(CNN) -- Shia LaBeouf can sum up his turbulent year in two words: "existential crisis."
That's how the 28-year-old actor, who'll next star alongside Brad Pitt in October 17's "Fury," described his recent behavior on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show Friday.
DeGeneres, always the gracious host, kindly asked LaBeouf to explain just what's been going on with him since the start of 2014. He's gone from skywriting an apology for plagiarism to wearing a bag over his head to being arrested for an outburst during a Broadway production.
"I went through like an existential crisis, which turned into an exploration, really," LaBeouf told DeGeneres. "I had some hiccups, some judgment error."
So when he hosted a performance art installation called "#IAmSorry" earlier this year, the actor said that was a genuine attempt to apologize to the public.
"There was a lot of negativity online, so I thought, alright, let's see what this negativity is about. Let's invite it in," LaBeouf said.
"I was really, truly apologetic ... I was sort of apologizing to the public in a way. I thought for sure people were going to come in there and be super mean, but it wasn't that way at all. It was very human. Once they got in there everything changed, they stopped looking at me like an object they started looking at me like a human. They were very loving."
That loving experience didn't automatically put LaBeouf back on the right path. In June, he was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and criminal trespass after being accused of drunken and disruptive behavior in a Broadway venue. (The charges were later settled with the agreement being that LaBeouf would continue seeking treatment for alcohol addiction.)
The time he spent in jail for that incident was enough to get him to rethink his actions. It wasn't the first time he'd been in lockup, but it was "the worst time," probably because he did spit on a cop, as he told DeGeneres.
"Jail is quite scary. I was there for what felt like forever -- 24 hours or 25 hours. ... It was really rough," he said.
Not to mention the actor also got a good earful from his mother, whom he's very close to. When he's not behaving as well as he could, he'll get a phone call in which he'll bluntly be told, "Stop f*****g around."
May be brusque, but it works: "Now I'm on the right path," LaBeouf said.