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The Shortlist for Feb. 20

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James Franco pens op-ed on Shia LaBeouf's behaviorBetween his plagiarism, that bag he put over his head at a premiere and the #IAMSORRY live art exhibit, Shia LaBeouf is giving Joaquin Phoenix's "I'm Still Here" stunt a run for its money with his recent behavior -- and so far, there's been no sign of a mockumentary in the works. But LaBeouf's out there ideas did catch the attention of James Franco, who, being James Franco, took a stab at analyzing the younger actor's issues from an almost literary perspective in the New York Times. LaBeouf's behavior, Franco writes in a piece titled "Why Actors Act Out," "could be a sign of many things, from a nervous breakdown to mere youthful recklessness." Franco adds that he hopes "it is nothing serious," but rather that LaBeouf's "actions are intended as a piece of performance art, one in which a young man in a very public profession tries to reclaim his public persona."Franco goes on to suggest that all artists experience a schism between their inner and outer selves, positing that since "film actors typically experience fame in greater measures," their "personas can feel at the mercy of forces far beyond our control." He cites Marlon Brando as an early example of someone whose fame caused a breakdown in what was perceived as normal behavior."Our rebellion against the hand that feeds us can instigate a frenzy of commentary that sets in motion a feedback loop: acting out, followed by negative publicity, followed by acting out in response to that publicity, followed by more publicity, and so on," he adds."Participating in this call and response is a kind of critique, a way to show up the media by allowing their oversize responses to essentially trivial actions to reveal the emptiness of their raison d'être," Franco writes. "Believe me, this game of peek-a-boo can be very addictive."
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