I Bought A Ticket To The Shia LaBeouf Apology Tour

I Bought A Ticket To The Shia LaBeouf Apology Tour

01 Dec 2019 (PT)

Apology tours, like failed marriages and addiction issues, are a common trope in the world of celebrity. Actors often behave badly in view of the world, perhaps fueled by alcohol or narcotics or unresolved personal issues, and they must atone for their sins in a similar manner. Maybe it’s a tweet, maybe it’s an album, maybe it’s a sit-down interview on prime-time television. The method and medium changes, but the result is the same: Our perverse appetite for watching these god-like creatures’ lives implode is temporarily sated. If the regret is tangible enough, if the confession soul-bearingly adequate to meet industry standards – judged on an undefined sliding scale the Twitter masses collectively agree to – then maybe that movie star or TV personality can carry on with their life without the threat of incessant trolling or a Hollywood blacklisting.

All this to say, I’ve seen my fair share of apology tours while covering this industry and I’ve almost never been impressed by them until I saw Shia LaBeouf’s.

I’m penning this in the first person - something I rarely do because hey, who wants to take ownership of their strange, internal ramblings, especially on the internet? – with the understanding that LaBeouf is a divisive, controversial figure. His arrest record mirrors, in length, his number of IMDb credits. He’s made headlines for urinating in public, chasing a man with a knife, harassing a homeless guy in New York City, and aggressively berating his ex-wife Mia Goth. And those may be the tamer of his many offenses.

In July 2017, while LaBeouf was in Georgia filming The Peanut Butter Falcon, he got into an argument with an officer, an ercation captured on police bodycams that showed the actor delivering increasingly erratic, often racist rants against his arresting officers. It was that incident, which ended with the actor attending a court-ordered rehab and therapy program, that may have turned things around.

I say “may,” because this isn’t the first time that LaBeouf has grappled with his professional and public personas.

Nearly every arrest has been followed by some kind of performance art or art installation, that’s forced its creator to reckon with and confront his misdeeds in raw, bizarre ways. He’s worn paper bags labeled “I’m Not Famous Anymore” to mask his face at film premieres, he’s hosted a strange form of social media penance with his #IAmSorry project, an Internet stunt that saw him confined to a chair with the same paper bag over his head, forced to silently sit through strangers asking him questions, reading vicious tweets, and inflicting physical violence on him. LaBeouf said that one woman who participated in the installation tried to rape him during her one-on-one time before security intervened.

Were these contrived acts of public humiliation and torture just for show, a last-ditch attempt to garner the thing a struggling former child actor wants most: attention? Was it proof of rumored mental heh issues, just another in a series of inexplicable behaviors labeled by less-than-generous critics as examples of “Shia-insanity?”

For a long time following the blockbuster success of films like Transformers and his Indiana Jones installment, when Shia had made the leap from a funny kid with a mop of curls who excelled at physical humor to a trimmed, approachably-handsome action hero, he seemed to struggle with fame and the consequence of it. Had he developed a masochistic love for that struggle, was that why he continuously acted out, aired his dirty laundry of drunken nights at Cabaret and Chicago Walgreens on late-night talk shows, joking with hosts Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman like they were old pals recounting their embarrassing college screw-ups?

Weekend of September 18 - 20, 2020 (IMDb)
My Brothers' Crossing
My Brothers' Crossing
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Net: $0.2M Grs: $4.0M
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Net: $0.2M Grs: $1.4M
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Net: $0.1M Grs: $0.9M
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Weeks: 4
I Bought A Ticket To The Shia LaBeouf Apology Tour
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