The Universal Truth Known to Both Star Wars Fans and Shia LaBeouf

By  · Published on November 17th, 2015

There’s magic in the shared experience. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether said experience is good or bad.

This is evident this week in two situations. The first being that of Star Wars fans, many of whom are revisiting all 6 of the previous films. This has led to a slew of “The Prequels Weren’t That Bad” postings on reputable websites and all over Twitter. We’re not here to talk about whether or not the Star Wars prequels are better than you remember. We’ve already answered that definitively. What is more interesting is that sitting down and watching them, though they are quite bad, can be an enjoyable experience. Especially when said experience can be shared with your friends.

Shia LaBeouf figured this out over 3 days last week, when his #ALLMYMOVIES performance art installation meets self-torture stunt played out in the Angelika Film Center in New York City. For 72 hours, LaBeouf invited people to sit alongside him and watch every movie he’s ever made in reverse-chronological order. In his first interview following the big event, LaBeouf expressed an overwhelming sense of joy in the connection he felt with the other people in the theater.

He explained how he felt the greatest sense of community while smiling his way through the Even Stevens Movie, “It wasn’t just me smiling like that,. If you look at the freeze frames, everyone is smiling like, wow, I remember Beans. I remember that stupid-ass song. We were all looking at our yearbooks together and we’re all in the yearbook.”

Even when things on-screen didn’t go well – like when the marathon made it to the Transformers films – that sense of community remained, in the moment, like a warm blanket. “When the movies started getting sh– and they knew that I felt it too,” explained LaBeouf. “It was the shared secret that we all had… not just because I’m in it… I’m in the same boat as you, I’m a viewer in this and this is hard for me to watch too,” he said. “In fact, I’m gonna go take a nap cause I hate myself, not cause I’m tired, but because I’m dying right now. And nobody had a problem with that.”

Sometimes we suffer together. Sometimes we laugh together. Sometimes we gather around the old flat screen and rewatch three terrible Star Wars movies so that we can make fun of midichlorians and trade negotiations. What matters is that we are doing it together. This is the universal truth of movie fandom. It’s better when we do it together, even when it’s really bad.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)