USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,335 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 Million Dollar Baby
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,335 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Has the unanticipated craft and artfully ambiguous appeal of last year's "Croupier," a movie whose art-house word-of-mouth success could be duplicated here.
  3. It has been a while since we've seen such a consistently funny and entertaining road movie.
  4. Love and loneliness are presented, in almost equal parts, with subdued precision in the richly abundant Another Year.
  5. 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.
  6. It's hard to imagine how a film built around one-on-one interviews could be entertaining, but Frost/Nixon could not be more enthralling.
  7. A moving tale with wryly funny moments.
  8. A cinematic experience that is dazzlingly different from anything currently in theaters, March of the Penguins captivates with its straightforward but powerful story of dogged determination, survival against harsh odds and sacrifice.
  9. This is one movie in which you don't feel the long-ish running time, in part because there always seems to be a surprise (as well as a new street guerrilla) around every corner.
  10. Caro gives the fablesque story -- based on a 1,000-year-old Maori legend -- both a contemporary and timeless quality, anchored by newcomer Castle-Hughes' powerful and haunting performance.
  11. The film's resolution is uplifting but not unrealistic, and Pariah exercises restraint by not tying up every loose end.
  12. Despite its melodramatic moments, remarkable performances drive home the film's inspiring message.
  13. Emerges as an African version of "Schindler's List."
  14. Majidi tells his simple story with dazzling vision.
  15. 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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  16. Isn't all that romantic and is only half as funny as it thinks it is.
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  17. Vanessa Redgrave nimbly plays Coriolanus' mother, Volumnia, a blend of formidable stage mother and a puppeteering power behind the throne.
  18. Linney is a match for Neeson, and the only thing that might keep Lithgow from getting a supporting-Oscar nomination is the brevity of the part.
  19. This smashingly filmed and performed one-shot is (uh, so to speak) the year's best romantic comedy. [8 Dec 1989]
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  20. Flowers is smartly observational -- but a little screen heat would be worth a bouquet.
  21. Writer/director Philippe Claudel knows just how to structure a character study of this sort, so that key elements and important secrets are revealed over time, piquing our interest. The film is almost like a novel or short story, so one's curiosity is satisfied slowly.
  22. It is one of the year's best films and perhaps the finest modern film about World War II.
  23. With its almost stream-of-consciousness style, Reprise offers a fresh and compelling look at the vagaries of friendship and creativity.
  24. The most provocative miscarried-justice movie ever. [26 Aug 1988]
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  25. 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.
  26. A wonderfully odd, bleakly comic and thoroughly engrossing film.
  27. Visionary director David O. Russell so deftly weaves the family's story that we, too, are initially seduced by Dicky.
  28. It's clever, farcical and offers wry social commentary. With its heartfelt performances, intelligent writing and subtle humor, this is easily one of the most perceptive and engaging movies of the year.
  29. A long-on-video 1993 release now restored to its original Cantonese with different music and more audio pop.
  30. It is one of the year's most intriguing dramas, with a quartet of powerful performances.
  31. Iron Man's biggest strength is that the fantastically armored suit doesn't overpower the intriguingly flawed character encased within.
  32. This is entertainment worth thumping your chest over. [18 June 1999, Life, p.2E]
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  33. In the movie's high point, (Jeremy) Northam conducts an antagonistic interview with the boy, who eludes well-placed lawyerly traps.
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  34. A clever, likable comedy that sends up sexism, satirizes Hollywood, examines family ties and features a surprisingly tender romance at its core.
  35. 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.
  36. The sometimes fatiguing slow flow in hour one is worth the labor because the power in this 2-hour triumph reveals itself gradually.
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  37. Proves there are Holocaust stories still to be told.
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  38. James Coburn plays father in what may be the best performance of his career. [30 December 1998, Life, p.3D]
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  39. Amazingly, the film grows monotonous because Heller and Schmiderer can do nothing, via archival footage or even novel camera placements, to vary the program.
  40. Williams is impressively restrained as well as funny, so fans need not fret. It only means that instead of Good Morning, Preppies, we're given a bittersweet, even eerie Goodbye, Mr. Hip. [2 June 1989, Life, p.1D]
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  41. A spectacular high-seas epic that employs technology brilliantly and underscores the power of a vividly told story.
  42. Let Me In is going to lure and please fans of the original; like the first, the remake is graphically violent but as tense as good horror gets.
  43. The film does what it can to dramatize the bond, but Richter has a disproportionate acting load because his co-star's emoting is below the water line. Happily, he carries it. [16 Jul 1993 Pg. 08.D]
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  44. A musical detective story, this enthralling documentary focuses on a little-known American musician whose haunting voice and poetic lyrics were essentially unknown in his own country, but had a massive impact across the globe.
  45. A masterpiece. (9 Jan 1998, p.3D)
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  46. To induce a state of dread and mesmerize with beauty is a rare, paradoxical achievement.
  47. Though the comedy is sometimes more frenetic than inspired and viewer emotions are rarely touched to any notable degree, the movie is as visually inventive as its Pixar predecessors.
  48. The look is artfully stylized, influenced by classic film noir; the mood is dark; the performances nuanced; and the story unnervingly exciting.
  49. Clint Eastwood remains a competent, rather than distinctive, film maker, but he obviously respects the material. Bird is essentially factual, and we come to understand why so many other musicians thought shooting heroin might enable them to transfer [Charlie Parker]'s genius to themselves. [26 Sept 1988, p. 4D]
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  50. Relentlessly grim and grisly, 28 Weeks Later is not for the faint of heart. But its provocative post-apocalyptic theme makes for a smart and deeply unsettling film.
  51. Terence Davies' deliberately paced, earnest adaptation of Edith Wharton's breakthrough novel quietly captures the grim complexities of New York's social world nearly a century ago.
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  52. A touching and illuminating documentary.
  53. We are slowly and mightily drawn into this intimate story, which is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally moving.
  54. It's one of the year's finest, most complex portrayals, in one of Allen's best films in years.
  55. Highly imaginative and consistently amusing without pretensions.
  56. Sometimes -- and far too rarely -- a film will hit all the right notes, with sharp, original dialogue, brilliant casting and an absorbing story. So caught up in its spell, you dread seeing the credits roll. Please Give is that movie.
  57. A contender for the year's best film.
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  58. Crisp craftsmanship has fashioned a great day at the movies from the worst day of Ralph Kramden's life. [10 Jun 1994 Pg. 01.D]
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  59. As inspiring as the story wants to be, its real drama is mired around the edges, where we get a sense of what it is really like to be born into a brothel.
  60. Too lingeringly creepy to ignore. [23 Oct 1992]
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  61. Things will not be a big concession-stand movie because the floating heart is our introduction to a cottage industry we hope won't catch on. It is dirtier than pretty, yet Frears finds beauty in the telling.
  62. Despite its title, Punch-Drunk Love is never heavy-handed. The jabs it employs are short, carefully placed and dead-center.
  63. While it's the most ambitious of the three films, it's not as mesmerizing as 2008's "The Dark Knight." The plot is occasionally murky, its archvillain lacks charismatic menace, and the last hour is belabored.
  64. It's a hoary Chinatown knock-off wrapped in a seductively novel black-culture veneer, with a dash of Laura added for bad measure. [29 Sept 1995, p.01.D]
    • USA Today
    • 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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  65. One of the series's best, with spectacular effects, nuanced performances and witty dialogue.
  66. This giggle does for dog shows what Rob Reiner's "This Is Spinal Tap" (in which Guest plays Nigel Tufnel) did for heavy metal.
  67. We accept the sincerity and altruistic motives of the aging loner he (Philip Baker Hall) portrays in this consciously spare Nevada-set sleeper. [13 March 1997, p. 8D]
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  68. Indeed, Eve's milieu is fresh and specific enough to make even Jackson subordinate to Kasi Lemmons, the writer (and sometimes actress) who dreamed up this story for her directorial debut. [07Nov1997 Pg08.D]
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  69. 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.
