For 824 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 66% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 31% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Jay Carr's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Lowest review score: 0 The Skulls
Score distribution:
824 movie reviews
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Hoop Dreams is without peer among sports-oriented documentaries to the extent that it's about people before it's about athletic feats. It respects its subjects' complexity and tenacity while nailing the problematic, double-edged influence of sports in America. In fact, no film has ever combined sports and family values as powerfully as Hoop Dreams. There's simply nothing like it. [21 Oct 1994, p.47]
    • Boston Globe
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Brilliant and impassioned as Day Lewis' performance is, it isn't the only reason this film is so exhilarating. Director Jim Sheridan, who clearly has assimilated Brown's two memoirs (the film takes its name from the first), draws Christy's impoverished Irish family with idiomatic rightness and a satisfying and rare (to American films at least) emotional fullness. [15 Sept, 1989, p.41]
    • Boston Globe
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    It's terse, atmospheric, fatalistic, with vertiginous camera angles and edits offsetting its gray documentary flatness.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    In a crisply restored print, it's as joyous as ever. We loved them - yeah, yeah, yeah. Now we can love them all over again.
    • Boston Globe
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    It's an instant classic, in every way the equal of the great Disney animations of the past. [22 Nov 1991, p.33]
    • Boston Globe
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    What makes Toy Story such a dazzling surprise is that while technological novelty is partly what it's about, it transcends technology. [22 Nov 1995, p.29]
    • Boston Globe
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Slly, sublime, buoyant mischief that is virtually without parallel in 20th-century art, much less 20th-century film.
    • Boston Globe
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Watching it is a nonstop high.
    • Boston Globe
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Nobody ever placed brilliance in the service of silliness quite the way the Python gang did. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is stuffed with both.
    • Boston Globe
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Not since the original ''Star Wars'' trilogy has film dipped into myth and emerged with the kind of weight and heft seen in Peter Jackson's first installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.
    • Boston Globe
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    It isn't conventional drama or plot twists that make After Life moving. Rather, it's the exquisitely tender memories that come floating to the surface of this or that interviewee's mind. [11 June 1999, p.D6]
    • Boston Globe
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Music for the eyes. That's why it has become a treasured classic. That's why we'll see it again and again. [2002 re-release]
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    The best film of 2001 was made in 1979.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Badlands is one of the great banality-of-evil films. [29 May 1998, p.C9]
    • Boston Globe
    • 90 Metascore
    • 63 Jay Carr
    In the end, it's the snatches of music, mangled as it is, and the mechanics of staging it, in the absence of Leigh's usual raw, urgent psychic collisions, that keep Topsy-Turvy from seeming merely a gorgeous wax museum.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    But then Being John Malkovich is a brilliant juggling act, too, brilliantly brought off.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Hollywood filmmaking at its best, brimming over with feeling, texture, spirit, and several kinds of keenness that transmute experience into big pop myth.
    • Boston Globe
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Never has a film taken such relish in between-the-wars malice as Gosford Park.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Whatever portion of the alienated teen angst championship Thora Birch left unclaimed after ''American Beauty,'' she nails down brilliantly in Ghost World.
    • Boston Globe
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    There's nothing paltry about its poultry.
    • Boston Globe
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    Everything you could want in a sequel. It satisfyingly regenerates the characters and qualities that made the first film so popular. And then it moves them forward into newer, fresher, more elaborate, more involving territory.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    Nobody makes films as sympathetic to struggling working-class types as Mike Leigh, and nobody makes them as uncondescendingly. Although uneven, Leigh's latest, Life Is Sweet, is a honey of a film, one of the few to feel good about in this dismal year. [22 Nov. 1991, p.35]
    • Boston Globe
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    [The novel's] themes have never not been fresh and they gleam here under the sympathetic and enlivening touch of Armstrong and her cast, who move through the events with sunny assurance and complete immersion in character. [21 Dec 1994]
    • Boston Globe
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Spartacus stands up handsomely. At times it's even stirring, as in Woody Strode's performance as the African gladiator who, in sparing Spartacus' life, opens his eyes. Spartacus is one of Hollywood's great comic strips. [3 May 1991, p.45]
    • Boston Globe
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    A tender genuflection to the women's energies that keep that spinning world from keeling over.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    It's a meditation on life and death, but it's less somber and more light-handed, subtle, and mischievously funny.
    • Boston Globe
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    A miracle of data retrieval as the grown schoolchildren are measured against their footage from the earlier films.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Farnsworth's embodiment of old American values, with their combination of delicacy, reserve, and stand-alone independence, is a one-of-a-kind treasure.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    "In Cold Blood," "Badlands," "The Executioner's Song," and now, joining those grisly milestones on the heartland hit list, and every bit their equal, is Boys Don't Cry.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    The surehandedly wrought, beautifully acted, almost unbearably tense In the Bedroom is a rare film, not to be missed.
    • Boston Globe
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    It's the best drug-busting movie since ''The French Connection.''
