USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,447 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 0.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 The Queen
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,447 movie reviews
  1. Stands apart for its raw, quiet emotion and its shattering sense of truth.
  2. A film noir detective story that works for both devotees of the series and the uninitiated.
  3. Though there are scenes in Always (both intimate and spectacular) I love, the film does seem a bit asking-for-it-weightless following an Indiana Jones sequel. Yet if, as I suspect, many reviewers elect to carve up Always, the film will pick up its devotees - now or down the road. [22 Dec. 1989, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  4. A coming-of-age tale that truly floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.
    • USA Today
  5. Cult director Sam Raimi has come a long way since giving us killer tree limbs in whichever (I've repressed it) Evil Dead pic had them. With good leads and a few bucks, he's come up with a high-octane revenge piece mentionable in the same breath as its predecessors. [24 Aug. 1990]
    • USA Today
  6. The film is an impressive effort, yet often a trying one.
  7. Though the experience is nerve-racking and cathartic under Campbell's skilled direction, musings on family and grief and Gibson's intense, but subtle, performance stay with us longest.
  8. The Greatest raises compelling questions about how parents continue on after the death of a child.
  9. Clumsier hands could have planted this load of pungent sap and come up with sticky fingers. But the creators of this based-on-truth fable carefully cultivate the material so it comes off fresher than it sounds.
  10. A raw and powerful suspense thriller.
  11. Besides being filled with Chappelle's hilarious sense of humor, the movie features life-affirming messages and great music by serious rap artists with political, socio-cultural and spiritual themes.
  12. Displays so much promise with its beautiful cinematography and superb portrayal by Cate Blanchett that you scarcely notice (or even care) that the story is a bit thin.
  13. When a movie is a hybrid of this sort, it can be tough to strike just the right tone. Mostly, The Hunting Party manages.
  14. Though not exactly a valentine to the octogenarian Nobel Peace Prize winner, the film is a lovingly rendered, candid and intimate portrait.
  15. The economical, fast-paced style and creepy mood are reminiscent of "The Twilight Zone."
  16. Earth to Echo is about adventure, bravery and excitement, but mostly it's about friendship— a subject that resonates with audiences of all ages.
  17. As a forum for its actors and for the big-screen directorial debut of multi-Emmy winner Gregory Hoblit, the film is up to the job.
    • USA Today
  18. The No. 1 thing Only the Strong Survive will have to survive is being overshadowed by "Standing in the Shadows of Motown." Less focused than last fall's slam-dunk Funk remembrance, Survive is a more modest soul review.
  19. Mean Girls has the same fancifully dead-on tone as the 1995 high-school comedy "Clueless" without the sweetness because, hey, these snits are mean.
  20. A timely story, given the political upheaval in Iran, it is emotionally explosive. It also is profoundly compelling.
  21. There's a lot here to feed crime-fiction enthusiasts.
  22. It's over-the-top stuff, to be sure. But Bosses never crosses that line into the macabre.
  23. This latest Bourne doesn't send adrenaline surging the way "Ultimatum" did, but it's still a tense, well-acted thrill ride.
  24. Imagine: a pseudo-intellectual baseball fantasy loaded up, like a spitter, with seductive sentiment. You can distrust the mix, but still like the movie - and I do. [21 Apr 1989, Life, p.D1]
    • USA Today
  25. The story of healing and courage is told with a refreshing lack of cynicism, not surprising since it's from the same producers as the wonderful "My Dog Skip."
  26. A touching story of hope, vitality and art rising from the bleakest conditions.
  27. A psychological drama with an intriguing ambiguity that challenges the viewer's loyalties and preconceived notions. For the first half of the movie you find yourself on the side of a hunted man. Then as the story unfolds, his pursuer becomes the one you root for.
  28. I enjoyed everything about Moonstruck except for its meandering mid-section. On cassette, with vino accompaniment, it may seem perfect. In theaters, with a diet drink, it still rates as the holiday sleeper. [18 Dec 1987]
    • USA Today
  29. Not for everyone. It is darkly funny, intellectually challenging and obliquely didactic. It also grows bleaker over the course of its nearly three-hour running time.
  30. The ensemble cast is strong. At its silliest comic moments it has a sitcom flavor, but the overall effect is gently amusing.
  31. Whedon weaves a story that allows each of the heroes to do what they do best. And while they may not have exactly equal time, audiences get enough of each to feel satisfied, but not sated. Clever work, indeed.
