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Short Film: Shia LaBeouf Grounds Cinema Escapism with ‘HowardCantour.com’

Howard Cantour

Why Watch? Melancholic in its splendor, this short film from Shia LaBeouf provides the snapshot of a conflicted online film critic who has the difficult, yet potentially unnecessary task of panning his hero’s latest movie. Howard Cantour (Jim Gaffigan) is all of those cliches we’ve come to expect, but he’s also an exposed nerve, simmering with personal loss and free press junket cookies.

HowardCantour.com is percolating with energy that’s anchored by a conflicting ball of low self-esteem. Gaffigan is so good here that you’ll wonder why he hasn’t had a Carrey-esque leap as a dramatic leading man yet, but the writing also pulls serious weight to creating a confused rebel who dreams in technicolor even as he sits alone at a diner. Howard is more than the usual schlubby, easily-swayed critical figure — he’s the warm narcissistic center of an epic tale where pressing a single keyboard button can appear to be a life-altering event.

Shot and scored to reflect the largeness inside his mind, the short comports itself with the same kind of self-seriousness that Howard does.

What Will It Cost? About 12 minutes.

Editor’s Note: This video has been taken down. LaBeouf lifted the story from a Daniel Clowes comic, and had this to say: “I’m embarrassed that I failed to credit Daniel Clowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which serve as my inspiration. I was truly moved by his piece of work and I knew that it would make a poignant and relevant short. I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it. I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded and want Daniel Clowes to know that I have great respect for his work.”

You’ll notice he says nothing about standard compensation for using Clowes’ work. Time will tell how that shakes out. As such, we’re replacing the video for now with this:

A New Short Film Every Weekday

Source: Short of the Week

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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