USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,705 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Lives of Others
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3705 movie reviews
  1. Cinematic poetry in black and white. It also is a deeply affecting tale of the power of resilience and an unflagging sense of humor through the worst of situations
  2. A rich gem expertly told in a surprisingly scant 95 minutes.
  3. Black Hawk turns nightmare into great cinema.
  4. As good as "Unforgiven." Or, to put it another way, as good as any movie Eastwood has ever directed.
  5. An instant classic, an Oscar-worthy showcase for Jeremy Irons, and a tightrope ballet over dicey screen material… A subtle movie - and thus a disturbing one. Like “Vertigo,” “The Night of the Hunter,” “Repulsion” and a few others, it finds beauty in morbidity - then nags you to come back for a second dose. [23 Sept 1988]
    • USA Today
  6. The best action thriller of the year.
  7. Can be taken on many levels, and that's why it works so completely.
  8. A monumentally moving experience, from the powerful acting by Javier Bardem to the evocative music, composed by the director, Alejandro Amenábar.
  9. One of the year's best movies and certainly its most delightful screen surprise.
  10. Let's say it without equivocation: Colin Firth deserves an Oscar for his lead role in The King's Speech as the stammering King George VI.
  11. The film now seems both mellowed and --thanks in part to the most vibrant-looking prints in its 22-year history -- revitalized.
  12. Though his film is like no other baseball movie, it may remind you of Paul Newman's hockey comedy Slap Shot: a knowing look at sport's underbelly - punctuated by jelly-belly laughs. [15 June 1988]
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  13. Though the movie may not change many minds about McNamara, it richly humanizes him, a valuable feat atop all the fascinating reflection.
  14. A shape-shifting film, it resembles a poem. At other moments, it is closer to a symphony. Most often, it approximates a fervent prayer.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Perhaps Nichols and May's greatest accomplishment is capturing perfectly on film the mysterious, complex, compromised relationship the public has with today's political leaders.
  15. That this is Fukunaga's first film is astonishing, given its sharp script, technical proficiency and suspenseful pacing. The ensemble cast is top-notch.
  16. The latest version of Hardy's 1874 classic works on all levels. Foremost, it is brilliantly directed by Thomas Vinterberg,who also made two other masterful dramas, 2012's "The Huntand" 1998's "The Celebration."
  17. It's slick, melodramatic, even inherently trashy - but a blue-chip moviegoer investment. [11 Dec 1987, p.1D]
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  18. In Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman's brilliant transformation into the mannered writer takes your breath away.
  19. Joins company with "Sullivan's Travels" and "Sunset Boulevard" as the quintessential Hollywood peek-a-boos...[and] Tim Robbins' modulated performance rates rhapsodic praise. [10 Apr 1992]
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  20. The Queen is the kind of thought-provoking, well-written and savvy film that discerning filmgoers long for but rarely get.
  21. A masterpiece. (9 Jan 1998, p.3D)
    • USA Today
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Big
    Unpretentious as it is, Big takes you beyond laughter, to where you live. And there's nothing small about that. [3 Jun 1988, p.1D]
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  22. Tempers moments of despair with deliriously romantic passages abetted by James Horner's traditionally lush score and photography by John Toll ("Legends of the Fall's" Oscar winner).
  23. The film owes much of its success to the inspired pairing of Fincher and Sorkin.
  24. Still mesmerizes on the strength of George C. Scott's chew-your-behind performance. [5 Nov. 1999, p.6E]
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  25. With its original performances that can't be reduced to simplistic labels, Juno is charming, honest and terrifically acted.
  26. Director Hayao Miyazaki treats his audience as imaginative and intelligent human beings, rather than catering to kids with rote displays of silliness, stunts and scares.
  27. Tightly constructed and controlled.
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  28. Drama, comedy, action and romance are intertwined in this gorgeously photographed and brilliantly directed film. Lead performances are thoroughly engaging despite - or perhaps because of - being wordless.
  29. With flawless precision, the movie flows seamlessly between a virtual newsreel approach (to chronicle senseless, arbitrary atrocities on the people) and a slightly more direct narrative technique that characterized the film's three dominant characters - each one cast to perfection. [15 Dec 1993]
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  30. Brilliantly captures the exhilaration that comes from facing death head-on. It's also an ode to joyous rivalry.
  31. Produced by HBO but too good not to play theaters, this soon-to-be minor classic is the best movie about society's untrendiest since "Ghost World" exactly two years ago.