  32. Briskly paced, suspenseful thriller.
  33. An L.A.-based story with more turns and curves than a Hollywood canyon.
  34. If you're willing to embrace a bit of corniness for the sake of some incisive humor, a few poignant moments and enjoyable scenarios, make time for The Holiday.
  35. A powerful and evocative account of the efforts undertaken to forge a perilous mother-and-child reunion. Told in Spanish with English subtitles, it is a moving tale of yearning, as well as unflagging courage and determination.
  36. Back to the Future Part III wraps up the film series with a big high-tech lasso and ropes in one heck of a good time. [25 May 1990, p.01D]
    • USA Today
  37. Where the highly likable actress (Zellweger) proves most valuable is in making us adore this insecure, clumsy, contradictory creature.
  38. Though the story teeters on easy sentimentality, it doesn't succumb. Though unabashedly emotional, it isn't maudlin. Tsotsi's story feels believable. It is made all the more engaging by a wonderful soundtrack of African Kwaito music.
  39. Peña is a standout, and Longoria is a revelation as the vulnerable, pregnant Paulina. Hers is a decidedly un-glamorous part and Longoria compellingly fleshes out an under-written role.
  40. A visual treat with an engaging story that has an uplifting, but not maudlin, message.
  41. A provocative dissection of human dynamics.
  42. Not brilliantly funny nor incisively clever, Intolerable Cruelty is still moderately satirical and laugh-out-loud enjoyable.
  43. Despite appealing performances and kinetic football scenes, the storytelling is mostly conventional.
  44. Decidedly more thought-provoking than most big-studio summer fare.
  45. There's nothing touchy-feely about Killing Them Softly, a stylish thriller worth seeing -- despite its relentless violence -- for its sharp dialogue, mesmerizing photography and gritty performances.
  46. A sweet, family-friendly retelling of a touching and funny Newbery Award-winning children's book.
  47. Most novel is Rounders' message that the real sin isn't giving into vice but denying your God-given talents and not risking it all.
  48. Not as incisive a political commentary as "Thank You For Smoking," American Dreamz lampoons the public's appetite for mindless entertainment and easy distraction from serious concerns.
  49. A moving tale with wryly funny moments.
  50. JCVD is a whimsical twist on the biopic, sending up heist movies and breaking cinematic rules to interesting effect. At a critical moment, Van Damme rises out of a tense hostage situation to look into the camera and speak movingly to the audience. He has never seemed more convincing.
  51. Not only is Saved! subversively funny, it is unexpectedly sweet.
  52. With its vibrant sparkle and enchanting visuals, Cinderella almost makes you believe in magic.
  53. The Sting-like ending with its crosses and double-crosses could have been better handled, but there are plenty of other payoffs in Hoodlum. [27Aug1995 Pg02.D]
    • USA Today
  54. Warrior is a relentless, emotionally engaging family drama and underdog saga with touches of "Rocky" mixed with "The Fighter."
  55. Yes, it's loud, explosive and silly, but it also perfectly embodies the concept of a summer blockbuster with its simple good-guys-vs.-bad-guys plot, cheeky humor and flawless special effects.
  56. The film is involving, nimbly acted and smartly directed, though conventional in its narrative style.
  57. Well-crafted, Tarantino-esque story.
  58. Let the killjoys squawk. Lucas has proved he has the Naboos to pull it off again. And again. And again.
  59. Whereas the book was lyrical and moving, the movie is surrealistic and inventive.
  60. The result is two or three cuts above genre standard.
  61. Keaton doesn't stoop to bitter-spinster blather. Instead, the luminous vulnerability that served her well in such dramas as "Shoot the Moon" lights up this depressing, gallows-humored heart-tugger. [18 Dec 1996, Pg.01.D]
    • USA Today
  62. May not be a straightforward bio, nor does it offer much in the way of Barris' motivations, but the film is an oddly fascinating depiction of an architect of pop culture.
  63. Affleck ought to do more quirky character roles rather than leading-man parts in action films. Bateman plays his low-key straight man/protagonist to perfection.
  64. This one looks like a sure bet for seven weeks (at least) of audience good fortune.
  65. Kudos go to the great Thomas Newman, whose score contributes as much as either lead to what is finally a two-character movie, though one well-performed by all. [23 Sept 1994]
    • USA Today
  66. The film drips with honest emotion and confusion.
  67. As played by Oscar Isaac, he's snidely funny, world-weary and deeply sad. Though his story is enigmatic, the film itself is brilliantly acted, gorgeously shot and altogether captivating.
