Favorite FIlms

My Favorite Movies of All Time (Top 21 List) by Louis Holstein


As a lover of film, therefore I often get asked what my favorite movie is. I answer with a monologue about how I can’t possible have one “favorite movie” as there are so many that have immense importance to me. This response leads to the follow-up question, “Oh, so what are you favorite movies?” The question is not met with another monologue, just silence. I know I have a list, I just need to organize it. Hence, the inspiration behind this post.

I wanted to have a top ten (influenced by AFI’s Top 10) but quickly realized I would be unable to a, keep the list at 10 films, and b, have a favorite film in each genre that AFI highlights. (Sorry, you will find no Westerns, Courtroom Dramas, Gangster, or Mystery films in my list). I went through the movies I own, and years of Oscar nominations to narrow down my favorite movies of all time: my top 21 list. I didn’t set out to name my favorite 21 films, but as the list was complied it just stop in completion. 21 is the number. In no particular order, here we go.

  1. The Dark Knight (2008) 94% (8 noms, 2 wins)

  2. The Social Network (2010) 96% (8 noms, 3 wins)

  3. An Education (2009) 95% (3 noms, 0 wins)

  4. Beauty and the Beast (1991) 94% (6 noms, 2 wins)

  5. About Time (2013) 68% (0 noms, 0 wins)

  6. Gigi (1958)* 78% (9 noms, 9 wins)

  7. West Side Story (1961)* 94% (11 noms, 10 wins)

  8. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf (1966) 95% (13 noms, 5 wins)

  9. Short Term 12 (2013) 98% (0 noms, 0 wins)

  10. Eighth Grade (2018) 99% (0 noms, 0 wins)

  11. Jaws (1975) 97% (4 noms, 3 wins)

  12. Psycho (1960) 97% (0 noms, 0 wins)

  13. Finding Nemo (2003) 99% (4 noms, 1 win)

  14. Arrival (2016) 94% (8 noms, 1 win)

  15. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)* 91% (10 noms, 8 wins)

  16. Jurassic Park (1993) 91% (3 noms, 3 wins)

  17. Australia (2008) 58% (0 noms, 0 wins)

  18. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) 76% (2 noms, 0 wins)

  19. Pride and Prejudice (2005) 86% (4 noms, 0 wins)

  20. The Wife (2018) 85% (1 nom, 1 win)

  21. Doubt (2008) 80% (4 noms, 0 wins)


  • % Percentages- From Rotten Tomatoes,

  • Noms- Nominations (From the Academy Awards)

  • * Best Picture Winner

    That’s an average percentage of 89% Rotten Tomatoes score, and a combined

    48 Academy Award wins and 98 nominations.

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Honorable Mentions:

  • Roma (2018)

  • The Lion King (1991)

  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

  • Pocahontas (1995)

  • Cloverfield (2008)

  • Room (2015)

  • The Shape of Water (2017)

  • Coco (2017)

  • The Intouchables (2012)

  • Inception (2010)

  • Spider-Man (2002)

  • The Prestige (2006)

  • Annie Hall (1977)

  • The Florida Project (2017)

Perhaps over time these films will slip into my top 21; or maybe the list will be extended to 25 or 30 films! Who knows for sure, right now my top 21 is near perfection for me. I encourage you to list your favorite films. I surprisingly learned a lot about myself by doing this. It’s worth the time.

- Louis

Death. Life. Were You There? by Louis Holstein





The balance of death and life, will always be one of great exploration for me as a human, as an artist, and as a follower of Christ. We serve a God who choose death, to give us life, and the human world has never been the same. I heard the hymn, “Where You There” on Good Friday this past year and immediately fell in love. Little did I know that it was most likely written by African American slaves in the 19th century. This gives the song so much more weight to my heart than was already there. So, was I there when they crucified my Lord? Perhaps not, but my sin was and that makes it all the same. I was there, and this fact makes me tremble.

Eighth Grade (Review) by Louis Holstein


I could probably count on two hands the number of films that have had a significant impact on me. These films leave me pondering for days after the initial watch. Eighth Grade is one of those films. Bo Burnham's work here is raw, emotional, genuine and entirely relatable that I was speechless by the end of the journey. I intentionally use the word "journey" because watching Eighth Grade truly felt like one. Each scene was delicately crafted vignettes of Middle School life in 2018. Burnham permitted enough comedic moments to remind us of the simplicity that is adolescence, whether we felt it at that age or not, but also did not hold back on the cold realities of adolescence as well. Active shooter drills, premarital sex, social media addiction, and sexual harassment all find themselves as a piece of the story in the main character, Kaya's, eighth-grade life.

The film quickly sent me back to my years as an insecure middle schooler. Although it was hard to relate with Kayla on many things (an introverted female with no mother, who is a middle schooler in 2018), there are certain qualities of adolence and middle school years that everyone can relate to. The fear of high school or the nervousness of making friends was all too accurately portrayed. Elsie Fisher brings a superb awareness and emotional depth to her performance as Kayla. There were moments that felt so real, I had to remind myself this was a scripted film. That's good acting.

I work with many Generation Z students and teens, and this is the most accurate portrayal of that generation I have ever seen. The emotional escapism that plagues Generation Z as they hide behind their screens was so poignant and nuanced, yet not preachy in any sense. While many teen angst/coming of age stories rely heavily on contrived plots and stereotyped characters, Burnham breaks through with an authenticity that is rarely seen. Burnham says, “I wanted to capture what they (Eighth graders) were. Hopefully, maybe, they would like it. That’s my problem with stuff about teens, it’s clearly made for teens, which is not the same as making something truthful necessarily.”

I have to say, my expectations for this film were relatively high as it holds a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been a critical darling riding into awards season. Not to mention my adoration for the production house A24 that picked it up at Sundance this year. So I was pleasantly surprised as my expectations were met (a rarity for me during awards season). Eighth Grade is now at Redbox and is certainly worth your time, it slipped quickly to the top of my "Best Films of 2018" list.