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 Little Women
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,374 movie reviews
  1. Director Dominik Moll knows how to make a gruesome-free thriller and even manages some dark laughs as he turns the screws.
  2. A cautionary tale very well-told.
  3. Just a good time at the movies, but it's still a smarter two hours than most "good times" are.
  4. Such pure, naked joy is utterly contagious.
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  5. The final third is slower until a somewhat contrived finale that's still the funniest thing in the movie.
  6. A fresh-slant Vietnam picture in which lead Tom Cruise achieves indisputable greatness, July is otherwise a "more often than not'' achievement. But though it's as full of itself as Stone's watchably windy Talk Radio, the film's roundhouse punches propel you into remote Mike Tyson-land when they connect. [20 Dec 1989, p.1D]
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  7. Like a lot of meds, it loses its effectiveness over time, and you'll build a resistance to Effects eventually, particularly when it dissolves into a standard crime flick.
  8. At its best, it's a gentle meditation on mortality. But at weaker moments it feels meandering and strangely empty.
  9. Moviegoers of rarefied sensibilities will easily identify this anti-captain-of-industry as a "typical Eric Stoltz role," just as moviegoers of extremely rarefied sensibilities will pick up on Kicking's "typical Chris Eigeman role." [23 Oct 1995, Pg.06.D]
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  10. This movie is more wistful and winking, though it's obvious Mario is still working out emotional baggage with his tyrannically driven old man.
  11. About a Boy is a rarity in many ways. It's a well-written, witty film whose memorable characters grapple with the nature of family, love, friendship and despair. Even its soundtrack, by Badly Drawn Boy, is perfectly pitched.
  12. There is no question that the organization is a riveting subject for a film.
  13. Huston's movie seems to disappoint some who've read the novel, but the forlorn humanity that triumphs over the depravity and poverty is unforgettably affecting. [13 Dec 1996, p.1D]
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  14. The most endearing character in Disney's animated superhero animated movie is a one-man Affordable Care Act. (Make that a one-robot ACA.)
  15. Serves up an irresistible helping of delicious fun with writing that is tart and sharp and a story infused with sweetness.
  16. Flashily nihilistic Killers is easier to admire than love, but credit Stone for putting it on the line with a yarn tailor-made for his hopped-up vision of media-engendered white-trash immortality. [26 Aug 1994, p.1D]
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  17. Highly entertaining and informative.
  18. Who would have thought that one of the most provocative and affecting films made about the fallout from 21st century divorce would have emanated from a 19th century novel?
  19. Frankenweenie is a love story between a boy and his dog. It is also a beautifully crafted homage to classic horror films, a study of grief and a commentary on the mysteries of science and those who narrow-mindedly fear its advances.
  20. Black Hawk turns nightmare into great cinema.
  21. A touching story of hope, vitality and art rising from the bleakest conditions.
  22. Think of it as a thrill ride with gravitas.
  23. A monumentally moving experience, from the powerful acting by Javier Bardem to the evocative music, composed by the director, Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar.
  24. Kidman gets kudos for giving the enterprise a touch of class, while the film gives the studio's library a rare pedigreed addition.
  25. A Hitchcockian chase...A crowd-pleasing airport-pursuit pic. [27 Dec 1995, p.D1]
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  26. This year's wittiest animated adventure saga.
  27. De Niro's widely praised performance is like the rest of the film: competent, a product of hard work and borderline mechanical. I like much of Awakenings, including several supporting performances - but like Big, it left me just a little cold. [20 Dec 1990, p.5D]
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  28. The film is easier to admire than to fully grasp or be moved by it. Still, it's worth surrendering to the dream.
  29. The dialogue, delivered mostly in Southern accents, is intended to be funny and fresh, but much of this Western-influenced sci-fi adventure story feels reheated.
  30. Tucker is the best Capra movie since Capra quit making them himself. [12 Aug 1988]
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  31. Forest Whitaker is astoundingly multifaceted and convincing as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. In the performance of his career, he fully inhabits the part of the barbaric and charismatic ruler.
  32. In a season filled with dark-themed films, it stands out as an elegantly mounted, surprisingly humane but terrifying horror thriller well worth seeing.