  68. It gets wackier as it goes, starting with Charlie Sheen cast against type as a guy who's getting no sex and turns down the chance. Bebe Neuwirth has some funny scenes as a lush.
  69. Unlike many action thrillers where the viewer is fairly certain that no real harm can come to the protagonists, such is never the case here. In this gritty ride-along, we sense that anything can happen, which adds to the propulsive momentum of a riveting story.
  70. An exhilarating sci-fi action thriller with a powerful social and political message.
  71. Dramatically moving and good-naturedly humorous, it transmits a sharp picture of humanity that inspires both awe and laughter.
  72. A potent combination of rousing music, appealing performances and an uplifting story renders this film-festival favorite nearly impossible to resist.
  73. Like "Blazing Saddles", A Million Ways to Die in the West has a slew of comic set-ups and one-liners that kill. And, as with Mel Brooks' classic 1974 film, it steps unabashedly into vulgar terrain.
  74. If The Pursuit of Happyness didn't star Will Smith and his adorable son Jaden, it might be just another tearjerker rags-to-riches story. But their chemistry raises the level of the film, making it heartfelt and compelling.
  75. Most noteworthy for the performance of Sigourney Weaver as Linda, an autistic woman.
  76. There's a new heist film in town that follows the conventions of the genre and then adds a couple of fresh and endearing twists.
  77. This quirky, winning sleeper from first-time director Jenniphr Goodman has its pokey moments, but it's no insult to say that it is as pleasantly easygoing as its slacker hero.
  78. Landed exactly the right actors for a script that already gets points for respecting its teenage characters.
  79. The world of the fanciful fable looks particularly vibrant this time with its signature blend of realism and fantasy. It is a pleasure to watch these fairy tale folk be themselves -- yet again.
  80. Ultimately, this film is more interesting than rousing; missing is a John Ford-ian wealth of idiosyncratic characters. [9 Nov 1990, Life, 4D]
    • USA Today
  81. What results is amusing, gently entertaining and might induce a tear or two.
  82. Fortunately, a movie that needs some levity gets a comic boost from William H. Macy as a fictional racing handicapper from the golden days of radio. As if training a horse, Macy cues us to laugh every time he's on screen.
  83. Dark humor intersperses with poignant moments. Though the conclusion feels forced, the movie works.
  84. Jeff Bridges has enough demons in The Door in the Floor to jam a crowd scene, but the actor's sheer likability remains undiminished.
  85. The visuals are impressive, while the goodhearted and endearing story is a little slight.
  86. What the film does best is remind us of the brilliance of Keats flame and how it was extinguished far too early.
  87. Night Moves is a thoughtful, clear-eyed and provocative film that raises thorny questions but doesn't offer easy answers.
  88. The fictional premise is used cleverly to illuminate the creative process and explore romantic minefields, and the appealing Ruby Sparks has a low-key, polished charm.
  89. With its introduction of wonderfully memorable characters and blend of humor, action and catchy tunes, Guardians is perfectly pitched escapist fun.
  90. Even by today's standards, some scenes are jaw-dropping in their bloodshed. To that end, Lurie accomplishes some of what Peckinpah evoked 40 years ago.
  91. Singh brings cheeky humor, an eccentric sensibility and an enchanting look to his re-imagined tale.
  92. Note this in your Starlog: Tacky toupees are out. Chrome domes are in. And not only is the future in safe hands, so is the "Star Trek" franchise. [22 Nov 1996 Pg.05.D]
    • USA Today
  93. With one of the year's busiest scripts, Little launches 76 zippy minutes.
  94. The musical numbers, with Brown's remixed vocals and Boseman re-creating his signature dance moves, are mesmerizing.
  95. Surely there aren't many emotionally fragile mobster stories left in the Hollywood arsenal. But at least Kill is a pretty good shot with the laughs.
  96. This is the kind of well-made movie you wish well but you don't particularly wish to see again.
  97. Doesn't always have a clear path, but that is part of its meandering appeal. It asks if true love exists, then renders it a rhetorical question.
  98. The movie works mostly because of the artistry of its stellar cast and heartfelt script by writer-director Paul Andrew Williams.
  99. A refreshingly silly and clever portrait of a strikingly daft and clueless man.
  100. The first all computer-animated feature, which brings a bedroom of playthings to bouncy life, is yummy eye candy spiked with 3-D-style tactile treats.

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