USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,455 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 Age of Innocence
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,455 movie reviews
  1. Drag Me to Hell is unlike any scary thriller in a while: frightening, frenzied and fun.
  2. Timeliness can be tricky to pull off convincingly in movies. It's tough to capture an era while it's still happening, yet Up in the Air does so brilliantly, with wit and humanity.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In many ways delivers an experience that's even better than the real thing. It brings U2's dazzling rock spectacle to the multiplex with VIP comforts, all-access viewpoints and telescopic close-ups.
  3. Babe, a live-action fable about a valiant pig who conquers prejudice like a barnyard Jackie Robinson, is in a league of its own when it comes to enchantment.
  4. A good little movie dominated by a great central performance that's likely to endure. [30 Jan 1998, p.D2]
    • USA Today
  5. Bout No. 2 is among the best closed-quarters screen fights ever, as good as (and longer than) Frank Sinatra vs. Henry Silva in The Manchurian Candidate. And Hannah does more for an eyepatch than anyone since the late Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan.
  6. This is the kind of people-driven story that the movies used to give us - before special effects took over.
  7. Caché is unsettling and tense, even shocking. And its story of enduring tensions between an Algerian immigrant and a well-off French family is particularly timely.
  8. It is an unsettling tale told simply and chillingly by director Peter Mullan, with stand-out performances, an evocative soundtrack and spare, haunting visuals.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Henry V emerges a first-class epic film, so entertaining that it needs no apologies for being based on a 400-year-old play. [10 Nov 1989]
    • USA Today
  9. Mesmerizing and highly entertaining.
  10. A movie that rudely flings feces at the breakfast table isn't for everyone.
  11. When it comes to eloquently telling it like it is, Election puts the nation's political pundits to shame.
    • USA Today
  12. Peter O'Toole's tour-de-force performance makes Venus a movie not to be missed.
  13. It's the actor/director's best movie - and the best Western by anybody in over 20 years. [7 Aug 1992]
    • USA Today
  14. Only a truly visionary filmmaker could take a story largely set in a cramped canyon and give it a sense of openness and hope.
  15. The film's most climactic moments involve the chilling audiotapes of avaricious Enron traders as they toy with California's energy crisis, wringing millions in profits from the misfortune of an entire state.
  16. Deliberately downbeat, it's best as a two-person character study, stumbling a bit whenever it extends its parameters.
  17. This is precisely the kind of film that parents clamor for and rarely get: a substantive, stirring, Huck Finn-style saga that doesn't insult anyone's intelligence or mindlessly entertain with crass humor.
  18. A masterwork of suspense, romance and political intrigue.
  19. Well-written, terrifically acted and compelling. It deftly avoids sentimentality and offers a window into the lives of believable, multilayered characters.
  20. The borderline Parenthood is either an iffy comedy with lots of compensations, or a good comedy with more irritating flaws than most movies manage to survive. Whichever, the "feel good'' infantry of summer-film escapists will probably love it. [2 Aug 1989, p.5D]
    • USA Today
  21. Sugar is that sweetest of films: A sensitive and memorable story that surprises at every turn.
  22. It could be argued that this movie's callousness toward human life is nihilistic and nasty. But Woo takes everything so absurdly far that audiences laugh at what horrified them moments before. [27Jun1997 Pg01.D]
    • USA Today
  23. This Pride & Prejudice is a stellar adaptation, bewitching the viewer completely and incandescently with an exquisite blend of emotion and wit.
  24. Retains the power to turn heads -- and stomachs.
  25. The young actors' performances are particularly haunting.
  26. It plays even more like a bent version of Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" for the new millennium. Slinging a line of bull but displaying genuine affection for the youngsters he's bamboozling.
  27. An engaging and moving film with a universal story about the bonds of family as told through two generations of a Bengali family.
  28. 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]
    • USA Today
  29. Neil Young once said: It's better to burn out than it is to rust. But moviegoers are lucky Anvil didn't take Young's advice. Who knew heavy metal could seem like fine art when it rusts?
  30. Who would think Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban could be an art film? Thanks to director Alfonso Cuaron, a dazzling storyteller with a keen eye for whimsical detail, the third film in the Potter franchise is a visual delight.
  31. Doesn't sound like a very prepossessing title, but prepare to be taken aback by "what's in a name." [6 July 1994, Life, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  32. It's a rare film that can challenge our minds and rattle our nerves so profoundly. This is unequivocally a thriller for adults. A deftly written, tautly suspenseful and intellectually demanding morality tale.
  33. Powerfully disturbing.
  34. 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.
  35. Sprinkled with riffs, concert footage and home videos, the family-authorized documentary does what the artist usually did: When in doubt, return to the beat.
  36. An artful examination of a small town and small-mindedness and the potential for full-blown, large-scale evil. But it's strangely bloodless.
  37. Visual pyrotechnics and dark humor aside, Three Kings rules because it dares to dig for such truths, whether banal or significant.
  38. At its best in scenes featuring Hathaway's mercurial character. It's a triumphant and darkly nuanced role for her and a departure from the more lighthearted comedic performances she has given.
  39. Alas, if you're someone who enjoys movies as, say, a two-hour escape, you may find this documentary on the death of film at digital's hands a bit too inside baseball.
  40. Not only a stirring history lesson and an action-packed war film, Glory is also a ferocious statement about enduring discrimination that resounds today.
  41. An intriguing, if meandering, escape from the summer blockbusters.
  42. Though it sounds like a blueprint for either disaster or dynamite, the movie is a bit too controlled to be either.
    • USA Today
  43. 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?
  44. A Sundance hit that is both absorbing and bleak, Frozen River is anchored by powerful performances, believable scenarios and excellent writing.
