USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,485 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 0.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Sideways
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,485 movie reviews
  1. One of those movies in which pacing, dialogue and the right actors enliven a familiar story.
  2. This tale is both redemptive and tragic, if occasionally melodramatic.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Taut, tightly paced and thrilling, with some of the best chase sequences -- whether by foot, taxi or Jeep -- in recent memory.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Emphasizes backing up wishes with hard work. That proviso is a thoughtful message for young moviegoers.
  11. "Imitation" illuminates Turing's brilliance in an engrossing and moving film that features a standout, Oscar-worthy performance by Benedict Cumberbatch.
  12. Unapologetically brutal and unencumbered by much plot, Raid is the year's most turbo-charged film.
  13. With near-Swiss precision, director/producer Jay Roach and his writers make sure familiarity breeds hilarity.
  14. With its focus on integrity, creativity and identity, Beyond the Lights is a rare intelligent romantic drama.
  15. 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.
  16. A 2-hour classic wrongfully stretched into three.
  17. 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.
  18. Riveting and darkly comic Super Size Me is a whip-smart documentary.
  19. 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.
  20. Though occasionally visually inventive, Kung Fu Panda is a disappointment when it comes to matters of simple black and white: the script.
  21. McKay's performance is a revelation. He nails Welles' imperiousness, charm and vocal cadences, and even bears a strong resemblance to the iconic actor/director. He is thoroughly convincing as Welles and electrifies the screen when he's on it.
  22. It is smart, witty and blessedly unpredictable.
  23. 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]
    • USA Today
  24. May be far more ragtag than swashbuckling, but the film is sure-footed, witty and zany fun.
  25. The match winners and losers may be preordained, but these modern-day gladiators bleed plenty of real blood.
    • USA Today
  26. The movie itself IS dull, however. The characters never engage our interest, and the relentless violence grows monotonous.
  27. Droll mild amusement.
  28. Preposterous to the extreme.
  29. This sweetly eccentric and low-key buddy picture/bromance bears little resemblance to more well-known examples of the genre, such as "Lethal Weapon" or "Pineapple Express."
  30. An historical opus that is equal parts ballet and biography, though the second component pales in comparison with the first.
  31. Cars is a classic American tale firing on all cylinders and fueled by organic emotion and a lively sense of adventure.
  32. Mostly, it's just wicked fun.
  33. Stands apart for its raw, quiet emotion and its shattering sense of truth.
  34. Rarely does a first-time director make as auspicious a debut as Scott Frank has done with the haunting, engrossing and intelligent thriller The Lookout.
  35. Director Todd Phillips (Old School) has a knack for extreme scenarios and outside-the-box casting. He has made a movie that is consistently funny from start to finish.
  36. Breakdown exploits so many traditional thriller situations that any suspense fan vet can easily devote a hand to counting off the predecessors it plunders. [02May1997 Pg 12.D]
    • USA Today
  37. 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.
  38. July is solid throwback storytelling, a crime yarn that may not blow you away but can cut to the bone.
  39. A first-rate office comedy of prickly exchanges.
  40. It's a tough entry into the tough black-comic genre; don't be surprised if it becomes a classic. [31 March 1989]
    • USA Today
  41. This is a rare twisted crowd-pleaser for longtime fans as well as novices -- or for those that don't know an arachnid from an insect.
  42. Ray
    Ray could not have been made without star Jamie Foxx.
  43. There's a lot here to feed crime-fiction enthusiasts.
  44. A mesmerizing look at the mythic quality and anarchic spirit of the irreverent and rabble-rousing journalist.
  45. It isn't really dull (only dulled), and the leads are remarkable; one could, in fact, lavish a lot more praise if this labor of love weren't burdened by the year's dopiest movie wrap-up. [23 Nov 1990]
    • USA Today
  46. In a watershed year for black filmmakers, Singleton has made the punchiest feature debut in recent memory. Those who complain that Lee's characters tangle up his plots will savor Singleton's flawlessly crafted edges. [12 July 1991]
    • USA Today
  47. Carell accomplishes the task of being sweet-natured without becoming cloying.
  48. Takes a fascinating chapter in Danish history, little-known to general audiences, and presents it engagingly.
  49. No situation could be more human, and it's one the youth-dominated film industry rarely touches.
  50. Though his film is like no other baseball movie, it may remind you of Paul Newman's hockey comedy Slap Shot: a knowing look at sport's underbelly - punctuated by jelly-belly laughs. [15 June 1988]
    • USA Today
  51. Even if a lot of adults have problems following this picture 100%, look for computer-savvy teen-agers to guarantee this sometimes original but too often derivative time-killer a shelf life.
  52. You get the sense that there's probably more to the story than you get here. But the movie's moral will soon be indelible: You just can't fake it in the Internet age.
  53. But expect a logical plot, and you'll walk out of the theater with a host of questions, mostly concerning procedural points of the alien attack.
  54. Forget "Twilight." Fans of vampire movies are not likely to see anything more graphic, extreme or twisted than Thirst.
  55. Notes on a Scandal may be disturbing, but it is a potent and captivating account of misconduct and betrayal.
  56. At its best, the movie is coldly clever with a few brilliant warmer moments - as when someone drops an Alka Seltzer into the tank to soothe the Brain. [14 Dec 1995]
    • USA Today
  57. This slice of American life, as seen through the eyes of Palestinian immigrants, is nuanced, engaging and authentically observed.