  33. Despite dashes of droll dialogue from screenwriter Ted Griffin, the remake aims for cool but instead gets chilly.
  34. A promising debut by young writer/director Jacob Estes, this story of a botched revenge plot still isn't likely to break out even in multiplex August dog days.
  35. Bully forces audiences to face actions that are unthinkable, inexcusable and excruciatingly sad. It offers no solutions, only the testimony of brave youths.
  36. Mongol is quality escapism: an exotic saga that compels, moves and envelops us with its grand and captivating story.
  37. Stately but static. [23 December 1997, p.3D]
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  38. Pooh succeeds by embracing much of what modern films (including Potter's) have largely forgotten: old-fashioned movie pleasures.
  39. This is a smart and often tense work whose ultimate merit isn't completely calculable now.
  40. Mostly avoids being cloying but flirts with being precious. Yet Boyle is enough of a stylist to make it all passable. It's one of those films for which fans and detractors can see the others' viewpoint.
  41. After so much frenetic kicking and grunting, you may feel like you're in a stupor, too.
  42. If the script were half as witty as its production design and Danny Elfman's score, the film might be a classic; instead, it recalls the “Beetlejuice” half that doesn't have Keaton. [7 Dec 1990, Life, p.4D]
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  43. His (Cameron) movie may not be perfect, but visually and viscerally, it pretty well is.
  44. The distanced result, screen-adapted by playwright Christopher Hampton, never quite overwhelms you. [21 Dec 1988, Life, p.1D]
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  45. Tightly constructed and controlled.
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  46. A robust family comedy that saves its wildest moments for a climactic "get-together."
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  47. In the tautly terrific thriller In the Line of Fire , Clint Eastwood toys with his own grizzled-vet screen image like a frisky kitten with a yarn ball. [09 Jul 1993 Pg. 01.D]
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  48. True-blue Ford keeps 'Clear' out of danger. [3 August 1994, p.D1]
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  49. Farmiga never seems to strike a false note in any role, but this is perhaps her most reflective and multi-layered performance.
  50. Wonderfully enchanting wintry fare.
  51. Though the narrative is a conventional one, the well-acted, suspenseful story deals in fascinatingly murky morality and mines intriguing material from a historic and complex city.
  52. Middle-aged romance can be a dicey prospect. And it gets more complicated when children are in the picture. But it gets more complex still if the "child" is actually 21, and creepily meddlesome.
  53. Chances are, the more you love classic cinema, the more you will find Gods is your cup of tea.
  54. Ultimately grim, Liam is ripe in humanity --and even comedy.
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  55. While it reaches for the stars, director Christopher Nolan's Interstellar is a flawed masterpiece...The story is ever-ambitious, sometimes riveting and thought-provoking, but also plodding and hokey and not as visionary as its cutting-edge special effects.
  56. For a movie about the power of imagination, Bridge to Terabithia is not as clever as you would hope.
  57. It captures an authentic feel-good spirit and inspirational message that most Hollywood movies barely approximate.
  58. Dramatically moving and good-naturedly humorous, it transmits a sharp picture of humanity that inspires both awe and laughter.
  59. Epic in nearly every way, The Hurricane has the power to blow you away.
  60. You'd be hard-pressed to find a purer expression of rapture in a film this year than the one that opens Billy Elliot.
  61. The History Boys is an erudite, sharply written film with consummate performances, but its origins on the stage are all too obvious.
  62. Emotionally and viscerally compelling and retains a suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat quality.
  63. Who would have thought a fire-breathing monster could be one of the most adorable on-screen critters since Babe?
  64. Invictus, which is Latin for "unconquered," gives the poem several meanings in the context of the film. It also applies to Eastwood, who, as one of America's greatest storytellers, finds enthralling tales and fashions them with finesse and an indomitable spirit.
  65. Joaquin Phoenix gives a superbly raw and excruciatingly vulnerable performance.
  66. Prisoners is infused with a poetic intensity that's rare in American thrillers. The closest cinematic comparisons would be "Zodiac," "In the Bedroom" and "Mystic River."
  67. Occasionally very funny, the picture tends to coast on its cosmetics. A first-rate script might have made it a twisted masterpiece.
