USA Today's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 3,339 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 The Last Emperor
Lowest review score: 0 Idle Hands
Score distribution:
3,339 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Scott paces the film like its mechanized star: deliberately and, ultimately, with enough speed to keep its passengers satisfied.
  3. It's a lively, psychologically astute tale filled with humanity, wit and charming performances.
  4. Flaws are outweighed by Crash's intricate construction and intelligent.
  5. Irresistibly endearing, with a visual verve all its own.
  6. 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.
  7. Slither is old-school gooey, slimy, silly B-movie fun.
  8. 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.
  9. Diverting enough if you want to see plenty of fast-paced action sequences, some heart-stopping chase scenes and plenty of things blow up.
  10. While it doesn't scratch much below the surface, The September Issue is an entertainingly voyeuristic glimpse into the fashion world.
  11. 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.
  12. Grabber sub-plots further boost a story that is basically made by its three leads.
  13. 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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  14. Palo Alto marks one of those rare films that is so accurate in its portrayal of characters that the movie suffers for it.
  15. So with its smart writing delivered by an in-synch quartet, savor Duplicity as the ideal spring gift.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. A gut-busting blast of tasteless tomfoolery.
  20. Though this is a tough movie to dislike, it plays more like a second draft than a final product.
  21. 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.
  22. 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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  23. Observing Zellweger as she dispenses her brand of movie magic definitely is good for what ails you.
  24. 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.
  25. Bolstered by the natural performances of a trio of little-known actors, the very watchable Chronicle keeps us captive throughout.
  26. Crisply shot and voiced by a legion of Brits, the animated Arthur seems aimed at the Scrooge and caroler in all of us.
  27. Excesses or not, I'm rabid to see this again. [10 Mar 1989, p.1D]
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  28. 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.
  29. Sayles is clearly aiming to construct a multilevel character study and sociological portrait, but too often the film lapses into a lecture.
  30. A largely irresistible puff piece.
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  31. Of all unlikely possibilities, the team has finally made a movie that, for them, is on the tepid side.
  32. 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.
  33. Talk to Me speaks powerfully to audiences with its potent blend of extraordinary performances and engaging soundtrack.
  34. 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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  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. It's certainly not Mamet's signature rapid-fire dialogue, but it's an intriguing and engrossing departure.
  38. More admirable than riveting, Fair Game works best as a portrait of power games at the highest levels.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. It's simple stuff, but the movie's heart is in the right place.
  42. An ambitious and occasionally illuminating hybrid documentary. But a cacophony of sights and sounds and a disjointed narrative dilute the message.
  43. The movie features a musical score aimed more at boomer parents than their tykes.
  44. 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.
  45. Scott Pilgrim, a lovelorn musician, is an appealing fusion of nerdy, cheeky and vulnerable. So, who better to play him than Michael Cera?
  46. Crazy Love is pulp non-fiction.
  47. Despite its awkward title, Starter for 10 is a winning coming-of-age tale told with grace and charm.
  48. If it's not conventionally speedy, it is almost always gripping.
  49. 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.
  50. It's a stellar cast, but you can't help but lament the bad timing.
  51. 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.
  52. 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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  53. 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.
  54. 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).
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. 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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  59. A summer crowd-pleaser worthy of its wind.
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  60. 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.
  61. The net result is an entertainingly frightening film that keeps the audience in a state of alarmed, but eager, anticipation.
  62. Slogs pokily along and never quite picks up speed.
  63. I'm Your Man movingly captures the artist's lifelong search for truth and beauty and his translation of it into song.
  64. 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.
  65. Monster House may be the first true horror film for children.
  66. 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.
  67. This is a very funny picture, though it's never burlesqued and is, in fact, occasionally poignant.
  68. The Illusionist casts an exquisitely bewitching spell with its dreamy atmosphere and pervasive sense of suspense.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. The best thing Hustle & Flow has going for it is Terrence Howard's powerful performance.
  72. 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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  73. Engagingly offbeat. [4 December 1998, Life, p.13E]
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  74. Heaven is saved only by the power of an occasional hypnotic image.
  75. 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.
  76. Patricia Clarkson, who has emerged as one of the screen's best character actresses, plays Brooks' wife with intelligence and down-to-earth warmth.
  77. The filmmaker's new subject, the German occupation of France, has been treated with the seriousness it deserves in countless movies over the past half-century. This treatment is light and breezy for a change, though not altogether frivolous.
  78. Williams is hampered by her character's limitations. What results is a mannered tale of an immature, empty vessel.
  79. It has lighthearted moments, but is also suspenseful at the right times.
  80. The film bobs along like a designer balloon, pumped with wry observations on Marky Mark and Mentos ads. But none of the other cartoonish characters command like twinkly Silverstone.
  81. Arnie is Arnie. He has all the cute lines ("No problemo," "Hasta la vista, baby''). And he does more with a squint than anyone since Popeye. [3 July 1991, Life, p.1D]
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  82. More than anything, the movie makes the viewer want to hop on a plane and visit Iceland.
  83. Nothing too fancy or ambitious. Instead, writer-director George Tillman Jr. serves up down-home fare that enriches the heart and leaves you satisfied if stuffed. [26Sep1997 Pg.06.D]
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  84. A slow-cooked film that's one of the most heartwarming of the young year.
  85. The result isn't quite a Michael Moore movie without the hubris, but it's reasonably close. It's thoughtful, and you have to take it seriously and with respect.
  86. The cautionary tale feels surprisingly fresh and entertaining, given that this is the fifth "Planet of the Apes" film since the 1968 original.
  87. Has its moments - but far too many of them. It runs two hours and seems to end five times.
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  88. One of the best films of the year.
  89. The film is likable, with some funny moments and recognizable human conflicts. But the origin of the women's friendship is not explained, and the nature of Olivia's problems is not examined or taken very seriously, making her seem inexplicably lost and shallow.
  90. The longer the movie goes, the more its 133 minutes prove wearing. The story tries to develop a love angle between Jackman and Janssen, but it doesn't begin to take. And the finale is particularly weak.
  91. No-frills chills are what Paranormal Activity offers in unrelenting supply.
  92. Were this movie a naval battle, it would be Lord Nelson vs. Judd Nelson, so decisively do the older actors knock the younger off the screen. [26Dec1997 Pg03.D]
    • USA Today
  93. A precisely modulated and mostly mesmerizing 2¾-hour suspense movie, in part because it's one of the most bravely disturbing screen works ever attempted about thoughts withheld by even the most devoted marriage partners and the ramifications of voicing them.
  94. A riveting crime thriller, it's also a multi-generational familial saga that approaches Greek tragedy.
  95. Even for non-fans, Revenge of the Sith is engrossing, and fans of the series will likely be over the moon -- and into another galaxy -- with this film.
  96. Though there is plenty of gunplay, this is a wondrously contemplative and poetic saga that offers a fresh and bewitching take on a timeworn genre.
  97. It's a provocative game that plays out with intelligence and wit.
  98. Though events unravel predictably, the film is profoundly affecting, thanks to a well-written story, rich characters and superlative acting.
  99. While not as revelatory as Al Gore's 2006 Oscar-winning documentary, Inequality makes a resounding case that the middle class is facing its own planetary crisis: becoming an endangered species.
  100. Do yourself a favor and resist The Italian Job, a lazy and in-name-only remake of 1969's G-rated Michael Caine heist pic.

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