  45. A daring movie in today's current climate - one likely to be remembered at year's end. [18 Oct 1989]
    • USA Today
  46. Comprehensive and blisteringly paced.
  47. More than any other example in recent memory, Chicago shows how much the element of surprise is missing from today's movies.
  48. Irritates in the early going when many of the current-day interviews are so intentionally underlighted that we can't see what the group members look like.
    • USA Today
  49. 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
  50. Eastern Promises has a compelling story and strong performances to back up what may seem excessive or sensationalistic.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. What vaults the film above the standard sports movie is the stellar performance by Michael Sheen.
  54. a painful though sadly humorous portrait of sisterhood deftly written by Leigh's mom, Barbara Turner, and directed with just-right spareness by Ulu Grosbard. [08 Dec 1995]
    • USA Today
  55. With its original performances that can't be reduced to simplistic labels, Juno is charming, honest and terrifically acted.
  56. 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.
  57. The Secret in Their Eyes is that rare police procedural that engages emotions as well as intellect.
  58. Gosling and Williams have the most palpable chemistry of any screen couple this year, never striking a false note in this achingly tender tale of a love that implodes before our eyes.
  59. It's a clever, multitiered affair built around the title rituals, frosted with delicious characterizations and tasty repartee. [11 March 1994, Life, p.4D]
    • USA Today
  60. And novel insights notwithstanding, this is a plain old good movie, too.
  61. The Secret of Kells is a magical adventure unlike anything we've seen on screen before.
  62. The result is raunchy, energetic, sharp-eyed and a bit rambling.
  63. The movie, which ends on an unexpected note of wistful humor, also gleans gentle and non-derisive chuckles out of Fin's physical state.
  64. Foxcatcher might just be the feel-bad movie of the year. But it's so well-acted that audiences won't want to miss its dark, chilling yet restrained story. A little less muting of this outlandish true-to-life tale, however, might have made it even more mesmerizing.
  65. What results is a disarmingly honest tale of affection, both romantic and filial.
  66. What the film does best is remind us of the brilliance of Keats flame and how it was extinguished far too early.
  67. A brilliantly acted and achingly bleak coming-of-age story.
  68. No
    For anyone fascinated by the political process and the powers of persuasive advertising, No is a resounding yes.
  69. Though it's no "Monty Python," Hot Fuzz is a clever, over-the-top marriage of mayhem and merriment.
  70. There's an epic spaghetti Western feel to Quentin Tarantino's latest action/comedy/romance hybrid that is by turns dazzling, daring, gruesome and astonishingly funny.
  71. With a powerful jolt, 007 feels relevant again, with serious questions about espionage vs. cyber hacking amid the fun.
  72. One of the most challenging movies in years.
  73. Richly layered, deliberately paced, dealing with difficult emotions and life decisions, it feels like a moody wintry afternoon.
  74. The story has its clichéd and sentimental moments. It's no "Raging Bull," more like "Rocky" shot with a handheld camera. But Rourke's wounded tough guy is undeniably captivating.
  75. A provocative dissection of human dynamics.
  76. Here's an ''opened-up'' film of a fragile, sentimental play that doesn't overemphasize every dramatic point, and doesn't tromp on every minefield in the material. [13 Dec 1989, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  77. It's hard to beat the last movie, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and this film is not better, but it has much to recommend it.
  78. John Travolta may stand out as a plus-size laundress who is hesitant, drab and retiring, but Hairspray is a consistently flashy, rousing and rambunctious movie spectacle.
  79. The Postman (Il Postino) is slight, but it's tough to imagine anyone not liking it.
  80. The suspense becomes so unbearable that it's easy to overlook questions about whether anyone in such circumstances would continue filming.
    • USA Today
  81. Jackson is a visionary filmmaker who is not only a technical wizard but also a master storyteller. With Jackson at the helm, you would expect dazzling special effects and epic action sequences, but what is most surprising is how heartfelt the romance feels.
  82. The film is about a half hour too long. The third act drags and an extended high-stakes poker game doesn't always keep our attention. But this is a superior Bond.
  83. Well-acted, intermittently compelling, often incoherent but always offbeat, Inherent Vice is a twisting story about twisted California stoners. Think of it as a film that's meant to be experienced, more than fully understood.
  84. The familiar dialogue here makes one long for something closer to the edginess of "Manhattan" or the offbeat humor of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
  85. The premise of visiting so many pubs as a narrative device, however, bogs down the initially energetic pacing and goofiness. Piling on the mayhem renders The World's End a sometimes chaotic and uneven comedy.
  86. With its clever faux documentary style, this is the most imaginative science-fiction movie to come along in years.
  87. Silver Linings is consistently entertaining, with its scrappy, well-drawn characters, offbeat humor and indefatigable positive outlook.
  88. 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.
  89. The crucifixion is the strongest such scene of all time. [26 Aug 1988]
    • USA Today
  90. An evocative film with a believable and subtly enthralling lead performance that gets deeply under your skin.
  91. Junebug has the feel of a good short story or novella.
  92. Happily, there's nothing to misconstrue about the film: It's fabulous.
  93. With its lush colors, imaginative view of ordinary objects and meticulously crafted miniature civilization, it transports viewers to an enchanting alternate storybook reality.
  94. Nearly everyone in this film is unlikeable, their actions inexplicable. And the pace is so lugubrious that it's hard not to succumb to Justine's glum mood.
  95. The point of the film is not to scorn or mock the Siegels, despite their excesses. They embody the quintessentially American urge to live beyond one's means. Their saga is simply the story of a nation's materialism writ large.
  96. Seductively pastoral but also a bit slight, the movie saves its best scene for the very end.
    • USA Today
  97. This crumbled-caper comedy is the funniest movie ever from a film maker late in his eighth decade. [22 July 1988, Life, p.4D]
    • USA Today
  98. 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

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