USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,361 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 The King's Speech
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,361 movie reviews
  1. A sharp-tongued, subtly nuanced tragicomedy starring Jennifer Aniston, who shows her depth as a serious actress in this dark tale.
  2. Not brilliantly funny nor incisively clever, Intolerable Cruelty is still moderately satirical and laugh-out-loud enjoyable.
  3. Downey is absurdly funny.
  4. 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]
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  5. Unfortunately, Red Eye goes from being a powerful thriller to a far more predictable story of revenge.
  6. Though not exactly innovative, Tangled has a snappy pace and the Broadway-style appeal of classic Disney fare.
  7. 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.
  8. Uneven, amateurish and borderline misogynistic. But it's also very funny, and it never loses its cool.
  9. It's as disturbing a movie as you are likely to witness this year. [21Feb1997 Pg.04.D]
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  10. 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.
  11. 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]
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  12. The movie wouldn't be imaginable without its commanding star. Nicholson is in virtually every scene underplaying to great effect
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  13. There are explosions, double-crosses and chase sequences, but it just doesn't add up to edge-of-your-seat tension.
  14. It's a sweet tale, but the movie's real subject is Zhang, the camera's muse that the lens adores.
  15. 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.
  16. Charming and inspiring.
  17. Fincher's electrifying storytelling makes the most of unsettling visuals, large casts, complex plots and sharp dialogue.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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]
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  21. 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]
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  22. Not since Demi Moore lived happily ever after in "The Scarlet Letter" has a filmmaker felt so free to fudge a famous plot.
  23. Warrior is a relentless, emotionally engaging family drama and underdog saga with touches of "Rocky" mixed with "The Fighter."
  24. A dream for fans of offbeat, well-written, subtly acted projects.
  25. The musical numbers, with Brown's remixed vocals and Boseman re-creating his signature dance moves, are mesmerizing.
  26. This morally ambiguous tale of dangerous liaisons and bewildering choices amounts to one of the year's most intriguing dramas.
  27. Like the book, the movie blends a primitive quality with an imaginative artfulness. It also amplifies upon the story's gentle, sly wit.
  28. Feast upon a career-peak Willem Dafoe performance as a bat-eared fiend who is foul, funny, ferocious, forlorn and unforgettable.
  29. The nonstop amusing mockumentary Waiting for Guffman does to small-town acting troupes what "This Is Spinal Tap did to heavy-metal bands."
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  30. This Lynch-ian knockoff is moodily monotonal, but the sameness is wearying.
  31. Glum and preachy.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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]
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  36. It's great to see an action-adventure family film with heart as well as humor, whimsy alongside wisdom, and a compelling narrative.
  37. Beguiling Victoriana. [18 July 1997, p.4D]
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  38. A hard-core war film with raw violence, intense action, graphic sexuality and a twisting plot that offers a series of surprises.
  39. 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.
  40. It's a meandering film that prompts the viewer to anticipate characters' actions. Fortunately, they don't take predictable paths.
  41. It's made expressly for fans of unmitigated gore.
  42. 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.
  43. 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]
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  44. The snappy sci-fi hoot Men in Black...is a kind of "Independence Day" for smart people.
  45. 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.
  46. An engaging tragicomedy, exploring the consequences of single-minded fervor in a humorous and humane fashion.
  47. 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.
  48. Uniformly robust acting puts still more feathers in the caps of Rush, Winslet and Caine.
  49. 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.
  50. But all the devices and upgrades do little to bring the poetry's meaning into clearer and more relevant focus for today's audiences.
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  51. The early going -- say, an hour -- is spent in a fatigued daze. A few powerful jabs eventually punch things up.
  52. It may be the most disturbing film you'll see in a long time.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. One of the best football movies ever, Nights in the end celebrates the game.
  56. 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.
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  57. Fortune is smiling down on veteran filmmaker Robert Altman with Cookie's Fortune.
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  58. This may be the most uncompromisingly raw police drama since "Across 110th Street," starring Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto.
  59. Skirts dangerously close to being the thing it parodies: a second-rate space opera.
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  60. 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.
  61. It's all very slight and only sporadically amusing, and it makes Allen's "Celebrity" from last year look even more underrated than it already is.
  62. An often breathlessly exciting action thriller told with humor and intelligence.
  63. As exhilarating, captivating and enjoyable as a summer romance in an exotic city.
  64. A welcome adult alternative to summer's sophomoric blockbusters. The only transforming going on here is actors skillfully taking on roles of '30s-era gangsters and lawmen.
  65. Though the story teeters on easy sentimentality, it doesn't succumb. Though unabashedly emotional, it isn't maudlin. Tsotsi's story feels believable. It is made all the more engaging by a wonderful soundtrack of African Kwaito music.
