As requested by listeners, below is a transcript of Matty's rant explaining his pick of "Elephant" as the decade's top film.
In the wake of a tragedy, what we do as a society in order to cope, along the lines of what you were talking about earlier, Adam, we try to craft our own narrative, as quickly as possible. We try to ascribe our own mythology, our own heroes, and our own villains. We want black and white; we don't want to live in the gray. We are grasping for any, any sensational nugget that is going to facilitate that.
These two kids are the bad guys and they are the bad guys not only because they are bad, they're the losers, they've got terrible parents.... they're part of the trench-coat mafia. They listen to Marilyn Manson; he told them to do it. It turns out none of that was true, but by the time a more accurate accounting of what actually might have occurred comes out, the cameras, the 24-hour news cycle, all that's moved on and we, as a society, have moved on and we have already written in stone what happened. That was more than ten years ago, and I think now, it's more dangerous than ever.
We live in an age of pervasive information. We're seemingly connected to every single square inch on this planet. Something happens somewhere and bam, within two minutes, we've got thousands of sources telling us what happened, and in ten minutes, we've already created our own narrative. We've already compartmentalized the winners and the losers and made every judgment about what could have happened. And then, if we want further validation about what we think, we're going to seek out those sources that tell us what we want to hear. I'm going to listen to Glenn Beck because he's going to tell me what I want to hear; he's just going to validate my world view. I'm going to listen to MSNBC. I'm going to read Daily Kos -- because they're going to tell me what I want to hear. [That's not critical thinking.] That's turning your mind into a series of Wikipedia of truths.
And so, when I watch something like Elephant, and oddly enough, in that glow that Gus Van Sant so starkly and poetically presents, the notion of truth through art has never, ever run so true, and I'm reminded of why I love film. Here's the answer maybe to what Sam was posing earlier: Because it is my oasis, and it's not because it's mindless escapism -- I think it's the exact opposite -- because a great film is going to make me ask the questions that reality seems far too intent on shielding me from through the opiate of convenience.