David Sterritt

Select another critic »
For 1,984 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Sterritt's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 The School of Rock
Lowest review score: 0 Barb Wire
Score distribution:
1984 movie reviews
    • 89 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    As before, the movie is more impressive for its finely detailed vision of Los Angeles as a futuristic slum than for its story, acting, or message. It's all downhill after the first few eye-dazzling minutes. [2 Oct 1992]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 75 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Was this spiritless stuff really directed by Paul and Chris Weitz of "American Pie" fame? How the rebels have mellowed!
    • 74 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Perhaps they truly believe war is an inescapable aspect of human life. If so, why make movies that rub our faces in its horror? If artists have no antidote to war's evil or insight into the suffering it brings, their motive in depicting it must be merely to sensationalize its terrors and make money from the morbid fascination it holds for audiences. We deserve better.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    A second-rate adaptation of the second-rate Choderlos de Laclos novel: two hours of pretty people sitting in pretty rooms and talking about sex. [23 Dec 1988, A& L, p.19]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 72 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The film is a disappointment, and at more than two hours' running time, a very long disappointment.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    I found much of it as emotionally rigged as a crooked horse race.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The movie is designed to show off Liotta's acting skills, but pointless mayhem and sheer nastiness crowd out any virtues it might have had.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The basic plot of Thomas Hardy's great novel "Jude the Obscure" comes through accurately enough, but its sublime irony and sardonic wit apparently got lost in the misty English countryside.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    The Witches of Eastwick, based on John Updike's novel, takes just about every wrong turn it can find. Perhaps this was predictable, with a wild-driving director like George Miller at the wheel. What's surprising is how many opportunities for vulgarity and stupidity the film invents for itself, even beyond the book's built-in temptations to excess. [12 June 1987, p.21]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 67 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Some scenes paint a convincing portrait of Stern as a witty opponent of stuffiness, prudery, and hypocrisy. Others mix gross-out humor with nasty doses of racism, sexism, and homophobia that reveal a dark side to Stern's professional personality.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Rarely have Gibson's tears seemed more fictional than in this supposedly authentic account of a historical event that's far too tragic to merit such superficial treatment.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Crass and soulless.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Almost entirely devoted to combat violence and sentimental interludes.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Amiably bland actors can be fun to watch, as Tom Hanks has proved. Freeman is no Hanks, though, and The Hitchhiker's Guide won't boost anyone's career into hyperspace. Or give your mind a workout.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Imagine a movie where every character is more self-centered than Ted Baxter in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" of old, add a caboodle of idiotic jokes, and you have some idea of this ugly, unfunny farce.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Goldmember comes after years of escalating vulgarity have thrown the need for caution -- and cleverness -- out of fashion.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Norton's high-energy acting is the only element that saves the picture from being a total loss.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The concept of dueling negotiators has strong dramatic potential, but Gray seems more interested in gimmicks and gunshots than in the psychological face-off between sharp-witted foes.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    I hate to sound per-Snickety, but this lemon of a movie is a sadly unfortunate event.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    The Abyss' isn't abysmal, but it's a replay of hits we've already seen - a recycled "close encounters of the wet kind'' with far too few ideas of its own. [18 Aug 1989, Arts, p.10]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 61 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Amanda Plummer is even more weirded-out than usual as a serial killer wandering through England with her sadly befuddled girlfriend. [10 May 1996, p.13]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 61 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Larry and Andy Wachowski directed this lurid, sexually explicit thriller.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    South Korean melodrama uses a unique location, dominated by fishermen's floating huts, as the background for an overheated story that grows steadily more grotesque and unpleasant as it proceeds.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Creepy.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    I doubt if the results would have satisfied Kahlo, whose originality in matters of life, art, and ideas was vastly more far-reaching.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Eventually you realize the whole movie has been about young showoffs who think it's uproarious to gross out neighborhood grownups.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Ron Shelton's romantic comedy has no more visual excitement than a televised golf tournament, but the climax is truly surprising, and there's solid acting by Don Johnson and Cheech Marin.