USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,504 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 Stevie
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3504 movie reviews
  1. With Halloween bags still brimming, it's an ideal time for the inventive candy-colored fun and wicked humor that is Wreck-It Ralph.
  2. 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.
  3. Even when there are lulls, the emotions seem authentic.
  4. A chilly oddball that's easier to admire than love.
    • USA Today
  5. Few filmmakers of the past 20 years have mesmerized as much in their use of crisp, color-drenched photography.
  6. It's also as good as "Out of Africa."
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Fassbender's portrayal is truly haunting, and when he sobs, dramatically unraveling, it's clear he's imprisoned by his physical urges.
  10. The film is involving, nimbly acted and smartly directed, though conventional in its narrative style.
  11. 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.
  12. A good-natured and engaging fantasy/romantic comedy in the tradition of "Heaven Can Wait" or even "Topper."
  13. This is economy of style that Americans get only in Woody Allen movies -- and even that's not a guarantee.
  14. A Johnny Cash biopic equally packed with music and frustrated love, Walk the Line goes from compelling to enthralling.
  15. Proof that Allen, who many have dismissed with his last few forgettable films, is still a filmmaking force.
  16. While other Alzheimer's-related films, including "Amour," "Iris" and "Away from Her", delved more deeply into the subject, Alice is understated yet still moving.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. This fun-filled adventure avoids formula with a whimsical story and terrific voice casting.
  20. Deftly balancing the students' stories with that of Courtney's, the film creates a fully rounded portrait of a corner of America rarely examined.
  21. 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.
  22. And that's Fed Up's ultimate, if not fatal, weakness: The movie seems to acquit consumers of any culpability in our health crisis.
  23. 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
  24. For all its inconsistencies, this is Smith's most provocative outing yet and certainly the toughest to forget.
  25. 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.
  26. It's fairly solid fun, though, without breaking any new ground, just as January's remake of "Assault on Precinct 13" was.
  27. 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
  28. Even in the classiest movie summer of the decade, Mob is destined to demand respect for Pfeiffer. [19 Aug 1988]
    • USA Today
  29. 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.
  30. If Wonderland is difficult to embrace, it is easy to admire.
  31. Girls isn't fabulous, but you do feel its characters really have connected.
  32. By emphasizing surreal humor and fast-paced action instead, Rodriguez has crafted a prepubescent version of James Bond without aping that series' style.
  33. An irreverent and witty comedy in which the events aren't predictable but are well paced.
  34. The film is an impressive effort, yet often a trying one.
  35. 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.
  36. Aside from the "Nutty Professor," this is the funniest Murphy comedy since the Reagan Administration.
    • USA Today
  37. A sharp-tongued, subtly nuanced tragicomedy starring Jennifer Aniston, who shows her depth as a serious actress in this dark tale.
  38. Not brilliantly funny nor incisively clever, Intolerable Cruelty is still moderately satirical and laugh-out-loud enjoyable.
  39. Downey is absurdly funny.
  40. Despite Thurman's unlikely role, she's rather appealing with De Niro, but the De Niro-Murray chemistry isn't convincing. Murray, a breeze in Groundhog Day, seems tensed up here; the film, long on the shelf and with long-shot cult potential, brings no discredit upon its makers, but no glory either. [5 Mar 1993, p.5D]
    • USA Today
  41. Unfortunately, Red Eye goes from being a powerful thriller to a far more predictable story of revenge.
  42. Though not exactly innovative, Tangled has a snappy pace and the Broadway-style appeal of classic Disney fare.
  43. Cruise and Blunt have a measure of chemistry, however their characters go undeveloped, given short shrift amid the spectacle. But the pulse-pounding action scenes are briskly directed by Doug Liman.
  44. Uneven, amateurish and borderline misogynistic. But it's also very funny, and it never loses its cool.
  45. It's as disturbing a movie as you are likely to witness this year. [21Feb1997 Pg.04.D]
    • USA Today
  46. The car chases are unremarkable, but the stunts — which comically juxtapose Tatum's athletic grace and Hill's stocky clumsiness — are a hoot.
  47. While on sardonic turf, it's scathingly funny. Then it veers from biting wit to pitiful. At one juncture, the story threatens to spin off into "Fatal Attraction" territory.
  48. Mike Nichols may never direct another ground-breaking movie, but even with bit performers he is still Mike Midas. Leads and lesser players alike have pointed things to say in this solid, not great, entertainment; if you think this is a movie for you - it probably is. [12 Sep 1990, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  49. The movie wouldn't be imaginable without its commanding star. Nicholson is in virtually every scene underplaying to great effect
    • USA Today
  50. There are explosions, double-crosses and chase sequences, but it just doesn't add up to edge-of-your-seat tension.
  51. It's a sweet tale, but the movie's real subject is Zhang, the camera's muse that the lens adores.
  52. This mid-19th century tale of survival after the death of a parent is still compelling today, and its message of strength and the importance of family continues to resonate.
  53. Charming and inspiring.
  54. Fincher's electrifying storytelling makes the most of unsettling visuals, large casts, complex plots and sharp dialogue.
  55. This low-key and engrossing Belfast-based drama is as much a well-acted character study as it is a thriller about the conflict in Northern Ireland.
  56. The look of the story is an undeniable treat, and the message it weaves is both funny and sweet. Horton Hears a Who! is razzle-dazzling and artful, and it builds on Seuss' words by the clever cart-full.
