USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,440 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 0.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 A History of Violence
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,440 movie reviews
  1. Though the movie may not change many minds about McNamara, it richly humanizes him, a valuable feat atop all the fascinating reflection.
  2. 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.
  3. That this is Fukunaga's first film is astonishing, given its sharp script, technical proficiency and suspenseful pacing. The ensemble cast is top-notch.
  4. 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."
  5. It's slick, melodramatic, even inherently trashy - but a blue-chip moviegoer investment. [11 Dec 1987, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  6. In Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman's brilliant transformation into the mannered writer takes your breath away.
  7. 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]
    • USA Today
  8. The Queen is the kind of thought-provoking, well-written and savvy film that discerning filmgoers long for but rarely get.
  9. A masterpiece. (9 Jan 1998, p.3D)
    • USA Today
    • 72 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]
    • USA Today
  10. 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).
  11. The film owes much of its success to the inspired pairing of Fincher and Sorkin.
  12. Still mesmerizes on the strength of George C. Scott's chew-your-behind performance. [5 Nov. 1999, p.6E]
    • USA Today
  13. With its original performances that can't be reduced to simplistic labels, Juno is charming, honest and terrifically acted.
  14. 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.
  15. Tightly constructed and controlled.
    • USA Today
  16. 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.
  17. 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]
    • USA Today
  18. Brilliantly captures the exhilaration that comes from facing death head-on. It's also an ode to joyous rivalry.
  19. 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.
  20. It's hard to recall the last movie that has left such an emotionally searing question dangling in the mind: "What if ... ?"
  21. 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]
    • USA Today
  22. The most provocative miscarried-justice movie ever. [26 Aug 1988]
    • USA Today
  23. To induce a state of dread and mesmerize with beauty is a rare, paradoxical achievement.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. This twisted space opera serves up carcasses in six-digit figures but is foremost a sendup for the ages.
  27. 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.
  28. It is one of the year's best films and perhaps the finest modern film about World War II.
  29. 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]
    • USA Today
  30. 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.
  31. This subject demands consummate screen treatment and now has absolutely gotten it from director/producer Spike Lee. [10 Jul 1997, Pg.02.D]
    • USA Today
  32. 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.
  33. Sugar is that sweetest of films: A sensitive and memorable story that surprises at every turn.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Sarah Polley's memoir is a poignant, funny and engrossing film, challenging our notions of memory and family mythology.
  37. 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.
  38. This is a fascinating movie experience. [30 June 1989, Life, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  39. Blethyn is so astonishing that you forget you're seeing a performance.
  40. At once futuristic, funny and fantastical.
  41. 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]
    • USA Today
  42. 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.
  43. Wonderfully enchanting wintry fare.
  44. 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.
  45. Pacino cans the showboating bluster and gives a gently nuanced portrait of a simple man in decline.
    • USA Today
  46. These gun-crazy, lust-loopy kids on the run are irresistible in the best crime rush since “GoodFellas.” [10 Sept 1993]
    • USA Today
  47. It's a heart-wrenching portrayal of unfulfilled Wyoming love, but this time, we don't mean Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur in "Shane."
  48. 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?
  49. This is entertainment worth thumping your chest over. [18 June 1999, Life, p.2E]
    • USA Today
  50. Pan's Labyrinth artfully fuses a war film with a family melodrama and a fairy tale. The result is visually stunning and emotionally shattering.
  51. Thirty pounds lighter, all cheekbones and bulging eyes, Gyllenhaal plays one of the year's most memorable characters in this dark, provocative drama.
  52. 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
  53. Ultimately grim, Liam is ripe in humanity --and even comedy.
    • USA Today
  54. Despite the sad denouement, it's still the love story of the year.
  55. Depressing and gut-wrenching, but always powerful and gripping.
  56. 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.
  57. The net result is an entertainingly frightening film that keeps the audience in a state of alarmed, but eager, anticipation.
  58. Borat is most gloriously funny moving picture for to make people see their stupidness.
  59. 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.
  60. The good news is that this is not merely a few episodes cobbled together: It's a real movie.
  61. A robust family comedy that saves its wildest moments for a climactic "get-together."
    • USA Today
  62. This unconventional psychological drama weaves a fascinating tale, and Collette and Williams give two of the summer's best performances.
  63. Features the season's most tragic heroine along with some of the liveliest dead people ever seen on film.
  64. Funny People nimbly intersperses humor and reflection. It is a rumination on mortality, fame and life choices, punctuated with Apatow's trademark raunchy humor.
  65. A wonderfully odd, bleakly comic and thoroughly engrossing film.
  66. The look of this version may be the finest of the 27 Jane Eyre film and television re-tellings.
  67. A hard-core war film with raw violence, intense action, graphic sexuality and a twisting plot that offers a series of surprises.
  68. The relaxed and confident Crusade is the first Jones outing to benefit from actual characterizations. [24 May 1989, Life, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  69. One Day is an aching lovely romance, but it's also an insightful look at human potential and the search for a purposeful existence.
  70. Retains the power to turn heads -- and stomachs.
  71. 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]
    • USA Today
  72. 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.
  73. Miyazaki creates fascinating, fluid and whimsical scenarios.
  74. Emotionally and viscerally compelling and retains a suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat quality.
  75. 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.
  76. Director Stephen Herek does an admirable balancing job, though the movie slows whenever the animals solo onscreen. [27 Nov 1996 Pg.01.D]
    • USA Today
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. Overstuffed but exuberantly humane.
  81. With this 2002 Cannes Film Festival best-picture winner, Polanski skips the quirky flourishes and simply brings history to life.
  82. Those drawn to unusual, unflinching feats of filmmaking and rare acting turns as well as sustained suspense will be captivated by Buried.
  83. Ray
    Ray could not have been made without star Jamie Foxx.
  84. In this spare, unusual and intimate action thriller, Redford's expressions do nearly all of the communicating. He is the sole human cast member and utters only one word during the entire movie, which covers a span of eight days. The ocean — super-charged and becalmed — gets equal billing. If this sounds bizarre, or like an exercise in tedium, it is neither.
  85. A cool and clinical reportorial remembrance whose very title reminds us who Solanas was. [3 May 1996, p. 10D]
    • USA Today
  86. The filmmaker keeps upping the ante with surprises until the plot-twist beaut that concludes the picture - a shocker that, upon reflection, is probably the one ending that wouldn't have fallen a little flat.
  87. In a role as tailor-made for him as the story is for its writer and director, Nicolas Cage anchors the movie with one of his best performances.
    • USA Today
  88. A visually stunning, startlingly clever sleight of hand that will have audiences pondering well after the lights go up.
  89. This is one inspiring movie despite extremely tricky subject matter -- better than "Shine" and among the most affecting ever made about co-existing with mental demons.
  90. It's rambunctious and unruly, but mesmerizing.
  91. Unapologetically brutal and unencumbered by much plot, Raid is the year's most turbo-charged film.
  92. The Painted Veil is a welcome addition to the slate of holiday movies, particularly for those drawn to intriguing tales of multi-dimensional characters in exotic settings.
  93. Gracefully acted, and the story packs a powerful punch straight to the gut.
  94. Despite its awkward title, Starter for 10 is a winning coming-of-age tale told with grace and charm.
  95. Accessibly brainy screen charmer.
  96. The best drama you've seen about Anytown, USA, since "American Beauty."
    • USA Today
  97. Oscar-winning animator Brad Bird seems to have accomplished the impossible with the fourth Mission: Impossible installment by injecting the 15-year-old series with newfound, breathtaking energy.

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