  32. It's hard to recall the last movie that has left such an emotionally searing question dangling in the mind: "What if ... ?"
  33. Cold and cut to the bone, the film is a primer in screen virtuosity. Standard action film clichés, like a face getting hit with a chair, get turned inside out; both film and actors somehow manage to seem realistic and stylized at the same time. [21 Sept 1990, Life, p.6D]
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  34. The most provocative miscarried-justice movie ever. [26 Aug 1988]
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  35. To induce a state of dread and mesmerize with beauty is a rare, paradoxical achievement.
  36. It takes a filmmaker possessed of a rare, almost alchemic, blend of maturity, wisdom and artistic finesse to create such an intimate, moving and spare war film as Clint Eastwood has done in Letters From Iwo Jima.
  37. With its ceaseless music, large canvas, shrewd casting and flawless ensemble acting and the dexterity of its whiplashing mood switches, the movie recalls Robert Altman's "Nashville" more than any subsequent movie has.
  38. The Force Awakens reveals surprising connections, begins a few bromances, solves mysteries while digging up others, and sets a strong tone for what comes next in Star Wars lore. Best of all? It’ll make you feel like a kid being introduced to something truly special once again.
  39. Like too many others, I resisted seeing (or at least, rushing out to) this film, fully expecting a stolid, respectable bummer; what I found, without the filmmakers ever having cheapened the material, is one of 1989's most entertaining movies. There is even, I swear, a barroom brawl that's out (and worthy) of John Ford. [3 Jan 1990, p.4D]
    • USA Today
  40. This twisted space opera serves up carcasses in six-digit figures but is foremost a sendup for the ages.
  41. Violence is in the spirit of the hardest-hitting film noir offerings from the '50s, but far more explicit. It's also in the spirit of the Western.
  42. It is one of the year's best films and perhaps the finest modern film about World War II.
  43. The chief delight is Kasdan. “Body Heat” was appropriately slick, but “The Big Chill” and “Silverado” too much so. Tourist is edgier - also the work of a genuine craftsman. Frankly, I didn't think Kasdan had it in him. [23 Dec 1988, Life, p.1D]
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  44. The telling of this simple tale of survival required cutting-edge technology, but we don't notice the bells and whistles: They're on hand to immerse us in an unforgettable personal story.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Crash seems incredibly prescient, yet rather naive. The film is a stunning document of our alienated civilization, all the more compelling with its dolorous, almost liturgical tones.
  45. This subject demands consummate screen treatment and now has absolutely gotten it from director/producer Spike Lee. [10 Jul 1997, Pg.02.D]
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  46. It's an apt title. As divisive as the issue has become, it's hard to deny the power of Guggenheim's lingering shots on these children, waiting on a superhero who isn't going to come.
  47. Sugar is that sweetest of films: A sensitive and memorable story that surprises at every turn.
  48. With special effects so convincing you don't even think about them, a head-case hero and a three-dimensional villain who is his equal, socko Spider-Man 2 has something for everyone.
  49. Not since "Memento" has a movie served up such a provocative mind-bender, and the Sundance winner by first-time filmmaker Andrew Jarecki has the advantage of being true.
  50. Sarah Polley's memoir is a poignant, funny and engrossing film, challenging our notions of memory and family mythology.
  51. A marvel of well-rounded characters, strong performances and disarming chemistry, this deeply felt film is like a loving elegy to the end of childhood. It's easily one of summer's best films.
  52. This is a fascinating movie experience. [30 June 1989, Life, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  53. Blethyn is so astonishing that you forget you're seeing a performance.
  54. At once futuristic, funny and fantastical.
  55. A powerful drama about the murder of three civil-rights workers in the South. Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe are FBI men investigating. A legitimate Oscar contender. [6 Jan 1989, p.5D]
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  56. A precisely modulated and mostly mesmerizing 2¾-hour suspense movie, in part because it's one of the most bravely disturbing screen works ever attempted about thoughts withheld by even the most devoted marriage partners and the ramifications of voicing them.
  57. Wonderfully enchanting wintry fare.
  58. Grimly dark humor and spot-on production design buttress the captivating story and heighten the unnerving atmosphere...Gone Girl will leave you breathless and haunted.
  59. Pacino cans the showboating bluster and gives a gently nuanced portrait of a simple man in decline.
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  60. These gun-crazy, lust-loopy kids on the run are irresistible in the best crime rush since “GoodFellas.” [10 Sept 1993]
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  61. It's a heart-wrenching portrayal of unfulfilled Wyoming love, but this time, we don't mean Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur in "Shane."