  58. American Sniper's wartime sequences are well-paced and harrowing, reminiscent of those in 2008's "The Hurt Locker." Like that film, Sniper can be interpreted either as a patriotic salute or as an incisive anti-war movie. In either case, it's a powerful, moving and tragic tale.
  59. Go
    This dark comedy comes off more giddy than gritty.
    • USA Today
  60. Impressive yet always self-conscious, Perdition has more class and less sass than any movie in a while.
  61. It's hard to recall the last movie that has left such an emotionally searing question dangling in the mind: "What if ... ?"
  62. Think "Animal Farm" redone as Ant Farm. [2 October 1998, p. 11E]
    • USA Today
  63. There is a compelling ethical question raised skillfully that will haunt viewers. The poignant conclusion probably will incite debate.
  64. Almost as impressive as Tatum's moves are his comic flair and breezy grace. He proved his comic talents earlier this year in "21 Jump Street" and shows them off winningly here.
  65. Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are particularly funny in their middle-management roles.
  66. Depp deserves kudos for fashioning an original and outlandish if occasionally menacing character.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Unpretentious as it is, Big takes you beyond laughter, to where you live. And there's nothing small about that. [3 Jun 1988, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  67. Quinceañera is a spirited and poignant exploration of the bonds and challenges facing a Latino family and the pains of a community undergoing a transition of its own.
  68. A rich gem expertly told in a surprisingly scant 95 minutes.
  69. JFK
    JFK is provocative, a technical primer and an ensemble treat with unusually well- realized star cameos. [20 Dec 1991]
    • USA Today
  70. With its complex look at storytelling, imagination and the teacher-student dynamic, In the House is an elaborate cinematic fresco.
  71. Earnest and understated, Gran Torino is an unflinching examination of themes that have fascinated Eastwood in most of his recent films: family, war, loss, faith and unexpected human connection.
  72. A moving documentary that informs, entertains and inspires.
  73. One of the film's strengths is that nobody -- male, female, gay, straight or Jewish mother -- is reduced to stereotype.
    • USA Today
  74. Fortunately, a movie that needs some levity gets a comic boost from William H. Macy as a fictional racing handicapper from the golden days of radio. As if training a horse, Macy cues us to laugh every time he's on screen.
  75. Shot in semidocumentary fashion, it builds to a more visceral climax than one initially expects. [26Nov1997 Pg.09.D]
    • USA Today
  76. If you've watched the BBC series "Planet Earth," then Earth will seem like a familiar, if stunning, global rewarming.
  77. A rousing spectacle.
  78. Ultimately, this film is more interesting than rousing; missing is a John Ford-ian wealth of idiosyncratic characters. [9 Nov 1990, Life, 4D]
    • USA Today
  79. Good Hair is cause for hope that Rock continues to make documentaries. His style is lively, smooth and up-to-date, like the most coveted 'do.
  80. Light as a feather. [8 March 1996, p.D1]
    • USA Today
  81. This wryly funny take on the classic ghost story, with its tributes to horror thrillers from "Halloween" to "Friday the 13th" and rich cast of characters, has distinctive Tim Burton-esque visuals, and a welcome dearth of potty humor.
  82. Hellboy's cheeky attitude and snarky dialogue, specifically Perlman's snidely funny lines, are the highlights.
  83. Yet, when it all clicks, Ephron is able to make the familiar sparkle anew. [25 Jun 1993 Pg. 01.D]
    • USA Today
  84. It's equally endearing as a sweetly funny romance between two likable oddballs and as a low-tech time-travel thriller, and has something profound to say about making the most of the present.
  85. Spectacular special effects, superbly crafted action sequences, plenty of humor and terrific performances render it a cut above most summer blockbusters.
  86. Newcomer Shameik Moore shines with geeky gusto in a breakthrough role in the coming-of-age comedy/drama, which tackles racial stereotypes and 1990s culture as a kind of spiritual descendant of "Friday" and "Do the Right Thing" while still featuring a singular voice.
  87. All three actors give it their all, but Monaghan stands out with a sexy yet oddly down-to-earth variation on the Midwest girl gone wrong, thanks partly to a dark dysfunctional family secret.
  88. Every performance in the film is flawless.
  89. This sci-fi thriller has an engrossing plot and a strong cast of fully drawn characters. There's even a sweet youthful love story. In other words, it's a summer blockbuster firing on all cylinders.
  90. War Horse will likely take its place alongside beloved family films. But that doesn't mean sitting through it is pure pleasure. It's a long slog at almost 2½ hours, and occasionally it resorts to obvious sentimentality. At times it's hard to escape the sense that we're watching "Saving Private Ryan"-meets-"The Black Stallion."
  91. A documentary that dissects the essence of comedy as well as showcases outrageous improvisational humor.
  92. Easy A not only makes the grade, but it comes in close to 100%.
  93. With Halloween bags still brimming, it's an ideal time for the inventive candy-colored fun and wicked humor that is Wreck-It Ralph.
  94. If Martin Scorsese's staggeringly ambitious one-of-a-kind finally has too many flaws to be great, it has as much greatness in it as any movie this year.
  95. Even when there are lulls, the emotions seem authentic.
  96. A chilly oddball that's easier to admire than love.
    • USA Today
  97. Few filmmakers of the past 20 years have mesmerized as much in their use of crisp, color-drenched photography.
  98. It's also as good as "Out of Africa."
  99. This is one inspiring movie despite extremely tricky subject matter -- better than "Shine" and among the most affecting ever made about co-existing with mental demons.

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