USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,374 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 Das Boot
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,374 movie reviews
  1. 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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  2. One of the year's best movies and certainly its most delightful screen surprise.
  3. Though Weaver is by all accounts (mine included) in the real-life “none-nicer'” class, I've always suspected she might be great as a shrew. She is. [21 Dec 1988, Life, p.1D]
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    • 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.
  4. The most provocative miscarried-justice movie ever. [26 Aug 1988]
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  5. 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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  6. Half-factual, half-fanciful and all funny, this labor of love is also unexpectedly touching. [28 September 1994, Life, p.5D]
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  7. This is a fascinating movie experience. [30 June 1989, Life, p.1D]
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  8. 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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  9. This definitive "life goes on" movie does what Altman does best: juggle 22 characters, deftly switch moods, and offer a comlex warts-and-all characters whose lives seem to extend beyond the screen. Few movies attempt this; Fewer succeed. [1 Oct 1993]
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  10. This is entertainment worth thumping your chest over. [18 June 1999, Life, p.2E]
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  11. 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.
  12. Campion's script is very well received, but the film finally makes it on cinematics: bleakly beautiful photography, haunting score, and good acting. [12 Nov 1993]
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  13. Black Hawk turns nightmare into great cinema.
  14. More than any other example in recent memory, Chicago shows how much the element of surprise is missing from today's movies.
  15. It's hard to recall the last movie that has left such an emotionally searing question dangling in the mind: "What if ... ?"
  16. The most powerful of all recent wayward-youth sagas; indeed, it's tough to recall the last such drama that packed as much emotional clout.
  17. 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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  18. After watching Pfeiffer and Day-Lewis submerge molten 19th-century sparks here, it is now conceivable that Scorsese could make compelling cinema out of “Three Blind Mice.” [17 Sept 1993, Life, p.1D]
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  19. If it isn't flawless, neither is "Fantasia"... Here's a live-action/animated marvel with no screen antecedent; “Chinatown” may actually come closest. [22 June 1988]
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  20. Blethyn is so astonishing that you forget you're seeing a performance.
  21. Forman finesses the story's grimmer aspects as he did in "Cuckoo's Nest," and his ability to switch moods on a dime remains unsurpassed.
  22. The film now seems both mellowed and --thanks in part to the most vibrant-looking prints in its 22-year history -- revitalized.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sling Blade is about a society barely holding on by its fingernails, the home and hearth hardly a place of respite. Unlike "The Ice Storm" or "The Sweet Hereafter," Sling Blade is devoid of the creature comforts of middle-class life that at least allow people the degraded hobbies that keep them functioning. [May, 1998]
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  23. What's most amazing is the finely nuanced performances these bits and bytes deliver.
  24. 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.
  25. Happily, there's nothing to misconstrue about the film: It's fabulous.
  26. 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]
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  27. A movie with this kind of haunting power comes along only once every decade or so. [20 February 1991, Life, p.11D]
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  28. The best news the G rating has had since the ratings system was instituted in 1968.
  29. Can be taken on many levels, and that's why it works so completely.
  30. Pacino cans the showboating bluster and gives a gently nuanced portrait of a simple man in decline.
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  31. Comprehensive and blisteringly paced.
  32. His (Cameron) movie may not be perfect, but visually and viscerally, it pretty well is.
  33. 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.
  34. The movie is so fun that it wouldn't need the mystery to be top-notch entertainment.
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  35. Great cinema - and also a whopping good time. [19 September 1990, Life, p.1D]
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  36. Heat is in the cop-movie pantheon with Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low," and that's as "right" as the genre gets.
  37. 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.
  38. Stripped of all bravado, Cruise delivers a raw and probably detractor-proof performance. Spielberg does what he did right in creating a novel milieu for "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," but this time the writing is fresher and anything but unwieldy.
  39. 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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  40. 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).
  41. For a brutal black comedy about L.A. hitmen, Pulp Fiction bursts out of its binding with loopy delights. [14 Oct 1994]
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  42. A perfect fit between filmmaker (Memento's Christopher Nolan) and material (Norway's same-name psycho-chiller from 1997), this remake gets all there is to get out of a peculiar premise with promise.
  43. A contender for the year's best film.
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  44. There've been few screen moments more moving this year than Cruise's initial reaction to his brother's almost superhuman math prowess. [16 Dec 1988]
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  45. A singular accomplishment so specifically keyed to Spacey's talents that it mandates going out on a limb to say it contains the performance that will ultimately be regarded as "the one."
  46. A riotous and wee bit PG-racy computer-animated family fable, is the most thoroughly enjoyable cartoon feature since "Toy Story" burst out of its box.
  47. The rawest, most sustained screen portrayal of 20th century combat.
  48. 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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  49. This is a great movie, but it needs a sales job because it's in Mandarin.
  50. 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.
  51. Tightly constructed and controlled.
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  52. Unstintingly explores and exposes excruciating pain, raw grief, ruinous vengeance and life-affirming resilience, creating human portraits that are uncommonly exhilarating in their honesty. This is cinematic art in its highest form.
  53. Both a nostalgic throwback to the silent-picture era and an ultra-modern animated tale, the slyly humorous Triplets of Belleville is artful, engrossing and oddly touching.
  54. A rich gem expertly told in a surprisingly scant 95 minutes.
  55. As good as each individual movie is, the third film vaults the work into the stratosphere of classic movies. Key characters are enhanced, new civilizations visited and battles fought more intensely, while feelings and motivations are plumbed more deeply and movingly.
  56. Though the movie may not change many minds about McNamara, it richly humanizes him, a valuable feat atop all the fascinating reflection.
  57. A great movie just got greater, thanks to this thorough restoration. [Director's Cut; 27 June 1997, p.D3]
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  58. Just as funny, sweet and engaging as the first film starring the big galoot.
  59. This twisted space opera serves up carcasses in six-digit figures but is foremost a sendup for the ages.
  60. 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.
  61. A movie this diminutive can be easily oversold, but we might see it on some year-end best lists. It eats at you, just like renewed love.
  62. This is the kind of people-driven story that the movies used to give us - before special effects took over.
  63. This is a building-block movie: Its stand-out excellence becomes apparent only gradually.
  64. Despite the film's sporadic lulls, both director and star are on full beam. The first and third hours of this 20th-century epic are as dazzling as big-scale movies get.
  65. As good as "Unforgiven." Or, to put it another way, as good as any movie Eastwood has ever directed.
  66. A monumentally moving experience, from the powerful acting by Javier Bardem to the evocative music, composed by the director, Alejandro Amenábar.
  67. Emerges as an African version of "Schindler's List."
  68. One of the best films of the year.
  69. "The Right Stuff" will endure as the more ambitious movie, but this book-faithful, 2-hour team effort shrewdly keeps its eye on the ball.
  70. The snappy sci-fi hoot Men in Black...is a kind of "Independence Day" for smart people.
  71. A masterpiece. (9 Jan 1998, p.3D)
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  72. Still mesmerizes on the strength of George C. Scott's chew-your-behind performance. [5 Nov. 1999, p.6E]
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  73. A premier boxing movie and a forceful Depression remembrance for the socially conscious, Cinderella Man also ices it for stargazers that Russell Crowe is the dominant screen actor working today.
  74. Murderball brilliantly captures the intensity of the little-known athletic competition, offering more intimacy and drama than most Hollywood sports movies.
    • 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.
  75. A masterwork of suspense, romance and political intrigue.
  76. 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.
  77. In Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman's brilliant transformation into the mannered writer takes your breath away.
  78. The only things missing from making this showdown worthy of a Western is Murrow's sheriff's badge, a dusty street and maybe a spittoon for McCarthy's infamous invectives.
  79. This Pride & Prejudice is a stellar adaptation, bewitching the viewer completely and incandescently with an exquisite blend of emotion and wit.
  80. It's a heart-wrenching portrayal of unfulfilled Wyoming love, but this time, we don't mean Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur in "Shane."
  81. The generally faithful script is by Anne Rice herself, the director is "The Crying Game"'s Neil Jordan, and both seem true to themselves and as true as they can be to artistic and visceral expectations. [11Nov1994 Pg. 01.D]
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  82. The mesmerizing, heart-tugging concert film Heart of Gold confirms Neil Young's stature as a national treasure.
  83. Emma is the peak of the recent Austen pack and a star-maker, too -- an antidote to a summer in which even good movies have subordinated writing and characters to special effects. [02 Aug 1996, Pg.01.D]
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  84. 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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  85. An unflinching, powerfully visceral and haunting portrait of the tragic events aboard one of the terrorist-commandeered flights on the fateful morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
  86. The Queen is the kind of thought-provoking, well-written and savvy film that discerning filmgoers long for but rarely get.
  87. It is one of the year's best films and perhaps the finest modern film about World War II.
  88. With this, possibly his most subdued film, Almodo´var reinforces his status as one of the most distinctive and talented filmmakers working today.
  89. A thoroughly compelling political thriller, at once intellectually challenging and profoundly emotional.
  90. 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.
  91. Emperor is like Full Metal Jacket - uneven, fuzzy, imperfect, and one of the reasons the movies were invented. [20 Nov 1987, p.1D]
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  92. If artist R. (Robert) Crumb can dispense immediately with his resume in Terry Zwigoff's superb Crumb, we can, too. [21 Apr 1995]
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  93. Even in the classiest movie summer of the decade, Mob is destined to demand respect for Pfeiffer. [19 Aug 1988]
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  94. Tucker is the best Capra movie since Capra quit making them himself. [12 Aug 1988]
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  95. The crucifixion is the strongest such scene of all time. [26 Aug 1988]
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  96. 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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  97. Director Gillian Armstrong takes the delicate snow globe that is Little Women and gives it a bold new shake. [21 Dec 1994]
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