USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,704 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 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3704 movie reviews
  1. Furiously fast and fiendishly funny, Disney's 35th animated feature, Hercules outlines its musical-comedy agenda pronto. Even its villainous super-schmoozer Hades, well-ignited by the neurotic natterings of James Woods, would appreciate such get-to-the-pointedness. [13 June 1997, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  2. Powerfully honest, insightful and poignant.
  3. Another Earth proves compellingly that science, intellect and emotion can coexist in mesmerizing synchronicity on the big screen.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The film is a bit long because Brest wants to give you time to believe Walsh and Mardukas' inevitable friendship. We do. And Run adds poignancy without detracting from the action. [20 July 1988]
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  4. Instead of ladling on the Scorsese sauce, Robert De Niro's Bronx accent is on semisweet nostalgia. He presents a domestic drama spiced with humor about a boy torn between his working-stiff dad (De Niro in fine regular-fella mode) and Chazz Palminteri's easy-money ways. De Niro doesn't let arty camera angles sub for good storytelling. And he draws memorable performances from two amazing young, new actors. [01 Oct 1993, p. 8D]
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  5. The movie grows on you, lingers in the mind and may pick up a cult. Take away Heat and Dust, Howards End and The Remains of the Day, and it's as satisfying as any movie the filmmaking team's ever made. [18 Sep 1998, Pg.03.E]
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  6. Though the music is helping market the movie, it's really an omnipresent backdrop to the two intersecting stories. Audibly and visibly, Kansas City nearly equals Ed Wood for period verisimilitude. Yet it's also character-driven, in particular by the women stars. [16 Aug 1996, p.4D]
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  7. If it's challenges you're after, forget cracking "The Da Vinci Code." Wordplay captures the exhilaration that comes from navigating the ins and outs of complex puzzles.
  8. Something this gleefully goofy and consistently funny would be welcome in any environment.
  9. It's great to see an action-adventure family film with heart as well as humor, whimsy alongside wisdom, and a compelling narrative.
  10. Depp deserves kudos for fashioning an original and outlandish if occasionally menacing character.
  11. An easy movie to pick apart, but it lives, breathes and switches moods from humor to despair better than any American release this year.
  12. It's a meandering film that prompts the viewer to anticipate characters' actions. Fortunately, they don't take predictable paths.
  13. Epic battles, spectacular effects and multiple story lines make The Two Towers a most excellent middle chapter in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
  14. A genuinely surprising film that plays with genre and throws out the now very tired superhero movie formula. It’s an action film, a romantic comedy and a coming-of-age story and a period piece and a war movie all in one. Above all, it’s a hopeful story about humanity.
  15. A clever, likable comedy that sends up sexism, satirizes Hollywood, examines family ties and features a surprisingly tender romance at its core.
  16. A compelling drama that establishes Ryan Gosling as one of the finest actors of his generation.
  17. The clash over the house quickly escalates into a modern-day tragedy. It is a fascinating film, handsomely adapted from the book and well directed.
  18. An evocative film with a believable and subtly enthralling lead performance that gets deeply under your skin.
  19. The picture is solidly crafted, performed to the hilt and full of humor.
  20. Prisoners is infused with a poetic intensity that's rare in American thrillers. The closest cinematic comparisons would be "Zodiac," "In the Bedroom" and "Mystic River."
  21. A revelation. One rarely sees American-made movies that are so unafraid to explore emotional cruelty and portray the consequences without positing easy answers or attaching happy endings.
  22. So with its smart writing delivered by an in-synch quartet, savor Duplicity as the ideal spring gift.
  23. Captivating and multifaceted.
  24. Who would have thought a fire-breathing monster could be one of the most adorable on-screen critters since Babe?
  25. Inspired and inspiring, this documentary about 7- and 8-year-olds competing for the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship is too fawning to be consistently gifted, but it manages to be occasionally, perhaps accidentally, profound.
  26. Last time, director Garry Marshall gave us the fairy tale with Pretty Woman. This time, he gets the story right. [11 Oct 1991, p.1D]
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  27. It may be the most disturbing film you'll see in a long time.
  28. Even for non-fans, Revenge of the Sith is engrossing, and fans of the series will likely be over the moon -- and into another galaxy -- with this film.
  29. Breakdown exploits so many traditional thriller situations that any suspense fan vet can easily devote a hand to counting off the predecessors it plunders. [02May1997 Pg 12.D]
    • USA Today
  30. With its almost stream-of-consciousness style, Reprise offers a fresh and compelling look at the vagaries of friendship and creativity.