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    The main performances are generally weak, although the smaller ones are sometimes brilliant, and the yarn never builds much momentum as it leapfrogs from one subplot to another. [28 Dec 1990, Arts, p.14]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 60 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    What really hurts is the movie's shallow screenwriting, self-indulgent acting, and woozy camerawork.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    In all, it's “Diner,'' female style. Directed by Donald Petrie from a blatantly manipulative screenplay that took four people to cook up. [24 Oct 1988]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 59 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    It's encouraging to see Hollywood tackle themes of faith and religion, but here, too, Shyamalan is timid, reducing them to fuzzy New Age clichés. Add wooden acting, stilted dialogue, and a faux-arty style, and you have a thudding disappointment.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    This movie has promising ingredients. But you'll leave wanting much, much more.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The gimmick behind the screenplay is clever, but the filmmakers don't rise to the challenge they've set themselves, merely spinning two unimaginative stories for the price of one.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The film is as tricky and superficial as its low-life characters, using visual flimflam to mask its lack of substance.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Luc Besson's screenplay is dumb, but has just enough weird touches to give occasional glimmers of interest.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Like the nuclear sub it's named after, the picture is big, shiny, and expensive. It's also cold, hard, and cumbersome, and lacking the barest hint of emotional or psychological depth. [9 Mar 1990, Arts, p.10]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 58 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Can a mild-mannered toxicologist and an eccentric Alcatraz veteran stop him before it's too late? Learning the answer means sitting through more than two hours of violence, vulgarity, and all-around excess, served up with high-tech trimmings by director Michael Bay.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Shots of blood and naked bodies clash bizarrely with Coppola's more quaint and engaging notions; the result may be intended as a dialectical encounter, but seems more like a head-on collision.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The animation is deft but the screenplay is stilted, the voice-performances are unimaginative, and the whole project is surprisingly clumsy in its efforts to please young and old alike. A major disappointment.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    In short, this isn't a poignant drama about courage and imagination -- it's a contrived fantasy about courage and imagination.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Davis contributes his usual dignity -- not easy when you're playing a character who thinks he's John F. Kennedy dyed black -- but it's not enough to save this silly thriller-comedy.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The picture is effectively made, but viewers will want to erase the horrific violence that erupts in scene after scene, leading to an unusually mean-spirited finale.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The acting ranges from adequate (Jared Leto, R. Lee Ermey) to awful (Lindsay Crouse and everyone else).
    • 55 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    As he showed in the recent "Catch Me if You Can," also a Hanks vehicle, Spielberg has little talent for emotional realism, not to mention psychological suspense. He should scurry back to "Jurassic Park" as soon as the next flight leaves.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    John Hughes pours his usual slickness and sentimentality all over everything. [27 Feb 1987]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 55 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The movie is a mish-mash of action-adventure clich├ęs, book-ended with lame attempts at psychological interest. Written, directed, and acted with ham-fisted heaviness.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    A romantic comedy-drama has to make sense, though, and Love Actually doesn't, actually.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Stiller strives to be a wild and wacky villain, Vaughn endeavors to be a likable and average hero, and both fall flat on their faces, like everything else in this unspeakably stupid comedy.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    It has a degree of sociological interest, but it would be more effective if the material were shaped into a more coherent form.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The picture goes for sentimentality rather than substance every chance it gets, and the cast falls right into its syrupy trap.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The rest of Franco Zeffirelli's latest Shakespearean outing is so eager to be cinematic, with its peripatetic camera and souped-up screenplay, that it forgets to make sense.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Add a megadose of bombastic James Horner music and a perfunctory love-affair subplot and you have a movie that's its own worst enemy.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Action freaks may enjoy the chasing and chomping, but there's no hint of human interest or moviemaking imagination.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    The message of the film is that life isn't neat and predictable like a well-arranged business trip; yet everything in the picture is so calculated that there's no life to it. [23 Dec 1988, A& L, p.19]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 52 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The filmmakers seem well in control of their chaotic material, but what can be said when the movie features wall-to-wall teenage alcohol abuse.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    A total lack of chemistry between the stars -- neither of whom is particularly good at romantic comedy in the first place -- and you have a promising package that grows steadily less lovable as it goes along. Down with this movie!