  68. It certainly stays alive in this spare and intriguing film directed by Jonathan Demme, who has helmed two previous Young concert films.
  69. A revelation: funny, fascinating and insightful.
  70. A high-octane mind game best enjoyed by following a key character's advice: "The Source Code is a gift. Don't squander it by thinking."
  71. Naji is an expressive actor, and so are the wonderful young non-pros who play his children.
  72. Teacher's Pet is no "Finding Nemo," nor even "Lilo and Stitch," but it is an enjoyable family film -- particularly for younger kids -- during a time of year when such fare is lacking.
  73. Less ambitious and more narrowly focused than the CIA saga "The Good Shepherd," Breach is a compelling, intelligent drama.
  74. Just be glad that Hanks and Zemeckis toiled mightily to pull off at least two-thirds of a remarkable achievement.
  75. This meaty Irish stew isn't arty or elliptical. It ought to connect with anyone who's survived sibling tension or romantic fence-sitting. [9 August 1995, Life, p.5D]
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  76. This has to be the raunchiest full-length animated feature since Fritz the Cat, which got an X rating in 1971.
  77. The look of the film, shot on digital video, is haunting and gritty. The cleaner, prettier look of 35mm would have detracted from the immediacy and sense of foreboding created in this artful blend of sci-fi and pseudo-realism.
  78. Captivating and multifaceted.
  79. Definitely not for everyone. It's a very bleak story with uneven pacing and a narrative whose jumps in time are confusing and occasionally infuriating. But the post-apocalyptic mood blends well with its uniquely stylized look and surreal story.
  80. The result can be palpably unnerving.
  81. With its focus on integrity, creativity and identity, Beyond the Lights is a rare intelligent romantic drama.
  82. Oscar-winning animator Brad Bird seems to have accomplished the impossible with the fourth Mission: Impossible installment by injecting the 15-year-old series with newfound, breathtaking energy.
  83. One of those movies in which pacing, dialogue and the right actors enliven a familiar story.
  84. This tale is both redemptive and tragic, if occasionally melodramatic.
  85. The soundtrack is mostly Elvis tunes, and Stitch even does an adorable impersonation of the King. As Elvis might put it, you can't help falling in love with Lilo & Stitch.
  86. This gritty examination of physical and psychological wounds offers a superb performance by Marion Cotillard, who speaks volumes with her eyes, and a less convincing one by her lead co-star.
  87. If it's challenges you're after, forget cracking "The Da Vinci Code." Wordplay captures the exhilaration that comes from navigating the ins and outs of complex puzzles.
  88. It's not nearly as enjoyable as one of his rambling, meditative songs, though perhaps it is aspiring to be the cinematic equivalent. Give me "Tangled Up in Blue" any day over this incoherent, tangled trip.
  89. Taut, tightly paced and thrilling, with some of the best chase sequences -- whether by foot, taxi or Jeep -- in recent memory.
  90. While the tension is sometimes muted, this is more than a procedural round of spy games. The deliberately paced but riveting film is made all the better because of Hoffman's breathtakingly nuanced portrayal.
  91. Despite an abrupt ending and the worst title of the year, Arbitrage manages to leverage real tension from its veteran stars in one of Hollywood's first pedigreed films of the fall.
  92. Emphasizes backing up wishes with hard work. That proviso is a thoughtful message for young moviegoers.
  93. Unapologetically brutal and unencumbered by much plot, Raid is the year's most turbo-charged film.
  94. With near-Swiss precision, director/producer Jay Roach and his writers make sure familiarity breeds hilarity.
  95. This is a tale not only of epic disaster but also of resilience. The Impossible is a nimbly acted drama that is at once a stellar visual achievement and a life-affirming story of familial love and courage.
  96. 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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  97. A 2-hour classic wrongfully stretched into three.
  98. Worth seeing not only because it's a highly effective thriller, but also because it's a finely tuned evocation of innocence at the mercy of adult cynicism.
  99. Riveting and darkly comic Super Size Me is a whip-smart documentary.
  100. Watching this movie, it seems to be the next level down from great -- maybe too episodic. But it burns in the memory weeks after you see it.

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