  31. Joyeux Noël is gritty and disturbing with its extended scenes of war and destruction. It also is emotional, even a touch sentimental.
  32. It's a clever, multitiered affair built around the title rituals, frosted with delicious characterizations and tasty repartee. [11 March 1994, Life, p.4D]
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  33. Though events unravel predictably, the film is profoundly affecting, thanks to a well-written story, rich characters and superlative acting.
  34. A searingly intense and artful tale that grabs hold of the viewer from its jarring and wordless opening scenes and doesn't let go.
  35. Pierce Brosnan is the anti-Bond in The Matador. And though he's anything but suave, sophisticated or debonair, he's a joy to behold.
  36. Occasionally very funny, the picture tends to coast on its cosmetics. A first-rate script might have made it a twisted masterpiece.
  37. Sorkin's script is clever and knowing — at one point late in the proceedings, Jobs wonders aloud why “everybody gets drunk” and takes him to task five minutes before every event. It's a small moment that breaks the fourth wall in the slightest and smartest of ways.
  38. Serves up an irresistible helping of delicious fun with writing that is tart and sharp and a story infused with sweetness.
  39. Every movie year has one, and now it's Britain's Mike Leigh who's conjured up the professional reviewer's worst nightmare: the picture so original, well-acted and witty that it must be given its ample due - despite being heavy on components guaranteed to bum out all but the most frequent moviegoers. [23 Dec. 1993, p.5D]
    • USA Today
  40. What remains is a great Vangelis score, astonishing production design, Hauer's career role -- and a movie that deserves its cult reputation despite an unloving heart. [11 Sept 1992]
    • USA Today
  41. As exhilarating, captivating and enjoyable as a summer romance in an exotic city.
  42. It's a provocative sci-fi action film with dynamite special effects, a powerful humanistic theme with echoes of real-life social conflicts, and a truly wondrous performance by Serkis.
  43. Who, though, would assume rambunctious humor would be served up as well? Dickens meets the Beverly Hillbillies, and the movie is handsome, too. [10 May 1996, p.4D]
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  44. In a possible breakthrough role, Law would seem to be the big winner.
  45. A Sundance hit that is both absorbing and bleak, Frozen River is anchored by powerful performances, believable scenarios and excellent writing.
  46. Les Misérables is sweeping, as would be expected given the scope of the hugely popular stage musical from which it is adapted. But it's also wonderfully intimate, thanks to Tom Hooper's deft direction.
  47. This giggle does for dog shows what Rob Reiner's "This Is Spinal Tap" (in which Guest plays Nigel Tufnel) did for heavy metal.
  48. Thompson has had the good sense and sensitivity to get Austen right, while letting Winslet steal the show.
  49. Blue Ruin is the rare film that is nearly consistently tense, the suspense only temporarily subsiding about an hour into the story. It's a welcome respite.
  50. The result is almost enough to make an audience levitate.
  51. Some of the movie's best scenes -- knockouts, in fact -- involve musical interludes.
  52. This low-key and engrossing Belfast-based drama is as much a well-acted character study as it is a thriller about the conflict in Northern Ireland.
  53. Lumet (who also wrote the script) seems to feed on lousy cop-precinct furniture, political showboating and confrontations between street-savvy adversaries played by synergic actors. [16May1997 Pg.01.D]
    • USA Today
  54. Ghost World draws super, natural performances.
  55. Profound and superbly acted, with a moving script superbly adapted from David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer-winning play.
  56. The original "True Grit" might have been eclipsed by John Wayne's larger-than-life persona, but the Coen brothers' remake is an ensemble piece that feels freshly their own.
  57. Too lingeringly creepy to ignore. [23 Oct 1992]
    • USA Today
  58. Unfaithful doesn't push the melodrama the way "Attraction" did, but it lingers in the mind as much.
  59. A movie that is easily likable.
  60. Easy A not only makes the grade, but it comes in close to 100%.
  61. The supporting cast is an embarrassment of riches for Scott, and Chastain is particularly strong as the concerned commander of the mission. Yet this is most definitely Damon’s movie and a throwback to the unabashed idealism of Hollywood past.
  62. Wildly witty, but also inventive, audacious and poignant.
  63. This is pretty much Burton doing an "X-Men" movie, with a plucky yesteryear vibe and evil Samuel L. Jackson thrown in for extra fun.
