USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,339 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 0.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 United 93
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,339 movie reviews
  1. One of the most extraordinary films in decades, this family drama is also one of the most ambitious in scope, having taken more than a decade to shoot. Yet it comes across as effortless and unassuming. Boyhood is an epic masterpiece that seems wholly unconcerned with trying to be one.
  2. Pan's Labyrinth artfully fuses a war film with a family melodrama and a fairy tale. The result is visually stunning and emotionally shattering.
  3. One of the rare sports films that devotes extensive screen time to heartbreaking losses is full of other surprises as well. [13 Oct 1994, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  4. Depressing and gut-wrenching, but always powerful and gripping.
  5. The harrowing 12 Years a Slave is a mesmerizing period drama for the ages.
  6. Like the best French cuisine, Ratatouille is ambitious and delightful.
  7. 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.
  8. The film owes much of its success to the inspired pairing of Fincher and Sorkin.
  9. Sophisticated and universal yet deeply intimate, A Separation is an exquisitely conceived family drama that has the coiled power of a top-notch thriller.
  10. Bittersweet, intelligently written, deftly acted and painfully honest.
  11. 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.
  12. For a brutal black comedy about L.A. hitmen, Pulp Fiction bursts out of its binding with loopy delights. [14 Oct 1994]
    • USA Today
  13. Both a psychological portrait and an exciting action film.
  14. At once futuristic, funny and fantastical.
  15. This is a building-block movie: Its stand-out excellence becomes apparent only gradually.
  16. 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.
  17. If Silver is superb, Irons is transcendent. As some forgotten comic once said of George Sanders: A grapefruit wouldn't dare squirt in his eye. [17 Oct 1990]
    • USA Today
  18. This is a great movie, but it needs a sales job because it's in Mandarin.
  19. 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
  20. If artist R. (Robert) Crumb can dispense immediately with his resume in Terry Zwigoff's superb Crumb, we can, too. [21 Apr 1995]
    • USA Today
  21. The Class is a deeply moving film about the challenges of educating children in a complex and often turbulent world.
  22. A searingly intense and artful tale that grabs hold of the viewer from its jarring and wordless opening scenes and doesn't let go.
  23. This installment, the best of the three, is everything a movie should be: hilarious, touching, exciting and clever.
  24. 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.
  25. The Queen is the kind of thought-provoking, well-written and savvy film that discerning filmgoers long for but rarely get.
  26. Sarah Polley's memoir is a poignant, funny and engrossing film, challenging our notions of memory and family mythology.
  27. This is a fascinating movie experience. [30 June 1989, Life, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  28. Blethyn is so astonishing that you forget you're seeing a performance.
  29. Still mesmerizes on the strength of George C. Scott's chew-your-behind performance. [5 Nov. 1999, p.6E]
    • USA Today
  30. The Coen brothers have fashioned a wry and riveting hybrid of a drama, Western, crime thriller and action film that is as powerful and thought-provoking as it is genre-bending.
  31. This grade-A sleeper sends you out with an unexpected smile. [25 Nov 1992]
    • USA Today
  32. The rawest, most sustained screen portrayal of 20th century combat.
  33. Every so often a film gets under our skin with its haunting authenticity, reinforcing our faith in the wonderfully transporting power of cinematic storytelling. Winter's Bone is unquestionably that film.
  34. This sleek adaptation of James Ellroy's dauntingly complex novel has the black-and-white tabloid soul of an old "Confidential" magazine.
  35. The film now seems both mellowed and --thanks in part to the most vibrant-looking prints in its 22-year history -- revitalized.
  36. Her
    Though set in the future, Her is a timely, soulful and plausible love story.
  37. A little movie almost perfectly realized.
  38. The most gorgeous of all the Pixar films — which include "Toy Story" 1 and 2, "A Bug's Life" and "Monsters, Inc." —Nemo treats family audiences to a sweet, resonant story and breathtaking visuals.
  39. One of the year's best movies and certainly its most delightful screen surprise.
  40. 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.
  41. A movie that is easily likable.
  42. 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.
  43. The movie is so fun that it wouldn't need the mystery to be top-notch entertainment.
    • USA Today
  44. 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.
  45. Funny... and the payoff is the most provocative Hollywood concoction in a while.
  46. 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.
  47. With one of the best ensemble casts of any film this year, it's audacious, enthralling and uproarious.
  48. 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
  49. Romantic comedies with two low-key leads can be asking for trouble, but one senses that the actors must have clicked on some fundamental level.
  50. A thoroughly compelling political thriller, at once intellectually challenging and profoundly emotional.
  51. 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
  52. Borat is most gloriously funny moving picture for to make people see their stupidness.
  53. 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.
