When Ella Taylor asked me to rename my top five films of all time, I tattled off the obvious titles. She then asked, "Any since the last 17 years?"
"In my top five?" I asked incredulously.
"Well, okay, top 10," she relented.
"Well, let me think about that."
And upon later reflection, I realized there was one movie released in the last 17 years that I love so much that, yes indeed, it could find its way onto that tough 10 list that constitutes the history of cinema.
That film would be the late Kinji Fukasaku's Japanese masterpiece, Battle Royale.
But upon singling out Battle Royale for all-time honor, I decided to list my top 20 films that came out in the last 17 years, 1992 to 2009. The only limitation I put on the films was they had to be able to withstand many viewings. So some great movies, like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto, didn't make it because I've only seen them once, and once was enough. Except for Battle Royale at the top spot, the others are listed alphabetically:
Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku)
Anything Else (Woody Allen)
Audition (Takashi Miike)
The Blade (Tsui Hark)
Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater)
Dogville (Lars von Trier)
Fight Club (David Fincher)
Friday (F. Gary Gray)
The Host (Joon-ho Bong)
The Insider (Michael Mann)
Joint Security Area (Chan-wook Park)
Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola)
The Matrix (Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski)
Memories of Murder (Joon-ho Bong)
Police Story III (Supercop) (Stanley Tong)
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright)
Speed (Jan de Bont)
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Team America: World Police (Trey Parker)
Unbreakable (M. Night Shyamalan)
After I created this list for L.A. Weekly, I included it in my intro to a Sky Movies TV program in the U.K.: