USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,474 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 Crash
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,474 movie reviews
  1. 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
  2. Overstuffed but exuberantly humane.
  3. The rap sequences are shot and edited with the excitement of a crisply broadcast sporting event, which in a way they are.
  4. 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.
  5. Director Kirby Dick has gone from examining sexual assaults in the military in 2012's "The Invisible War" to investigating rapes on college campuses. His is an impassioned and well-researched film that will incite outrage.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Look out for everything, and listen, too, because Suspects is one of the most densely plotted mysteries in memory.
  9. Though the deliberate pace can feel slow to glacial at times, the visuals are gorgeous, and the melancholy mood is exquisitely evoked.
  10. This heart-rending tale also is a mesmerizing one because of several superb performances, particularly those of Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson.
  11. That this is Fukunaga's first film is astonishing, given its sharp script, technical proficiency and suspenseful pacing. The ensemble cast is top-notch.
  12. 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.
  13. Though it could probably use an intermission, Grindhouse is three hours of mostly campy fun.
  14. 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.
  15. 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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  16. This one looks like a sure bet for seven weeks (at least) of audience good fortune.
  17. Glimmers of a fascinating and lively period film surface and fade in the first half-hour of The Immigrant. What predominates is a dully morose, overheated and implausible story.
  18. The film itself is dark and chilling, if occasionally plodding, but worth seeing for the absorbing potency of its main performances.
  19. A haunting and disturbing film, set in 1938, about "widow houses." Though occasionally overwrought, it emerges as life-affirming.
  20. This charming but slight tale has warmth, wit and interesting characters compassionately portrayed.
  21. Some of the movie's best scenes -- knockouts, in fact -- involve musical interludes.
  22. The longer the movie drones on, the queasier it gets. [6 June 1997, Life, p.3D]
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  23. Despite an 87-minute running time, the movie takes a long time to get rolling, and even fellow Leigh enthusiasts may wonder whether the payoff is worth it, though reaction could well divide along sexual lines. [7 Aug 1997, p.3D]
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  24. As a film that pays tribute to vintage '50s Hollywood, Broken Embraces is a visual delight.
  25. The kind of quirky, character-driven comedy they don't make much anymore.
  26. Mottola, who wrote and directed 1996's "The Daytrippers," crafts smart, witty dialogue. But the movie suffers in tone. While much of the story feels like a brainier John Hughes comedy, it veers into more dramatic terrain and loses focus.
  27. Inside Man may be a cat-and-mouse game, but it's far from predictable. What could have been a straightforward thriller is unusually clever, visually captivating and unfailingly entertaining.
  28. Compelling, poignant and gently funny.
  29. This is one of the best re-creations ever of the early-'50s Midwest. [11 Sept 1987, Life, p.3D]
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  30. As a successful careerist who tries purging his neuroses in a coin-operated batting cage, Crystal is funny enough to keep Ryan from all-out stealing the film. She, though, is smashing in an eye-opening performance, another tribute to Reiner's flair with actors. [12 July 1989, Life, p.1D]
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  31. Pacino cans the showboating bluster and gives a gently nuanced portrait of a simple man in decline.
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  32. A must-see for animation fans.
  33. Touching, but not cloying, uplifting and hopeful but never sappy and also just plain funny. There is not a false note among the five core performances, nor a false word in Sheridan's script.
  34. Captures a potent sense of the Old West with its multidimensional raw performances and captivating final shootout sequence. But with its emphasis on emotional truths, it transcends the confines of a cowboy movie.
  35. The look of this version may be the finest of the 27 Jane Eyre film and television re-tellings.
  36. A gripping and fascinating tale of political intrigue that spans three continents, its focus trained on the volatile Middle East. It's a global portrait of danger, deception and disillusionment, with no dearth of human casualties.
  37. Heat is in the cop-movie pantheon with Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low," and that's as "right" as the genre gets.
  38. Jennifer Hudson is the heart and soul of Dreamgirls. When she's on the screen, the movie shines. When she's not, the whole endeavor suffers.
  39. The film is, however, almost inevitably wistful for the past, and many of its emotional touches come from juxtaposed then-and-now footage of the participants.
  40. The film is not without flaws. It glosses over the story of the dissolution of Whitaker's marriage and does not delve deeply enough into the source of his problems with his son. A romance with recovering junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly) rarely rings true.
  41. An outstanding lead performance by Mads Mikkelsen (who won best actor for the role at Cannes in 2012) anchors this hauntingly layered and nuanced drama of a man falsely accused of a terrible deed.
  42. An unusually knowing movie from filmmakers of any age, both in its coldly clinical viewpoint and assured filmmaking style that even puts fresh spin on a routine police interrogation. [26 May 1993, Life, p.8D]
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  43. Blue Car is like an unpolished sapphire, at once harshly realistic and resplendent.
  44. A long movie that almost wears out its 21/4-hour welcome, yet it's full of surprises.
  45. Its premise is so promising that you long for more than Arteta's low-key approach can deliver.
    • USA Today
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The genius of Scorsese's film, which is being shown in IMAX in 93 theaters, is that it reveals the Stones' mortality while celebrating all that makes them more than mere mortals.
  46. The concert footage is mesmerizing; the planning leading up to the show is pedestrian.
  47. Uneven but also unflaggingly lively, the movie presents F. Murray Abraham as a corseted and bewigged Stalin in expository bits whose broadness recalls the Billy Wilder-scripted Soviet satires ("Ninotchka" and "One, Two, Three") without being as funny. [16 May 1997, Pg.02.D]
    • USA Today
  48. A horror movie that follows none of the predictable paths of the genre, it offers disturbing psychological drama and nuanced chills rather than outright terror.
  49. Every second Helen Mirren is on-screen in The Last Station is a study in peerless talent.
  50. Who's more pretentious: hipster Millennials or bourgeois Gen Xers? It's a question While We're Young toys with, if only to provide a context for a sharply observed and witty dark comedy.
  51. Much like Annie Hall did for a previous generation, (500) Days of Summer may be the movie that best captures a contemporary romantic sensibility.
  52. There are some notable oddballs in the filmmaking debut of performance artist Miranda July, whose lead performance in this Sundance winner for "originality" is the most appealing thing about it.
  53. An excellent adaptation of a wonderful work of fiction (The Age of Grief).
  54. In contrast to big-screen bummers we see every week, this movie conveys genuine sorrow.
  55. For those who like their spoofs silly and their cartoonish gore vivid, Shaun offers some amusement.
  56. Translating solitary musings, raw despondency and personal enlightenment into arresting visuals is a substantial feat and novelist/screenwriter Nick Hornby was the perfect choice to convert the fascinating book into a lively script.
  57. The problem is the movie's comedians, who are, to the last, unfunny.
  58. It all feels about as spontaneous as a concrete blueprint.
  59. Despite the sad denouement, it's still the love story of the year.
  60. Both the material and the way it's delivered by the movie's comic quartet are so funny.
  61. This thought-provoking documentary addresses the origins of Vermeer's photo-realistic art with all the suspense of a thriller.
  62. With its introduction of wonderfully memorable characters and blend of humor, action and catchy tunes, Guardians is perfectly pitched escapist fun.
  63. A Dangerous Method has plenty to say about sex, but it lacks much fire for it.
  64. Profound and superbly acted, with a moving script superbly adapted from David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer-winning play.
  65. Michael Mann , directs with his standard prejudice toward the sheer physical. The result, almost musical, has only a couple recent movie precedents. [25 Sep 1992, p.1D]
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  66. The movie, based on a true story, takes surprising twists and turns right up to its chilling ending and is probably the best gangster crime drama of the year.
  67. Mud
    Endearing and believable, the two actors playing Ellis and Neckbone are pitch-perfect.
  68. Thirty pounds lighter, all cheekbones and bulging eyes, Gyllenhaal plays one of the year's most memorable characters in this dark, provocative drama.
  69. 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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  70. Side-splitting laughter, along with some powerful cringing, are likely to be audiences' dominant reactions.
  71. Catch offers mild fun but never as much as its animated '60s-retro opening credits portend. They're the cutest of the year.
  72. Bottom-line funny, often convulsively so. [2 Dec 1988]
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  73. In a possible breakthrough role, Law would seem to be the big winner.
  74. A case of smart and talented people trying to jam a Cold War square into a Gulf War circle. You can feel the chafing, to say nothing of the burden this capably crafted shrug has taken on.
  75. Powerfully honest, insightful and poignant.
  76. Its stylish and gritty authenticity is superbly suited to this murder mystery.
  77. An engaging and exciting family film that at times feels a bit like "The Lord of the Rings Jr."
  78. A model of what a largely talking-heads documentary should be, with on-camera testimonials and lots of film clips that offer layers of context.
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  79. As close as anything could be to a light Mamet comedy.
  80. A heartening and poignant affirmation of the transformative power of music.
  81. The result is an odd, occasionally engaging but often cacophonous mishmash.
  82. A clunky-if-earnest comedy about a literal band of misfits led by a singer who never takes off his mascot-size headgear. Ever.
  83. So sobering an example of why crime doesn't pay that it could be shown to petty drug thugs to scare them straight.
  84. Warren Beatty's uproariously rude Bulworth is 90% triumph.
  85. Brilliantly captures the exhilaration that comes from facing death head-on. It's also an ode to joyous rivalry.
  86. Secret isn't the usual romp, but it's Almodovar's most committed work in years. [7 Mar 1996]
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  87. Even at its best, Ride never survives its shaky opening hook.
  88. The story feels believable as a witty chronicle of human behavior, in contrast with the self-consciously satirical style of some indie films and the far-fetched heroics of big studio fare.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A tiny treasure: grown-up, tight, sexy, suspenseful and with a mildly ambiguous wrap-up that stimulates the mind rather than confusing it.
  89. No, it isn't the slick and unfocused "Anywhere but Here," where mom and daughter choose Beverly Hills. Instead, it's the more modest and in most cases preferable Tumbleweeds.
  90. This being Irving, the story straddles the sweet and the creepy.
  91. Paradis is a most striking subject, but the movie is a winner as well, starting with a story full of black-comic possibilities exploited fully by the great French director Patrice Leconte.
    • USA Today
  92. A quagmire that reportedly has undergone multiple edits to reach its current incomprehensible state.
    • USA Today
  93. Viewers who like clean storytelling may not be happy. Those who savor ironic wrap-ups will be.
  94. Those looking to get a raucous laugh should say "I do" to Bridesmaids.
  95. A meticulously rendered, tasteful and moving period drama.
  96. More fresh than retro, The Muppets bursts with charm and cheeky humor.
  97. Haunting and inspiring film.
  98. A cool and clinical reportorial remembrance whose very title reminds us who Solanas was. [3 May 1996, p. 10D]
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