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Spacey is diamond-brilliant in a role that plays as if custom-made for him.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Most of all it's the emotional and spiritual arc of an exile, in all its terrible isolation, that gives ''Before Night Falls'' its power.
    • Boston Globe
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Satisfying in every respect, it's a piece of blue-collar chamber music, never treating the characters cheaply, allowing them a complex entwinement of emotions.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    A heady flow of brilliant stupidity.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    If you thought ''Moulin Rouge,'' or, for that matter, ''Tommy,'' was trippy, Hedwig, with its glorious convergence of material and performer, will show you what you've been missing.
    • Boston Globe
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    The women here aren't afraid to get extreme about love, but in the end, you sense that they are too sound to destroy themselves over the worthless man they have allowed to personify it. That's what lifts Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown from the amusing to the sublime. [23 Dec 1988, p.23]
    • Boston Globe
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    A solid, not to say ironclad, winner in the less than overcrowded family animation arena.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Sensuous and rarefied, elevating its particulars into epiphanies, The Long Day Closes is as joyful as introversion gets. [9 July 1993, p.25]
    • Boston Globe
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Such moral outrage, apart from the artistry in which it is embedded, tells us that the forces of change are stirring in Iran.
    • Boston Globe
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Jay Carr
    It seems more a geek show than a slab of marketing wizardry.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    Filled with affection and verve and will do very nicely until the next shipment of Latin jazz comes along.
    • Boston Globe
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Never settling for mere irony, High Hopes becomes a small banner of sanity and good humor among the social ruins. Leigh never shies away from his unflinching dead-end class view of contemporary London. Nor does he wallow in '60s nostalgia. Which is part of the reason his passionate, life-embracing High Hopes is so exhilarating. [31 Mar. 1989, p.30]
    • Boston Globe
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Haunting, powerfully acted, penetratingly written, it's about people coming home -- and not coming home -- to their marriages.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Naked is one of the most scorchingly compelling films in years, Mike Leigh's masterpiece, an unflinching vision of civilization in retreat, life as apocalypse. [4 Mar. 1994, p.51]
    • Boston Globe
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    From beginning to end, it bristles with ironies in classic Eastern European absurdist style.
    • Boston Globe
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    Suggests a summit meeting between ''The Princess Bride'' and ''Bridget Jones's Diary,'' it has a decided charm of its own.
    • Boston Globe
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Jay Carr
    A big, dark juggernaut of a movie about a big, dark juggernaut of a subject.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    What you're not prepared for in Marziyeh Meshkini's astonishing debut film is the way its central image instantly leaps into the pantheon of world cinema with a rightness and an urgency that glue your eyes to the screen.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    The best thing about Together, apart from the way some of its characters grow on you even as others put you off, is the way it snatches idealism back from the brink of life-smothering orthodoxy.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    With its beautifully crafted starburst of colors and themes spanning its requisite Victorian gravity, A Little Princess is a beguiling little supernova of a movie I can't imagine anyone not loving. [19 May 1995, p.64]
    • Boston Globe
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    In the end, Fighter, despite its newsreel footage, is less a document of wartime experience than of the mentality one needs to maintain in order to be a fighter.
    • Boston Globe
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    As bloody as any recent film. But it's shot through with a harsh, stony humor that's invigorating enough to be regarded as a slap back at death.
    • Boston Globe
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Varda's charmingly eccentric amble, wise in its seeming waywardness.
    • Boston Globe
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    It's flawed, but it's also rich. And how many films make you feel that you and the filmmaker are following the course of a dream?
    • Boston Globe
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    One of the things that make [Branagh's] Henry V so thrilling is his audacity in trying to turn it into an antiwar play - a view that would have astounded Shakespeare. Astonishingly, he pretty much brings it off, emerging with steadily growing power as the young king who isn't afraid to bloody his hands. [15 Dec 1989]
    • Boston Globe
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    An invigoratingly mordant comedy that proves that Alexander Payne's rambunctious debut, "Citizen Ruth," was no fluke.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Funny, gritty, filled with surprising stabs of feeling, Parenthood is a stretch for Ron Howard, its director. This new adult comedy has the generosity of "Cocoon" and "Splash," but it takes Howard into deeper, darker, messier territory. [2 Aug 1989, p.57]
    • Boston Globe
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    An upsetting landmark. Don't take the children.
