USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,440 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 Black Swan
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,440 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. The new Wuthering Heightsis all gloomy moors and muck, but not much convincing passion.
  3. 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.
  4. Caramel is a sweeter and more believable version of "Steel Magnolias," Middle Eastern style.
  5. Though the plot can be vague and occasionally convoluted, Harrelson is mesmerizing.
  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. It could have delved a little deeper to keep us wide-eyed and engaged.
  13. 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.
  14. This is a Frank Capra-meets-Judd Apatow comedy with a sweetness-laced ribaldry.
  15. A gently funny ensemble comedy that feels less like a movie than a short story.
  16. 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).
  17. 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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  18. The movie and its theme of self-acceptance has an honesty, undercut by occasional preciousness, that makes it worth seeing.
  19. Tarantino exercises both his obsession with vengeance and his fascination with the movies.
  20. Just as its characters need a reason to live, Go needs a reason for audiences to watch. Neither find much satisfaction.
  21. Babel may be the most ambitious movie of the year, tackling towering communication barriers, global politics and cultural divides in a structurally complex and fascinating narrative.
  22. It's a maniacal performance, complete with mad gales of laughter and insane bouts of temper. Cage doesn't go over the top, but he teeters darn close.
  23. Scott paces the film like its mechanized star: deliberately and, ultimately, with enough speed to keep its passengers satisfied.
  24. It's a lively, psychologically astute tale filled with humanity, wit and charming performances.
  25. Flaws are outweighed by Crash's intricate construction and intelligent.
  26. Irresistibly endearing, with a visual verve all its own.
  27. The soundtrack (which includes James Brown, Michael Jackson and The Commodores) is better than a K-Tel "Best of the '70s" compilation, and the broad physical comedy is as reliable as a brick house.
  28. Slither is old-school gooey, slimy, silly B-movie fun.
  29. It's not quite up to the caliber of Richard Yates' novel, which is deeply nuanced and rich in subtext. But the performances are superb, and the film is beautifully shot.
  30. Diverting enough if you want to see plenty of fast-paced action sequences, some heart-stopping chase scenes and plenty of things blow up.
  31. Palo Alto marks one of those rare films that is so accurate in its portrayal of characters that the movie suffers for it.
  32. While it doesn't scratch much below the surface, The September Issue is an entertainingly voyeuristic glimpse into the fashion world.
  33. A premier boxing movie and a forceful Depression remembrance for the socially conscious, Cinderella Man also ices it for stargazers that Russell Crowe is the dominant screen actor working today.
  34. Grabber sub-plots further boost a story that is basically made by its three leads.
  35. Best scenes: Campbell pondering whether to squash her dismembered head in a vice, and a later quandary when he must shotgun his own dismembered hand. Moral: Pimples aren't the worst thing that can happen to your body. [11 Sept 1987, Life, p.3D]
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  36. So with its smart writing delivered by an in-synch quartet, savor Duplicity as the ideal spring gift.
  37. The Painted Veil is a welcome addition to the slate of holiday movies, particularly for those drawn to intriguing tales of multi-dimensional characters in exotic settings.
  38. The low-key satire would have benefited from more of a back story to Giamatti's character and a clearer sense of his relationship with his wife. But what we do get is compelling in the way of an indelible, dreamy short story.
  39. Jewel is more like an acting zircon because she just can't project, but at least she looks the part, and her novelty value isn't unwelcome.
  40. A gut-busting blast of tasteless tomfoolery.
  41. Though this is a tough movie to dislike, it plays more like a second draft than a final product.
  42. Whedon weaves a story that allows each of the heroes to do what they do best. And while they may not have exactly equal time, audiences get enough of each to feel satisfied, but not sated. Clever work, indeed.
  43. Though less than the sum of its brilliant parts, the Coens' latest will still be must viewing in 32 years. [21 Aug 1991]
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  44. Observing Zellweger as she dispenses her brand of movie magic definitely is good for what ails you.
  45. Pocahontas catching us off-guard with an impromptu cartwheel isn't the knock-you-down brainstorm of Naomi Watts juggling for King Kong, but it's still deliciously inspired. Trouble is, the bit lasts two seconds, while the movie is a long "might have been" that's doomed to be buried in a flurry of strong late-year releases.
  46. Bolstered by the natural performances of a trio of little-known actors, the very watchable Chronicle keeps us captive throughout.
  47. Crisply shot and voiced by a legion of Brits, the animated Arthur seems aimed at the Scrooge and caroler in all of us.
  48. Excesses or not, I'm rabid to see this again. [10 Mar 1989, p.1D]
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  49. The notion that children are raised on fairy tales and the question of how those early stories affect us all — even into adulthood — remains fascinating and is delivered here with visual panache and musical flair.
  50. This is definitely the year of Philip Seymour Hoffman.In Charlie Wilson's War, he and Tom Hanks make a particularly sharp and engaging duo, bouncing clever lines off each other as if it were a verbal ping-pong match.
  51. This intriguing and well-acted gender-bending story occasionally feels like "The Crying Game" meets "Looper."
  52. Chicken With Plums is not a thoroughly delectable concoction, but its exotic flavor is worth sampling.
  53. Sayles is clearly aiming to construct a multilevel character study and sociological portrait, but too often the film lapses into a lecture.
  54. A largely irresistible puff piece.
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  55. Of all unlikely possibilities, the team has finally made a movie that, for them, is on the tepid side.
  56. Imagine a blend of "Snatch," "Ocean's 11" and "The Italian Job." Then juxtapose the staples of the caper genre with real events involving national security and high-level corruption, and the result is The Bank Job.
  57. Talk to Me speaks powerfully to audiences with its potent blend of extraordinary performances and engaging soundtrack.