  62. When was the last time you saw a blockbuster that was impeccably executed and simultaneously thought-provoking, audacious and unnerving while consistently being fun and entertaining?
  63. This is entertainment worth thumping your chest over. [18 June 1999, Life, p.2E]
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  64. Pan's Labyrinth artfully fuses a war film with a family melodrama and a fairy tale. The result is visually stunning and emotionally shattering.
  65. Thirty pounds lighter, all cheekbones and bulging eyes, Gyllenhaal plays one of the year's most memorable characters in this dark, provocative drama.
  66. The "Age of Innocence" oozes anthropological dazzle, but Dazed and Confused may some day rate its own Smithsonian showings for clinically re-creating the High School Experience 1976. [20 Sept 1993]
    • USA Today
  67. Ultimately grim, Liam is ripe in humanity --and even comedy.
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  68. The main voice actors all fit their animated personas, especially Poehler and Black. Poehler brings a unshakably quirky optimism to Joy while Black takes his acerbic stand-up routine, makes it a smidge more family-friendly, and turns up the juice for Anger.
  69. Despite the sad denouement, it's still the love story of the year.
  70. Depressing and gut-wrenching, but always powerful and gripping.
  71. Has the unanticipated craft and artfully ambiguous appeal of last year's "Croupier," a movie whose art-house word-of-mouth success could be duplicated here.
  72. The net result is an entertainingly frightening film that keeps the audience in a state of alarmed, but eager, anticipation.
  73. Borat is most gloriously funny moving picture for to make people see their stupidness.
  74. Translating solitary musings, raw despondency and personal enlightenment into arresting visuals is a substantial feat and novelist/screenwriter Nick Hornby was the perfect choice to convert the fascinating book into a lively script.
  75. The good news is that this is not merely a few episodes cobbled together: It's a real movie.
  76. A robust family comedy that saves its wildest moments for a climactic "get-together."
    • USA Today
  77. This unconventional psychological drama weaves a fascinating tale, and Collette and Williams give two of the summer's best performances.
  78. Features the season's most tragic heroine along with some of the liveliest dead people ever seen on film.
  79. Funny People nimbly intersperses humor and reflection. It is a rumination on mortality, fame and life choices, punctuated with Apatow's trademark raunchy humor.
  80. While The Dark Knight won't be supplanted any time soon as tops among Bat-movies, the new film makes a strong argument for second-best simply by taking time to explore the core of Batman that others haven’t: He’s a complicated mess who can’t get out of his own way long enough for the greater good.
  81. A wonderfully odd, bleakly comic and thoroughly engrossing film.
  82. The look of this version may be the finest of the 27 Jane Eyre film and television re-tellings.
  83. A hard-core war film with raw violence, intense action, graphic sexuality and a twisting plot that offers a series of surprises.
  84. The relaxed and confident Crusade is the first Jones outing to benefit from actual characterizations. [24 May 1989, Life, p.1D]
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  85. One Day is an aching lovely romance, but it's also an insightful look at human potential and the search for a purposeful existence.
  86. Retains the power to turn heads -- and stomachs.
  87. The result is a foot-stomping rouser. Where else can you get a cop in his underwear boogalooing with skyscraper terrorists? [15 July 1988, Life, p.4D]
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  88. Not only is this a deftly crafted and superbly acted film, but Wadjda sheds a powerful light on what women face, starting in childhood, in an oppressive regime.
  89. Miyazaki creates fascinating, fluid and whimsical scenarios.
  90. Emotionally and viscerally compelling and retains a suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat quality.
  91. The most imperfect of the year's best movies, Magnolia's flaws are easily forgiven because they are the result of go-for-broke ambition.
  92. Director Stephen Herek does an admirable balancing job, though the movie slows whenever the animals solo onscreen. [27 Nov 1996 Pg.01.D]
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  93. By eloquently probing the state of uncertainty and its accompanying discomfort and confusion, Doubt compels viewers to examine their own assumptions as they become caught up in this fascinating tale.
  94. Like the first half of "Best in Show," the movie is so deadpan that sometimes you have to pinch yourself to realize how potently satirical it is.
  95. Middle-aged romance can be a dicey prospect. And it gets more complicated when children are in the picture. But it gets more complex still if the "child" is actually 21, and creepily meddlesome.
  96. Overstuffed but exuberantly humane.
  97. With this 2002 Cannes Film Festival best-picture winner, Polanski skips the quirky flourishes and simply brings history to life.

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