  57. Note this in your Starlog: Tacky toupees are out. Chrome domes are in. And not only is the future in safe hands, so is the "Star Trek" franchise. [22 Nov 1996 Pg.05.D]
    • USA Today
  58. Thing's opening hour is fast-paced, though not fast enough to obscure the reality that "American Graffiti" and "Diner" had sharper writing and certainly more psychological depth. [04 Oct 1996, Pg.01.D]
    • USA Today
  59. Not since Demi Moore lived happily ever after in "The Scarlet Letter" has a filmmaker felt so free to fudge a famous plot.
  60. Warrior is a relentless, emotionally engaging family drama and underdog saga with touches of "Rocky" mixed with "The Fighter."
  61. The latest version of Hardy's 1874 classic works on all levels. Foremost, it is brilliantly directed by Thomas Vinterberg,who also made two other masterful dramas, 2012's "The Huntand" 1998's "The Celebration."
  62. A dream for fans of offbeat, well-written, subtly acted projects.
  63. This morally ambiguous tale of dangerous liaisons and bewildering choices amounts to one of the year's most intriguing dramas.
  64. Like the book, the movie blends a primitive quality with an imaginative artfulness. It also amplifies upon the story's gentle, sly wit.
  65. Feast upon a career-peak Willem Dafoe performance as a bat-eared fiend who is foul, funny, ferocious, forlorn and unforgettable.
  66. The nonstop amusing mockumentary Waiting for Guffman does to small-town acting troupes what "This Is Spinal Tap did to heavy-metal bands."
    • USA Today
  67. This Lynch-ian knockoff is moodily monotonal, but the sameness is wearying.
  68. Glum and preachy.
  69. The warden implores the prisoners to relinquish their weapons, and out of the cells come flying a zillion blades of all sizes. In a Mel Brooks movie, this bit would be funny. Here, it sums up the chilling situation in five seconds.
  70. Shake it all up and you get Collateral, a movie with only one conceivable flaw: its disinclination to break new ground, though no one held that against "The Fugitive" more than a decade of Augusts ago.
  71. The clash over the house quickly escalates into a modern-day tragedy. It is a fascinating film, handsomely adapted from the book and well directed.
  72. Lee captures the despair, self-delusion, occasional terror and frequent humor of a praised and popular novel, aided by the potent acting his direction virtually guarantees. [13 Sep 1995, p.01.D]
    • USA Today
  73. It's great to see an action-adventure family film with heart as well as humor, whimsy alongside wisdom, and a compelling narrative.
  74. Beguiling Victoriana. [18 July 1997, p.4D]
    • USA Today
  75. A hard-core war film with raw violence, intense action, graphic sexuality and a twisting plot that offers a series of surprises.
  76. Doremus' elegant filmmaking is key to the appeal of the film, but it would never work as superbly without the wonderfully natural, believable performances and powerful chemistry of the lead actors.
  77. It's a meandering film that prompts the viewer to anticipate characters' actions. Fortunately, they don't take predictable paths.
  78. It's made expressly for fans of unmitigated gore.
  79. This movie doesn't make you think you are watching art. It's closer to a high-end TV movie with lots of familiar faces.
  80. The finale, which utilizes vintage home movies to show us the real people we've just seen portrayed, packs a wallop. [19 February 1999, Life, p.13E]
    • USA Today
  81. The snappy sci-fi hoot Men in Black...is a kind of "Independence Day" for smart people.
  82. The musical numbers, with Brown's remixed vocals and Boseman re-creating his signature dance moves, are mesmerizing.
  83. It says something that during a scene in which nude chorines are turned into a fleshy backdrop, you spend as much time looking at your watch as what's on screen.
  84. An engaging tragicomedy, exploring the consequences of single-minded fervor in a humorous and humane fashion.
  85. This quirky, winning sleeper from first-time director Jenniphr Goodman has its pokey moments, but it's no insult to say that it is as pleasantly easygoing as its slacker hero.
  86. Uniformly robust acting puts still more feathers in the caps of Rush, Winslet and Caine.
  87. Damon convincingly matches Williams recrimination for recrimination in this portrayal of mutual tough love, even with the latter giving what may be the best performance of his career.
  88. But all the devices and upgrades do little to bring the poetry's meaning into clearer and more relevant focus for today's audiences.
    • USA Today
  89. The early going -- say, an hour -- is spent in a fatigued daze. A few powerful jabs eventually punch things up.
  90. It may be the most disturbing film you'll see in a long time.
  91. There are ribald jokes and gross-out episodes, but the movie works because everything hinges on the camaraderie and undeniable chemistry between Rudd and Segel.
  92. For those who want to feel like they're 110 stories up and living in the clouds, Hollywood does its job conjuring movie magic with a breathtaking Walk to remember.
  93. Despite a slight tendency to be overly pleased with itself, this is a smart piece of work that got Arcand's screenplay an award at Cannes.
  94. One of the best football movies ever, Nights in the end celebrates the game.
  95. In a role as tailor-made for him as the story is for its writer and director, Nicolas Cage anchors the movie with one of his best performances.
    • USA Today
  96. Fortune is smiling down on veteran filmmaker Robert Altman with Cookie's Fortune.
    • USA Today
  97. This may be the most uncompromisingly raw police drama since "Across 110th Street," starring Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto.
  98. Skirts dangerously close to being the thing it parodies: a second-rate space opera.
    • USA Today
  99. With a little sex, some mystery, a little sex, an appealing title and a little sex, France's Swimming Pool has what it takes to become an art house audience magnet, especially amid the heat of summer.

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