years.
As a kid, I did not watch Even Stevens and was late to the party when it came to Holes, so Shia LeBeouf, to me, will always be Sam Whitwicky from Transformers. I love the first Transformers more than anyone should. At the time of the films release, Sam and I were the same age, so oddly enough I could relate to him and identify with him. Most of that was due to LeBeouf’s performance. Say what you will about the movie, but LeBeouf played his part well. I was introduced to this quirky dude at a time in my life when I was just beginning to develop my love for movies.
Forgetting about the Transformers sequels, LeBeouf has shifted gears from dorky teenager to serious dramatist. Films like Charlie Countryman show that he has the chops to rise in the ranks as one of the best actors working today. If anyone doubts his acting ability, watch David Ayer’s Fury. The movie overall was just ok, but, while surrounded by people like Brad Pitt and John Bernthal, I dare you to find a better performance in that movie than Shia LeBeouf. He even held his own acting beside Oscar nominee Tom Hardy in Lawless.
But I don’t like him just because I think he’s a good actor. I like him because he is doing things that he loves and that he would want to watch. Much like indie legend Kevin Smith, (more on him in a future post) LeBeouf has become completely selfish in his career choices, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing because he is trying out weird and new ways of performing. This allows him to broaden his acting ability. He is decreasing his chances of being type casted. Look, no disrespect to the great Tommy Lee Jones, but we all know he can play an angry law enforcer from west Texas because he’s done it 1,000 times (The Fugitive, US Marshals, No Country for Old Men, etc.). Shia LeBeouf is doing so many different types of projects, that it is hard to pin him down to one thing.
He has had his ups and downs off screen, but because he is such an eclectic fellow I can’t help but like Shia LeBeouf.