I think it’s no surprise to my readers that I am not a fan of the Transformers film franchise. At all. It has turned me totally against Michael Bay. And the saddest thing is that the first movie didn’t really bother me … that was back when Bay had only done mindless action films with some semblance of dignity. Having his hero stare blankly as a hot girl bends over to fix his car was certainly pushing it for me, but it was still within the “I don’t feel disgusting watching this” level. But when you hit the 2nd and 3rd films, they really do bring you to the place where you hate the entire entertainment industry and the majority of the theater going public for leading to these crappy, offensive films happening.
There are a lot of aspects to those latter films that make my stomach turn, but Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky is easily the worst. He spends the entire 2nd movie saying he doesn’t want to be a hero and he doesn’t want to be a part of the fight. In the third movie, Sam spends the entire story whining that he isn’t being treated like a hero and forces himself into the action despite being told constantly that it isn’t his war. No matter what opposite opinion he has, Sam is infuriating. He’s also incredibly cruel to his robot protector Bumblebee – first he yells at Bumblebee for following him to college, then in the third movie he practically slaps Bumblebee in the face for not being with him and instead protecting the human race. It’s this terrible pseudo-abusive relationship and this is our hero for this franchise? No thanks.
Considering my distaste for his recent work, my eyebrow was raised when I heard he was doing some sort of comic book series. His books are sort of sophomoric sketches and really makes me think LeBeouf is trying to will himself into being Kurt Vonnegut and missing the target, but he seems to be very hands-on with the project by promoting the books himself. He even worked a booth at the comic section of C2E2 and a friend of mine at the con said meeting him was actually very positive.
After learning more about his other ventures, I started thinking about my feelings about him as an actor compared to my feelings about his most well-known character. The truth is that many of his other characters aren’t nearly as infuriatingly acted as Witwicky … anyone remember him in Holes? He was actually good! And more than that, I’ve accepted that you can be OK with a person even if he portrayed awful, rage-worthy character. Unless an actor treats people like crap in real life, I shouldn’t fully hate someone just because of a bad role. I might hate Sam Witwicky, but as of April 2012, I have nothing against LeBeouf … even if I end up calling him LeBeef a little too often.
When it comes to it, I’m not going to buy LeBeouf’s book because they are rough around the edges and there are many better artists whose art books I would rather buy first (just off the top of my head, Sam Brown of Exploding Dog does fantastic mixes of art and short prose while Kate Beaton’s very distinct art style has charmed me for years). However, LeBeouf is an easy target when he tries a project like this, and I just can’t bring myself to mock LeBeouf for doing something different. I will, however, mock his terrible choices in movie roles. It is my way.