Okay, so...Shia LaBeouf makes a short film that gets called out for plagiarizing a Daniel Clowes comic. He repeatedly apologizes, but using the distinctly worded apologies of other people for other things. He apologizes again in skywriting, puts a paper bag over his head, and finally makes himself a living art exhibit, in what our regular commenter nix.nightbird rightly points out is also a rip-off of a previous, similar exhibit.
So what the hell is the point of all this? If I'm right - and I don't know if I am - it should have been obvious all along.
Look who directed Shia's latest movie. You realize it's Lars von Trier, right?
What does Lars like to do, when he's not stupidly comparing himself to a Nazi? It's easy to forget given the relative slickness of Antichrist and Melancholia, but he was one of the founders of the Dogme movement, which advocate a purity and truthfulness in cinema, banning the use of props, costumes, special effects and music added in post-production. The idea was to make an honest film, something inherently unachievable, and as much of a gimmick as the gimmicks it eschewed.
But what would the exact, polar opposite of Dogme be?
Everything a gimmick. Nothing honest. Nothing true to yourself or the story whatsoever. Could you do all that and still make it a true story, in some weird way?
Seems to me that may be exactly what Shia's doing.
Exhibit B: in addition to Dogme, von Trier also made a movie called The Five Obstructions, a film in which he challenges his filmmaker friend to remake a movie five times with different challenges set by von Trier; one of them is to reshoot the film in "the worst place in the world," for real. The movie inspired Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro to talk about doing their own version; now, imagine a young artist eager to prove his worth after being dismissed as a popcorn guy. Might he, inspired by such a movie, ask for some "obstructions" of his own?
The last of the five obstructions was for von Trier's friend Jorgen Leth to put his name on a short film that had actually already been made by von Trier, and take credit for it. Does that sound familiar in this context?
I think Lars von Trier is behind this, and Shia himself is the piece of art being exhibited. I could be wrong, but it is a theory that fits the facts better than any other I can see. This is all too calculated to be a breakdown.
If you don't like this theory, I'd love to hear yours.