  70. [A] socially conscious sprawler... Sayles' latest never bores during its 21/4-hour unreeling. But neither does it soar, despite finessing a complex flashback narrative set in 1957 and present-day. [21 June 1996, p.3D]
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  71. This is the rare movie that blends long scenes of meticulous research with a sweeping story and sustains a feeling of riveting suspense. Zodiac grips you by the throat and doesn't let go.
  72. With his coolly objective moon's-eye view serving a story that's bizarre by even his long-established career standards, the great documentarian Errol Morris examines the perils of vanity - though others will understandably make more sinister interpretations.
  73. The "Age of Innocence" oozes anthropological dazzle, but Dazed and Confused may some day rate its own Smithsonian showings for clinically re-creating the High School Experience 1976. [20 Sept 1993]
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  74. Hustle's approach to a simple good-vs.-evil plot is eccentrically exuberant.
  75. Truth is, Idaho is nothing but set pieces; tossed into a mix whose meaning is almost certainly private. [27 Sept 1991]
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  76. Crystal is such a panic - and normally uptight Patinkin is so attractively relaxed as a Spanish swordsman - that Bride's charms just can't be ignored. [25 Sept 1987]
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  77. 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.
  78. A film that wins on 'Courage' of its convictions. {12 July 1996, p. D1]
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  79. This is all about escape. And as prison-break movies go, Rescue ranks among the best.
  80. The dazzling animation, catchy songs and Broadway-worthy dance numbers give the film even broader appeal.
  81. "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.
  82. An emotionally honest low-ebber that builds to a satisfying wrap-up.
  83. The movie falls short of achieving its apparent goal: being the "Raging Bull" of the art world.
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  84. If Hairspray is clean and sweet, don't cry sellout. Taken as a pointed burlesque of a serious racial issue, this is what Spike Lee's School Daze should have been. It's also a PG (for "Pretty Darn Good'') simply on its own.
    • USA Today
  85. Overstuffed but exuberantly humane.
  86. The rap sequences are shot and edited with the excitement of a crisply broadcast sporting event, which in a way they are.
  87. Marked by clever twists and turns, the story unfolds at just the right pace. The dialogue -- adapted by Polanski and British writer Robert Harris from Harris' novel The Ghost-- is incisive and interspersed with wit.
  88. 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.
  89. While there is a vague hint of a vanity project in a few extraneous scenes, directors Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck have fashioned a compelling and rousing film that will not only appeal to Chicks fans, but make fans of those who weren't before.
  90. Look out for everything, and listen, too, because Suspects is one of the most densely plotted mysteries in memory.
  91. Though the deliberate pace can feel slow to glacial at times, the visuals are gorgeous, and the melancholy mood is exquisitely evoked.
  92. This heart-rending tale also is a mesmerizing one because of several superb performances, particularly those of Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson.
  93. For those who puzzled over the "Twilight" hoopla here are Adam and Eve, the artiest, most sophisticated pair of vampires to hit screens in a long time.
  94. That this is Fukunaga's first film is astonishing, given its sharp script, technical proficiency and suspenseful pacing. The ensemble cast is top-notch.
  95. Calvary is also profoundly compelling for the light it shines on how public attitudes have changed toward the clergy in the wake of the abusive-priests scandal.
  96. Though it could probably use an intermission, Grindhouse is three hours of mostly campy fun.
  97. The most imperfect of the year's best movies, Magnolia's flaws are easily forgiven because they are the result of go-for-broke ambition.
  98. Heathers was such a black-comic revelation that Pump Up the Volume comes as a double surprise. What were the odds, particularly this early in his career, that Christian Slater would end up starring in two of the best high school movies ever? [22 Aug 1990, p.4D]
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  99. This one looks like a sure bet for seven weeks (at least) of audience good fortune.

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