USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,341 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 Winter's Bone
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,341 movie reviews
  1. This slice of American life, as seen through the eyes of Palestinian immigrants, is nuanced, engaging and authentically observed.
  2. Cars is a classic American tale firing on all cylinders and fueled by organic emotion and a lively sense of adventure.
  3. Mostly, it's just wicked fun.
  4. Stands apart for its raw, quiet emotion and its shattering sense of truth.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. July is solid throwback storytelling, a crime yarn that may not blow you away but can cut to the bone.
  9. A first-rate office comedy of prickly exchanges.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. Ray
    Ray could not have been made without star Jamie Foxx.
  13. There's a lot here to feed crime-fiction enthusiasts.
  14. A mesmerizing look at the mythic quality and anarchic spirit of the irreverent and rabble-rousing journalist.
  15. 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]
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  16. 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
  17. Carell accomplishes the task of being sweet-natured without becoming cloying.
  18. Takes a fascinating chapter in Danish history, little-known to general audiences, and presents it engagingly.
  19. No situation could be more human, and it's one the youth-dominated film industry rarely touches.
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Forget "Twilight." Fans of vampire movies are not likely to see anything more graphic, extreme or twisted than Thirst.
  25. Notes on a Scandal may be disturbing, but it is a potent and captivating account of misconduct and betrayal.
  26. 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
  27. An historical opus that is equal parts ballet and biography, though the second component pales in comparison with the first.
  28. Go
    This dark comedy comes off more giddy than gritty.
    • USA Today
  29. Impressive yet always self-conscious, Perdition has more class and less sass than any movie in a while.
  30. It's hard to recall the last movie that has left such an emotionally searing question dangling in the mind: "What if ... ?"
  31. Think "Animal Farm" redone as Ant Farm. [2 October 1998, p. 11E]
    • USA Today
  32. There is a compelling ethical question raised skillfully that will haunt viewers. The poignant conclusion probably will incite debate.
  33. 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.
  34. Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are particularly funny in their middle-management roles.
  35. Depp deserves kudos for fashioning an original and outlandish if occasionally menacing character.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Big
    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
  36. 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.
  37. A rich gem expertly told in a surprisingly scant 95 minutes.
  38. JFK
    JFK is provocative, a technical primer and an ensemble treat with unusually well- realized star cameos. [20 Dec 1991]
    • USA Today
  39. With its complex look at storytelling, imagination and the teacher-student dynamic, In the House is an elaborate cinematic fresco.
  40. 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.
  41. A moving documentary that informs, entertains and inspires.
  42. One of the film's strengths is that nobody -- male, female, gay, straight or Jewish mother -- is reduced to stereotype.
    • USA Today
  43. 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.
  44. Shot in semidocumentary fashion, it builds to a more visceral climax than one initially expects. [26Nov1997 Pg.09.D]
    • USA Today
  45. If you've watched the BBC series "Planet Earth," then Earth will seem like a familiar, if stunning, global rewarming.
  46. A rousing spectacle.
  47. 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
  48. 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.
  49. Light as a feather. [8 March 1996, p.D1]
    • USA Today
  50. 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.
  51. Hellboy's cheeky attitude and snarky dialogue, specifically Perlman's snidely funny lines, are the highlights.
  52. Yet, when it all clicks, Ephron is able to make the familiar sparkle anew. [25 Jun 1993 Pg. 01.D]
    • USA Today
  53. 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.
  54. Spectacular special effects, superbly crafted action sequences, plenty of humor and terrific performances render it a cut above most summer blockbusters.
  55. 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.
  56. Every performance in the film is flawless.
  57. 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.
  58. 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."
  59. A documentary that dissects the essence of comedy as well as showcases outrageous improvisational humor.
  60. Easy A not only makes the grade, but it comes in close to 100%.
  61. With Halloween bags still brimming, it's an ideal time for the inventive candy-colored fun and wicked humor that is Wreck-It Ralph.
  62. 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.
  63. Even when there are lulls, the emotions seem authentic.
  64. A chilly oddball that's easier to admire than love.
    • USA Today
  65. Few filmmakers of the past 20 years have mesmerized as much in their use of crisp, color-drenched photography.
  66. It's also as good as "Out of Africa."
  67. 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.