  66. Worth seeing just for the superb prosthetic makeup and seamless computer-generated effects in which Pitt's head is digitally imposed onto older bodies.
  67. A coming-of-age tale that truly floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.
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  68. There are some effectively suspenseful moments in the movie, particularly during the gambling sequences, but one longs for more context and probing into the psyche of an ordinary man with an extraordinary compulsion.
  69. One wishes producer Spike Lee had stepped in to give the dialogue some sass.
  70. Yet because this adaptation of Franz Lidz's childhood memoir is odd enough and even stylish enough to attract a small following, you might want to weigh my ingrained dyspepsia before electing not to see it. [15 Sep 1995]
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  71. While the attractive cast is willing, the translation into '90s teen culture is weak -- like a clueless adult's notion of cool.
  72. The most powerful of all recent wayward-youth sagas; indeed, it's tough to recall the last such drama that packed as much emotional clout.
  73. The goofiest, giddiest and, yes, grooviest animated trip since Aladdin unbottled its genie.
  74. It all adds up to belly laughs aplenty and a rollicking good time.
  75. Joyeux Noël is gritty and disturbing with its extended scenes of war and destruction. It also is emotional, even a touch sentimental.
  76. As coldly calculating and infuriating as it can be, the film and its production design are stunning. But characters' actions and motivations are beyond comprehension.
  77. The Curse of the Golden Flower is the year's most operatic and visually lavish film.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Perhaps Nichols and May's greatest accomplishment is capturing perfectly on film the mysterious, complex, compromised relationship the public has with today's political leaders.
  78. Half-factual, half-fanciful and all funny, this labor of love is also unexpectedly touching. [28 September 1994, Life, p.5D]
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  79. The look of the film is dazzling, even hallucinatory, and the concept is beyond quirky as conceived by Gondry, a talented visual stylist, in his first film based on his own script. The story is compelling, unconventional and diverting in its blurring of reality and fantasy.
  80. The Hoax lures you in with its captivating performances.
  81. The opposite of entertainment, a self-satisfied soap opera from hell. But anyone itchy to see Ricci in her fleshy glory will adore her femme fatale for the Jerry Springer age, a Stanwyck stoked on steroids and SweeTarts.
  82. The new Wuthering Heightsis all gloomy moors and muck, but not much convincing passion.
  83. Unstintingly explores and exposes excruciating pain, raw grief, ruinous vengeance and life-affirming resilience, creating human portraits that are uncommonly exhilarating in their honesty. This is cinematic art in its highest form.
  84. Caramel is a sweeter and more believable version of "Steel Magnolias," Middle Eastern style.
  85. Though the plot can be vague and occasionally convoluted, Harrelson is mesmerizing.
  86. Lethal Weapon 2 is bang-bang and brain-dead in roughly equal measure. If there's an advantage this time out, it's that the film seems to play the action (and its lead character's psychoses) more for laughs. [7 Jul 1989, p.1D]
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  87. The result is a foot-stomping rouser. Where else can you get a cop in his underwear boogalooing with skyscraper terrorists? [15 July 1988, Life, p.4D]
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  88. Circle has a wit and warmth that makes something as glibly contemporary as Reality Bites seem trite and toothless. [15 Mar 1995, Pg.06.D]
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  89. While potent and well-paced, Contagion doesn't come together as the fearsome bio-thriller it starts out to be. But it may make audiences twitchy about the guy coughing in the next row.
  90. Chicken With Plums is not a thoroughly delectable concoction, but its exotic flavor is worth sampling.
  91. With its unflinching style, Training Day can be hard to sit through at times. But it's worth the discomfort for the adrenaline rush of the plot and Washington's compelling performance.
  92. This is a filmmaker who instinctively knows that a shot of Santa sitting at a bar as Ricky Nelson sings Jingle Bells will be no-frills funny.
  93. It could have delved a little deeper to keep us wide-eyed and engaged.
  94. It's a pleasure to watch these men perform. These are real-life guitar heroes. But it would have been a treat to see more of them talking shop.
  95. This is a Frank Capra-meets-Judd Apatow comedy with a sweetness-laced ribaldry.
  96. A gently funny ensemble comedy that feels less like a movie than a short story.
  97. At a time when romantic comedies seem to have exhausted unique ideas, along comes Lars, an original, amusing and heartfelt tale sharply written by Nancy Oliver (Six Feet Under).
  98. A few crude verbal exchanges nearly got Clerks an NC-17 rating; some (not all) of these provide some of the funniest moments in a film that's funny about 30% of the time. [24 Oct 1994]
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  99. The movie and its theme of self-acceptance has an honesty, undercut by occasional preciousness, that makes it worth seeing.

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