Shia LaBeouf has had one of the most checkered careers in Hollywood history. The promising child actor won audiences over with his precocious performances in Holes and Disturbia, which led to his starring role in the mega-blockbuster, Transformers.
Since then, LaBeouf has been branded as Hollywood’s problem child following one controversy after another. However, LaBeouf has also done some of his finest work in the past few years, returning to the raw honesty of indie filmmaking that put him on the map. With his semi-autobiographical film Honey Boy due this Friday, here’s a look at Shia LaBeouf’s 10 Best Movies (According to Rotten Tomatoes).
10 A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints (76%)
In Dito Montiel’s riveting semi-autobiography, LaBeouf plays the younger version of the filmmaker as he comes of age in New York during the 1980s.
Robert Downey Jr. plays the adult version of Dito, but it’s LaBeouf’s work as a troubled young man wading through the peril of drugs and crime that stands out. When Dito is able to avoid the misfortunes of his close friends, he attributes his survival to all the saints who have touched his life for the better.
9 Nymphomaniac Volume I (76%)
LaBeouf seemed to have found his perfect match in controversial Danish auteur Lars von Trier when the two collaborated in the two-part erotic thriller, Nymphomaniac. Yet for whatever reason, Volume I is rated 16% higher than Volume II.
The film revolves around the depraved exploits of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-proclaimed female nympho. Joe is taken in by a man named Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who learns all about Joe’s sordid sexual past after finding her injured in an alley. LaBeouf plays Jerome, one of Joe’s closest friends with benefits.
8 Fury (76%)
Noted for its intense hyper-violent action sequences, David Ayer’s WWII drama Fury may have the same RT rating as the previous two LaBeouf films, but it’s earned far more critical votes.
The film centers on the ruthless tank commander, Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), and his ragtag crew of soldiers in 1945 Germany. LaBeouf plays the complex Boyd “Bible” Swan, a sharp-shooting gunner who helps Collier toughen up novice soldier Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman). For his performance, LaBeouf reportedly pulled out his own tooth and gave himself a facial scar. Fury indeed!
7 Holes (77%)
One of LaBeouf’s earliest films still ranks as one of his most beloved. Of course, what else would you expect from a Disney film?
In Holes, LaBeouf earned his first major starring role as Stanley, a misunderstood young boy who is mistakenly accused of a crime he did not commit. As punishment, Stanley is sent to the desert to partake in a detention sentence that consists of digging holes throughout the area. When Stanley learns the wicked warden is searching for a mysterious item, he works overtime to discover what it is.
6 Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (78%)
In what is likely his biggest movie role to date, LaBeouf nearly got to don the whip and fedora as Indiana Jones’ right-hand man.
In the long-awaited sequel, LaBeouf plays the crucial role of Mutt Williams, a young man who ties his fortunes to Indiana Jones after delivering him an encoded message. When the message calls for the search of a skull made from a sole piece of quartz crystal, Mutt and Indiana set out on a harrowing adventure that leads to the discovery of extraterrestrial life. The initial idea was to have LaBeouf take the franchise reins from Harrison Ford, but those plans have since been scrapped.
5 Surf’s Up (79%)
LaBeouf doesn’t often lend his voice to animated features, but he sure made waves the one time he did.
Indeed, LaBeouf voiced the character of Cody Maverick in the 2007 animated film Surf’s Up, as well as the video game released the same year. Made during the height of penguin popularity, the film follows an annual surfing competition among island-dwelling penguins. Maverick is the newest competitor in Pen Gu Island determined to defeat the brash reigning champ, Tank Evans (Deidrich Bader). With the help of new pal Big Z (Jeff Bridges), Maverick finally triumphs.
4 American Honey (80%)
Andrea Arnold’s blistering 2016 road film American Honey earned plaudits for its breakout star, Sasha Lane, but it’s LaBeouf’s performance that really makes the movie stick.
Lane plays Star, a wayward teenager caught in a head-spinning spiral of debauchery as she travels cross-country with a car full of friends. One such friend is Jake (LaBeouf), a hard-partying outcast who offers Star a job selling magazines across the nation. Star agrees, setting off a wild saga that includes a strange love triangle between her, Jake, and the group leader, Krystal (Riley Keough).
3 Borg Vs. McEnroe (84%)
LaBeouf isn’t often afforded the chance to play real-life characters, but in one of the few times he did, critics liked what they saw.
In Borg vs. McEnroe, LaBeouf plays the hot-tempered and foul-mouthed John McEnroe during the intense rivalry between him and Swedish tennis champ, Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason). The compelling period sports drama recreates the 1980 Wimbledon competition, in which Borg seeks his fifth straight win. With the record books on the line, John McEnroe looks to end Borg’s long-held reign as the number one ranked tennis pro in the world.
2 The Peanut Butter Falcon (95%)
Released just over two months ago, The Peanut Butter Falcon has skyrocketed to the top of LaBeouf’s filmography, according to RT.
The honest and heartfelt film follows Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down Syndrome who wants nothing more than to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. LaBeouf plays Tyler, Zak’s unlikely best-friend and true companion who helps him realize his dream no matter the obstacles. Along the way, Zak also helps Tyler learn vital life lessons about himself.
1 Honey Boy (97%)
What do you know, LaBeouf’s only writing credit is also his highest-rated feature to date. Producers, take note.
In the semi-autobiographical film Honey Boy, LaBeouf explores his own tumultuous childhood as a young actor wading through the perils of Hollywood. The story follows Otis Lort (Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges), a child actor who struggles to navigate the cutthroat business as he comes of age. LaBeouf works through his own father’s absence by playing Otis’ dad James, who the boy desperately wants to reconcile with.