  54. 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]
    • USA Today
  55. Great cinema - and also a whopping good time. [19 September 1990, Life, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  56. It is by turns comic, dark and surprisingly tender. If one must reduce it to simple description, call it a love story with a twist. Or a twisted love story.
  57. 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.
  58. Once is a film for anyone who has ever been transported by the power and passion of music.
  59. Ghost World draws super, natural performances.
  60. Can be taken on many levels, and that's why it works so completely.
  61. In Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman's brilliant transformation into the mannered writer takes your breath away.
  62. Does the finest job of any film in painting a believable portrait of aging, capturing the sadness, confusion, anxiety and defiance of the early stages of dementia.
  63. 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.
  64. A little slapstick, a little action, rich characters and a whopping serving of wit. All baked to near-perfection.
    • USA Today
  65. 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
  66. 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.
  67. Up
    Easily the summer's, and probably the year's, most enchanting movie, Up is a buoyant delight.
  68. It's a mature, intricately layered visual delight.
  69. What's most amazing is the finely nuanced performances these bits and bytes deliver.
  70. Sweet (maybe) - but also painful (for sure). So painful that it's initially easy to resist this slice-of-Middlesex-life from Brit director Mike Leigh. Yet gradually, a mom, a dad and late-teen twins prove overwhelmingly winning through sheer willpower. Theirs, and the willpower of an idiosyncratic filmmaker who loves his characters no matter what. [24 Dec. 1991, p.4D]
    • USA Today
  71. Director Gillian Armstrong takes the delicate snow globe that is Little Women and gives it a bold new shake. [21 Dec 1994]
    • USA Today
  72. Accessibly brainy screen charmer.
  73. This adorable exercise in whimsy should give "Corpse Bride" a good fight for best-animated-film Oscar.
  74. 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.
  75. Gracefully acted, and the story packs a powerful punch straight to the gut.
  76. Though the movie may not change many minds about McNamara, it richly humanizes him, a valuable feat atop all the fascinating reflection.
  77. It's a heart-wrenching portrayal of unfulfilled Wyoming love, but this time, we don't mean Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur in "Shane."
  78. The ideal culmination of a fantasy series that has artfully blended excitement, adventure and terror with humor, kinship and love.
  79. Murderball brilliantly captures the intensity of the little-known athletic competition, offering more intimacy and drama than most Hollywood sports movies.
  80. A haunting and fascinating portrait of so much that is worth exploring: the implacability of nature, the hubris of human endeavor and the line between supreme dedication and madness.
  81. The big story here is Kristin Scott Thomas' captivating performance.
  82. The supporting cast is strong, as is the deft, sharply witty script. Miller directs elegantly, letting the narrative unfold at a deliberate, artful pace.
  83. Through this very specific look at a critical time in Lincoln's presidency, Kushner, Spielberg and Day-Lewis work together to present an honest look at America's most revered statesman. Kushner finds an artful way to weave in the texts of the Gettysburg Address and the 13th Amendment, as well as a creative way to present Lincoln's assassination.
  84. Twenty years ago, you could view early works of big-splash directors and often tell where they were coming from - or going. Yet Soderbergh and his debut project are mysteries. What can possibly come next? You won't be able to drag me out of line opening night. [4 Aug 1989, Life, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  85. The Tillman Story is a probing examination of truth, decency and the American way. It also explores deception and military propaganda and lays bare the ravages of grief.
  86. Bruce Dern gives the performance of his career as the headstrong Woody in the brilliant, wisely observed and wryly funny Nebraska. What stands out is the fullness of the character, with mannerisms and expressions that make him wholly dimensional.
  87. Director Danny Boyle's riveting and kaleidoscopic tale, based on Vikas Swarup's debut novel "Q and A," is exquisitely adapted to the screen by Simon Beaufoy.
  88. Not since Tuesday Weld in "Pretty Poison" has an actress so played off her fresh-faced beauty for such pointed black-comic effect.
  89. The best news the G rating has had since the ratings system was instituted in 1968.
  90. As good as "Unforgiven." Or, to put it another way, as good as any movie Eastwood has ever directed.
  91. This gem features five topnotch, multidimensional performances in one of this summer's most engaging films.
  92. A weeper poised to endure as one of the dominant independent features of the year.
    • USA Today
  93. 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
  94. 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
  95. Bedroom succeeds with performances that get some of their power from imaginative casting.
  96. A great movie just got greater, thanks to this thorough restoration. [Director's Cut; 27 June 1997, p.D3]
    • USA Today
  97. Deliver Us From Evil is so horrifying it makes "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" look like a walk in the park.
  98. A superbly crafted and darkly funny real-life political thriller, with pitch-perfect performances.
  99. It is at once warmly humanistic and boldly innovative, raising philosophical questions but not answering them.
  100. 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

Top Trailers