    • 52 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The problem with Possession isn't that it's filmed in a lackluster way, but that it shouldn't have been filmed at all. Byatt's novel is an adventure in language, telling its story through a kaleidoscopic array of Victorian-style poetry and prose, alongside gripping accounts of the characters' activities and escapades.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Nicolas Cage, Ving Rhames, and Steve Buscemi are among the few performers who emerge with a shred of dignity at the end.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    This is a great subject for a movie, but Hollywood has squandered the opportunity, using it as a prop for warmed-over melodrama and the kind of choreographed mayhem that director John Woo has built his career on.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    For a movie about people with hugely complicated inner lives, this sadly unconvincing drama stays resolutely on the surface, rarely hinting at anything like an insight or idea.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Labors mightily to be a frolicsome entertainment, but the results are - well, labored. The dialogue isn't snappy, the story isn't surprising, there's little chemistry between the stars.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Een fans of Jay and Silent Bob may find the story too slender and the jokes too repetitive to be much fun.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The story is mildly entertaining in its hackneyed way, but there's no excusing the picture's exploitative treatment of almost all the female characters.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The plot is a shameless plea for vigilante violence, and the dignity of the black hero is outweighed by the ethnically marked evil of his Hispanic antagonist. Beneath its crisp veneer, much of the movie is a high-energy hymn to hate.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The consequences aren't remotely as comic as they're meant to be.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Most of the characters are one-dimensional, and Avary's over-the-top directing doesn't make them interesting for more than a few isolated moments.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    This noisy, disorganized story is riddled with clichés, stereotypes, and self-indulgence from beginning to end.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Alas, the movie is less clever than its characters.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Sadly it's been botched. Guess Who serves up such flat dialogue and stilted situations that it's hard to sit through.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Moves at a lumbering pace, peppered with ungainly gags and dramatic moments with little emotional power. The ironic commentary on show-biz superficiality is sabotaged by Niccol's failure to make his own story seem real.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Talking dogs were cute, once. It's a tad disconcerting, however, when a canine starts lip syncing to the voice of Carl Reiner so it can complain about flatulence.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Barry Levinson's filmmaking style is often imaginative. The story contains horrific scenes of sexual torture as well as sadistic killings and other disturbing material, though.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    In short, this movie is exactly the kind of starry-eyed escapist fantasy that Dr. Powell suspects Prot of having. It's harmless enough, since we can be cured just by leaving the theater.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    If a mildly magical story is what you're after, it'll be worth the price of admission. Otherwise save your milk money for something more substantial.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    What's the point of the picture, except to allow Kutcher fans occasional peeks at acting talent he usually keeps hidden?
    • 48 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    It's hard to enjoy this when you're barraged by bathroom humor, animal stunts, and gags about a character whose memory loss is so bad he's called Ten-Second Tom.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The nasty, sometimes violent story was written by Christian Forte, a newcomer who is clearly under Quentin Tarantino's unpleasant spell, and directed by Kevin Spacey, an unusually gifted actor who doesn't yet show any special talent for filmmaking.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The result is a quickly paced, slickly filmed entertainment that's also as crude and rude as the PG-13 rating will allow. It's mighty mean-spirited too, aiming "satirical jibes" at everyone from black illiterates to white rednecks, from breakers of the law to enforcers of the law, from society's elites to society's dregs.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Khouri's new picture takes all this talent and turns it into the kind of manipulative mush that Hollywood used to market under the condescending label "woman's picture" years ago.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 38 David Sterritt
    The combination of caveman dialogue, overcooked action, and anything-for-an-effect performances is maddeningly crude even by cop-movie standards. [22 May 1987, p.23]
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 48 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    xXx
    The infuriating thing about XXX isn't that it delivers thrills and spills to moviegoers who don't know any better, but that its Hollywood hype reinforces the notion that brain-dead entertainment is what movies are all about.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The kind of comedy that aims at "edginess" and "sassiness" without managing to be edgy or sassy for a second.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    This sexually explicit South Korean drama aims more to jolt than to illuminate, but it illustrates an aspect of Asian cinema that globally minded moviegoers should know about as films from that region take on more international prominence.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    A perfectly funny idea -- call it "Ms. Ditz Goes to Washington" -- that's never allowed to take on real comic life. I laughed exactly once.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Falls flat, with more "sound design" than delicious music, more slick film editing than graceful ballroom gliding.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    David Cronenberg's movie is a chilly meditation on this theme, carrying some cinematic interest but surprisingly dull given the story's outrageous subject.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The violent story is long on nastiness, short on credibility.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    By the time it ended, I'd stopped caring. I suspect most moviegoers will do the same. Here's hoping Shelton scurries back to the athletic world in a hurry.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The plot pants so hard -- that it makes less sense than the average pet-food commercial.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    What remains discomforting is their sheer failure to be funny.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    In short, it's dull, derivative, and as lifelike as a heap of historical figurines. Few will remember this Alamo for long.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Movie stars have tamed sassy kids in movies from "The Blackboard Jungle" to "Stand and Deliver," but it's hard to remember an example more patronizing or sentimentalized than this one.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Tries to be daring and iconoclastic but winds up seeming as spoiled and childish as its main characters.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The animals are cute and Murphy gives a lively performance, but as with his remake of "The Nutty Professor," the original is still the best.
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    An interesting cast is wasted in this misanthropic thriller.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    The movie gives us a Round Table and a flashing Excalibur but no magic, no mystery, no mythic resonance. Mostly there's a lot of slashing swordplay that should appeal to the picture's target audience of young males.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Hal Hartley's innovative comedy-drama is more ambitious than successful, but it deserves credit for trying something genuinely unusual.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Bataille was a serious philosopher as well as a sensation-seeking writer, but you'd never guess his provocative ideas from this updated version.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Like a nincompoop version of "The Usual Suspects."
    • 46 Metascore
    • 25 David Sterritt
    Even MacLachlan's surprisingly witty performance can't compensate for the trite screenplay and Mistry's lack of charisma.

Top Trailers