    • Boston Globe
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Hurtling from the screen with a vigor and importance that are all but absent from contemporary film, it's a deeply moving social drama, raw and gritty in style, shining with moral purpose as it delivers a scathing take-it-into-the-streets critique of feral capitalism and racism. [18 July 1997, p.D1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    You walk out amazed and refreshed by the way it kicks the assumptions out from under the genre.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Drugstore Cowboy, Gus Van Sant's fresh, gutsy societal underbelly film, never wallows in picturesque down-and-outism, except at the end, when Dillon's character, frightened by the death of a girl he didn't like much and spooked by his own paranoiac suspicion, checks into a seedy hotel while trying to go cold turkey and not yield to the influence of a junkie priest drolly played by William Burroughs. [27 Oct 1989]
    • Boston Globe
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Intriguing, arresting, delightfully refusing to be pigeonholed.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    It's one of the great sister movies and one of the great performance movies. [26 Jan 1996]
    • Boston Globe
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Few, if any, films this year will approach, let alone equal, Autumn Tale in its subtle sparkle.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Driving Miss Daisy, about the deepening relationship between a Jewish matron in Atlanta and her black chauffeur, is a luminous joy of a film, heartbreakingly delicate, effortlessly able through indirection to invoke the civil rights era without ever once slipping into portentous pronouncements. [12 Jan. 1990, p.35]
    • Boston Globe
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    The General is a gravely beautiful film (in wide-screen black and white) by John Boorman about an Irish career criminal who was an antiauthoritarian folk hero, a warm family man to a menage a trois, and also a dangerous psychopath.
    • Boston Globe
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    We're in a golden age of comedy, and one of the reasons is Margaret Cho.
    • Boston Globe
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    It could have been shorter, some of its exchanges misfire, but I respect The Last Temptation of Christ, and I'm much more for it than against it. It's the most spiritual biblical movie of our times. [2 Sep 1988, p.25]
    • Boston Globe
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    The story is spun forth ravishingly, tenderly, and urgently, with a captivating mix of beauty, spare sophistication, and profound humanity.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    A Bronx Tale is a joy, a film that comes unerringly from someone's heart and experience, and not from a power lunch of agents with clients to be packaged. [1 Oct 1993, p. 49]
    • Boston Globe
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    With its hypnotic performance by Rooker as Henry, it's most terrifying not in its carnage (although that's terrifying enough), but when it forces us to confront our own blinkered passage through the world, our blindness to the closeness of violent death. [5 Jan 1990, p.69]
    • Boston Globe
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    If there is any message in Tarkovsky's work, although as a poet he would never stoop to anything as banal as a message, it is that life is an internal affair, played out in one's soul, not in public.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    The most disorienting and trippiest data-retrieval caper in years.
    • Boston Globe
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    Cruise will never be a master thespian, but there's no one better at putting across the charisma of control, and the opening sequence of ''Report'' is an astonishingly fluid demonstration of his gifts.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Jay Carr
    Worth staying with for the respect it pays to its characters' emotions.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Simple, but loaded. It celebrates the humanity and humanism at the heart of Iran's remarkable flow of films, but it's also more of a rebuke to materialistic values than any ideologue could ever hope to be.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    It's sweeping yet intimate, stately yet impassioned, stylized yet immediate.
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Sad, funny, brilliant.
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Jay Carr
    It's a spirited and essentially optimistic film, but it's also simplistic.
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    Slightly misshapen and unbalanced, with a few loose ends, a few extraneous dream sequences. But there's something going on all the time.
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    They're as special as special effects get.
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    It rates a resounding yes because it doesn't insult our emotional intelligence. [23 Nov 1983]
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Ullmann's film is an achievement of heart and consequence, as full of integrity as Bergman, yet demonstrating more mercy.
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    Movingly recounts a hitherto untold story in the voices of the people who lived it.
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Souffle-light and airily playful.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 Jay Carr
    By any other standard, the creatures in Monsters, Inc. would be impressive. But by the high standard Pixar not only set itself, but invented, they're only ordinary.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    It's more than a labor of love -- it's a powerful summoning of devoted craft, conveying the pain and complexity of a great musical innovator, avoiding almost totally the usual Hollywood cliches. [14 Oct 1988, p. 53]
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    It's more than science, more than biography, more than metaphor. Fusing all three and linking them to a profound human dimension that never cheapens the man or his macrospeculations, it ties them to shared human destiny. As Morris' elliptical style circles and deepens its themes with each pass, A Brief History of Time turns into film's own expanding universe. [14 Sep 1992, p.50]
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Quiet, powerful, contemplative, respectful of stillness, Eureka is the first film this year in which there is obvious greatness.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    There was little mirth or innocence in the world that Wharton was able to write her way out of (she was much happier living in Paris), and Davies and his leading lady lift the silks to reveal it as the minefield it was.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    A perfect example of a small, well-made, and (in its central role) rivetingly acted film.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    A civilized delight.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    Structural shortcomings and all -- gives a neglected giant of African independence his due.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Riding a mood that's tilted to the jazzy blues that Eddie prefers to Bobby's blasting rock on the car radio, Diamond Men is a sparkly film that's easy to love.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Jay Carr
    A seductively corrosive horror story that also potently suggests the ways war can shatter childhood.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Deeper and richer in humanity than all but a handful of the American films released this year.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Jay Carr
    Terrific French film about that most universal of subjects - work.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 Jay Carr
    He's (Willard) a one-man storm of escalating inanity, and he's hilarious.
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Jay Carr
    Richly textured, beautifully acted.

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