Barry Wurst II

Barry Wurst II
Barry Wurst II is a senior editor & film critic at MAUIWatch. He wrote film reviews for a local Maui publication and taught film classes at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs (UCCS). Wurst also co-hosted podcasts for Screengeeks.com and has been published in Bright Lights Film Journal and in other film-related websites. He is currently featured in the new MAUIWatch Podcast- The NERDWatch.

Looking Back: Hudson Hawk (1991)

“Hudson Hawk” is a movie that lives on with infamy between my father and I. It serves as a secret handshake between us. Whenever we recount a movie that didn’t work, an experience in a movie theater that was bad or a film that disappointed on enormous levels, the conversation always drifts towards Bruce Willis’ “Hudson Hawk.” While the film …

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Looking Back: Hook (1991)

Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” is an easy film to defend and an even easier movie to enjoy. It seems this wasn’t the case in 1991, when the film’s widely reported, then-massive budget was a poorly kept secret and source of industry gossip. Other complaints were made that, both then and now, didn’t entirely make any sense. It seems most of the …

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Looking Back: William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Baz Luhrman’s highly unorthodox adaptation of William Shakespeare’s most famous love story was a big deal for me and my acting buddies in college. I was a freshman in 1996 and deep into my theater studies when the film was released. Spending months in theater classes, constantly rehearsing new plays and reading up on actors like Marlon Brando and Kenneth …

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Looking Back: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)

The lesson learned from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” is that you can never go home. Specifically, you can’t go back to the year before and make a better movie than the 1990 surprise blockbuster directed by Steve Barron. There was something truly special and uniquely hip about Barron’s film. With its state of the …

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Looking Back: Children of Men (2006)

I was initially reluctant to see “Children of Men” and for an admittedly dopey reason. It was in early morning of November of 2006 that I was at the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, Colorado. The mall’s movie theater was showing a series of year-end Oscar contenders for the Colorado press and I was there for a 9am screening of …

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Theater Review: Inherit The Wind

The 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, in which a substitute teacher unlawfully taught a class on Darwin in a Tennessee school, created a dramatic intersection of faith and law. It proved to be such a dramatic court case, it played like theater long before it became one of the landmark plays of all time. Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s “Inherit …

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Theater Review: The Nerd

In the new Sally Sefton-directed production of Larry Shue’s “The Nerd,” a universal question is asked of the audience: how much do we put up with people we don’t like? Whether it’s in line at the grocery store, on a lengthy flight or “entertaining” a new house guest, how far do we go in being polite, attentive listeners and when …

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Looking Back: The Prestige (2006)

Fans of Christian Bale should pay closer attention to “The Prestige,” as it offers a window into his process as an actor more than any other role he’s taken. Bale has played an astonishing lot of versatile characters in many great films and demonstrated, time and time again, his utter dedication to his craft. Both chameleon-like and clever enough to …

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Looking Back: Rat Race (2001)

I first became aware of this movie after my brother caught it at a Hollywood test screening. He called me up, breathlessly describing a movie I had not heard of before. He told me it had Cuba Gooding Jr and Whoopi Goldberg in it, that the funniest scene involved a Kathy Bates and a sight gag involving a squirrel. This …

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Looking Back: Legally Blonde (2001)

Elle Woods is, strangely, a constant presence in my life. I saw “Legally Blonde” when it premiered in 2001, in part because I thought Reese Witherspoon’s performance in “Election” was among the best I’d seen in 1999. Also drawing me to the film was how Sanne, my college theater instructor and lifelong friend, declared her love for the film, noting …

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