  58. Once you're onto its wavelength (it doesn't take long), Linklater's passing parade starts to ring true. [15 Aug. 1991, p. 5D]
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  59. The movie is well-written, well-acted, acerbic, funny and wisely observed. Fans of the book will be glad to hear it is faithful to Green's tale.
  60. The dialogue is fast-paced and full of pop-culture references. It all makes for an entertaining blend of buddy-cop action and irreverent teen-comedy satire.
  61. It's certainly not Mamet's signature rapid-fire dialogue, but it's an intriguing and engrossing departure.
  62. More admirable than riveting, Fair Game works best as a portrait of power games at the highest levels.
  63. A few scenes in World's Greatest Dad may qualify it as the most uncomfortable and unsettling movie to sit through of any this year.
  64. Drop is based on Lehane's short story Animal Rescue, and the terrific cast and punchy dialogue make it particularly worth seeing, bringing energy to a deliberately-paced tale that occasionally feels plodding.
  65. It's simple stuff, but the movie's heart is in the right place.
  66. An ambitious and occasionally illuminating hybrid documentary. But a cacophony of sights and sounds and a disjointed narrative dilute the message.
  67. The movie features a musical score aimed more at boomer parents than their tykes.
  68. Bill re-establishes that Tarantino ranks with "Boogie Nights'" Paul Thomas Anderson as one of the few Hollywood filmmakers of the past 25 years with the stuff to win a lifetime achievement award.
  69. Scott Pilgrim, a lovelorn musician, is an appealing fusion of nerdy, cheeky and vulnerable. So, who better to play him than Michael Cera?
  70. Crazy Love is pulp non-fiction.
  71. Despite its awkward title, Starter for 10 is a winning coming-of-age tale told with grace and charm.
  72. If it's not conventionally speedy, it is almost always gripping.
  73. The movie has a couple of surprises, including a major plot turn at the end that leads to a memorable resolution somewhere between happy and wistful.
  74. It's a stellar cast, but you can't help but lament the bad timing.
  75. The milieu here is unforgiving, which makes fighting for basic rights important. You get a sense of why Bob Dylan -- who performs on this soundtrack -- wanted to bolt this frigid part of the map.
  76. Cronenberg can create alternative worlds like few other filmmakers, and that's a real achievement. If he learns to make us care about them, he'll really have something. [23 April 1999, Life, p.8E]
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  77. By eloquently probing the state of uncertainty and its accompanying discomfort and confusion, Doubt compels viewers to examine their own assumptions as they become caught up in this fascinating tale.
  78. Tempers moments of despair with deliriously romantic passages abetted by James Horner's traditionally lush score and photography by John Toll ("Legends of the Fall's" Oscar winner).
  79. Sometimes Crazy, Stupid, Love captures the complexity, humor and sweetness of relationships. But in several scenes, the film takes that insight and replaces it with farcical coincidences and strained scenarios that undercut the poignancy and wit.
  80. Unlike many action thrillers where the viewer is fairly certain that no real harm can come to the protagonists, such is never the case here. In this gritty ride-along, we sense that anything can happen, which adds to the propulsive momentum of a riveting story.
  81. The movie is so impressionistic, it obfuscates any sense of history. We expect at least a hint at the causes of the Mayan Empire's demise, but instead we get Mesoamerican Rambo.
  82. Scoundrels isn't rock-bottom. That a more sturdy vehicle couldn't be found for such stellar leads, though, is a dirty rotten shame. [14 Dec 1988, p. 4D]
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  83. A summer crowd-pleaser worthy of its wind.
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  84. The much-publicized collaboration between producer Peter Jackson and Spielberg sets high expectations. But while the technical artistry is there, the film lacks a sense of magic, intrigue and mystery.
  85. The net result is an entertainingly frightening film that keeps the audience in a state of alarmed, but eager, anticipation.
  86. Slogs pokily along and never quite picks up speed.
  87. The Homesman aims for a story that's poignant and told sparely, but comes across as mawkish, tedious and self-indulgent.
  88. I'm Your Man movingly captures the artist's lifelong search for truth and beauty and his translation of it into song.
  89. Provocative, issue-oriented thrillers are in sadly short supply these days. But The East fills the bill with its examination of the intense commitment and anarchic impulses of eco-terrorist organizations. It's a fascinating subject on which to anchor a spy thriller.
  90. Monster House may be the first true horror film for children.
  91. Shaolin Soccer's infectious style has a way of lifting spirits. You don't have to be a fan of soccer or kung fu to enjoy it.
  92. This is a very funny picture, though it's never burlesqued and is, in fact, occasionally poignant.
  93. The Illusionist casts an exquisitely bewitching spell with its dreamy atmosphere and pervasive sense of suspense.
  94. Kids should enjoy the comic performances of the animals, and adults will appreciate the film's gentle poignancy, powerful enough to induce a lump in the throat.
  95. Some of us look forward to Guest films the way others pine for installments of Bond or "Star Trek." This skewering of Hollywood will entertain we "Guesties," but it's not at the top of his roster of parodies.
  96. The best thing Hustle & Flow has going for it is Terrence Howard's powerful performance.
  97. Poor, no-respect ABBA gets tweaked repeatedly in this unexpectedly handsome widescreen import - though, in keeping with the movie's soft tone, the gooning isn't mean-spirited or even all that catty. [10 Aug 1994]
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  98. Engagingly offbeat. [4 December 1998, Life, p.13E]
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  99. Heaven is saved only by the power of an occasional hypnotic image.
  100. Blisteringly fast, Bourne also has a strong or striking supporting actor around every corner: Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles and Clive Owen in roles that range from meaty to amazingly small.

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