  68. So many movies try to capture human relationships and fail miserably. A few come close. Your Sister's Sister nails it with grace, humor and winning charm.
  69. Fassbender's portrayal is truly haunting, and when he sobs, dramatically unraveling, it's clear he's imprisoned by his physical urges.
  70. You could be cynical about the first movie produced by the coffee colossus Starbucks. But there's nothing cynical about Akeelah's story of courage and determination.
  71. A good-natured and engaging fantasy/romantic comedy in the tradition of "Heaven Can Wait" or even "Topper."
  72. This is economy of style that Americans get only in Woody Allen movies -- and even that's not a guarantee.
  73. A Johnny Cash biopic equally packed with music and frustrated love, Walk the Line goes from compelling to enthralling.
  74. Proof that Allen, who many have dismissed with his last few forgettable films, is still a filmmaking force.
  75. Part of the appeal is the underlying theme of the torch being passed between generations. Think how disappointing it would have been had Dana become an insurance actuary instead of a surfing filmmaker.
  76. This time, he (Ang Lee) has Kevin Kline, Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver trudging through ice both emotional and literal -- an omnipresent metaphor but not one unduly sledgehammered. [26 September 1997, pg. 1 D}
    • USA Today
  77. This fun-filled adventure avoids formula with a whimsical story and terrific voice casting.
  78. Deftly balancing the students' stories with that of Courtney's, the film creates a fully rounded portrait of a corner of America rarely examined.
  79. The special effects continue to be masterful, but villains are given a new twist, and Order of the Phoenix is all the more fun because of it.
  80. And that's Fed Up's ultimate, if not fatal, weakness: The movie seems to acquit consumers of any culpability in our health crisis.
  81. Smashed is quietly affecting, though sometimes difficult to sit through. The saving grace is Winstead's smashing performance.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    But this telling of the story filmed on location in the now democratic South Africa is especially heart-rending thanks to superb performances by James Earl Jones and Richard Harris. [1 Jan 2000]
    • USA Today
  82. For all its inconsistencies, this is Smith's most provocative outing yet and certainly the toughest to forget.
  83. Like "The Departed" and "Gone Baby Gone," What Doesn't Kill You is an engrossing, gritty, sharply written and well-acted drama set on the mean streets of South Boston.
  84. It's fairly solid fun, though, without breaking any new ground, just as January's remake of "Assault on Precinct 13" was.
  85. It's likely to be overrated by some and underrated by others, and both contingents will be wrong. One can't, however, overrate the performances, with auntie ruling the roost in more ways than one. [29 Mar 1996, p.4D]
    • USA Today
  86. Even in the classiest movie summer of the decade, Mob is destined to demand respect for Pfeiffer. [19 Aug 1988]
    • USA Today
  87. Well-told fanciful tales aimed at children but appreciated by adults are a rarity, and The Water Horse should be savored for the exuberantly entertaining ride it offers.
  88. If Wonderland is difficult to embrace, it is easy to admire.
  89. Girls isn't fabulous, but you do feel its characters really have connected.
  90. By emphasizing surreal humor and fast-paced action instead, Rodriguez has crafted a prepubescent version of James Bond without aping that series' style.
  91. An irreverent and witty comedy in which the events aren't predictable but are well paced.
  92. The film is an impressive effort, yet often a trying one.
  93. The razor-sharp satire Thank You for Smoking is the wittiest dark comedy of the year thus far. It has appeal to all sides of the political spectrum.
  94. The car chases are unremarkable, but the stunts — which comically juxtapose Tatum's athletic grace and Hill's stocky clumsiness — are a hoot.
  95. Aside from the "Nutty Professor," this is the funniest Murphy comedy since the Reagan Administration.
    • USA Today
  96. A sharp-tongued, subtly nuanced tragicomedy starring Jennifer Aniston, who shows her depth as a serious actress in this dark tale.
  97. Not brilliantly funny nor incisively clever, Intolerable Cruelty is still moderately satirical and laugh-out-loud enjoyable.
  98. Downey is absurdly funny.

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