  64. Every second Helen Mirren is on-screen in The Last Station is a study in peerless talent.
  65. This is the rare screwball comedy that is superbly paced, cleverly plotted and hilarious from start to finish.
  66. The plan in A Simple Plan grows exponentially complex once the first dollar is purloined, an act that makes this unpretentious parable one of the season's better 'what's-going-to-happen-next?' movies.
    • USA Today
  67. Hard Candy, a highly original psychological thriller/revenge fantasy, can be bitterly hard to take and uncomfortably intense, but it's well worth consuming.
  68. The year's most riveting documentary.
  69. Visionary director David O. Russell so deftly weaves the family's story that we, too, are initially seduced by Dicky.
  70. A gut-busting blast of tasteless tomfoolery.
  71. It's also as good as "Out of Africa."
  72. Good Hair is cause for hope that Rock continues to make documentaries. His style is lively, smooth and up-to-date, like the most coveted 'do.
  73. A brilliantly acted and achingly bleak coming-of-age story.
  74. Inside Deep Throat, an NC-17 documentary that deftly chronicles the fallout -- with about 15 seconds of hard-core footage -- has some surprise credits.
  75. An excellent adaptation of a wonderful work of fiction (The Age of Grief).
  76. Worth seeing not only because it's a highly effective thriller, but also because it's a finely tuned evocation of innocence at the mercy of adult cynicism.
  77. It's the actor/director's best movie - and the best Western by anybody in over 20 years. [7 Aug 1992]
    • USA Today
  78. More coming-of-age story than biopic, this Guevara odyssey is a transformative adventure well worth watching.
  79. Like the best French cuisine, Ratatouille is ambitious and delightful.
  80. One small documentary for a filmmaker and one giant leap in inspiration for audiences.
  81. It winds up working as a ominous climax, however, and you’re left wanting to avoid any and all farm animals for a while — which for this excellent piece of filmmaking is high praise.
  82. A Hitchcockian chase...A crowd-pleasing airport-pursuit pic. [27 Dec 1995, p.D1]
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  83. Riveting and darkly comic Super Size Me is a whip-smart documentary.
  84. This is a romantic comedy for people who don't like rom-coms. There's no chance of a happy ending, but its tender mercies speak volumes.
  85. A thoughtful film about ideas — creativity, the power of language and the eloquence of visuals — it features two impeccable performances full of vitality.
  86. The ideal culmination of a fantasy series that has artfully blended excitement, adventure and terror with humor, kinship and love.
  87. About a Boy is a rarity in many ways. It's a well-written, witty film whose memorable characters grapple with the nature of family, love, friendship and despair. Even its soundtrack, by Badly Drawn Boy, is perfectly pitched.
  88. It's a tough entry into the tough black-comic genre; don't be surprised if it becomes a classic. [31 March 1989]
    • USA Today
  89. And novel insights notwithstanding, this is a plain old good movie, too.
  90. Though less than the sum of its brilliant parts, the Coens' latest will still be must viewing in 32 years. [21 Aug 1991]
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  91. At a time when romantic comedies seem to have exhausted unique ideas, along comes Lars, an original, amusing and heartfelt tale sharply written by Nancy Oliver (Six Feet Under).
  92. A rare blend of emotional content and intelligent material that makes it simultaneously gut-wrenching and thought-provoking.
  93. But let's not mislead about acting gold: Without Nicholson and Keaton, the movie would be fair. With them, it's one of the few good romantic comedies this year. What we gotta give is thanks.
  94. Overall, however, the manner in which the film blends the tale of an imperiled boy and the history of cinema makes for an ambitious and fanciful ride.
  95. Fury, I Am a Fugitive, Wild Boys of the Road and Emperor of the North come immediately to mind as definitive Depression movies. This little gem, which may get overlooked, deserves to be on the same list. [20 August 1993, p.5D]
    • USA Today
  96. Renner, in one of his best roles, lends a weathered depth to Cory but also surprising intelligence to the character deemed “Sherlock Snow.”
  97. One of the deeper and most thoughtful projects in Scorsese’s career. It feels as though his entire Hollywood career has culminated in this grand quest, which while excessively long, effectively explores the brutal costs of unbending faith.
  98. River ranks with the best movies Eastwood has directed: "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Unforgiven" and "The Bridges of Madison County." But this time, the work is strong without his own on-screen presence -- a significant achievement.
  99. Just be glad that Hanks and Zemeckis toiled mightily to pull off at least two-thirds of a remarkable achievement.

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