I would argue that High Strung is an underrated movie. Not because it’s a great movie that doesn’t get talked about enough, but because it’s a decent movie that I’ve never heard anyone talk about in my entire life. I’m not at all surprised, I don’t know if the movie was in theaters at all. I would guess that it wasn’t. It’s a funny movie though, not as funny as I remember it being, but still kind of a fun watch now.
High Strung is a simple movie, and I don’t say that casually. There really isn’t much to this movie. There’s no real structure to it and the plot is very thin, almost non-existent. It really comes off as a glorified stand-up comedy special when you think about it.
The whole movie is about a guy named Thane Furrows, or like his junk mail likes to call him, T. Furrows. He is deeply cynical. He’s played by Steve Oedekerk, who hasn’t acted much at all and has directed even less. His most notable credit could still be Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. He’s more of a writer and producer, he co-wrote this movie.
Thane hates everything and he’s not at all afraid to let you know it. That’s the whole premise of the movie… really, that’s it. The whole movie is Thane sitting around his apartment and complaining to us, the audience about anything and everything he thinks about. He usually gets so amped up that he says he’d “…rather be dead.”
However, you’re only allowed to say that a number of times before you get a visit from Death himself. Thane starts seeing images that spook him and hearing a strange voice that warns him of 8 o’clock that night.
A few things he rants about include waitresses, smokers, people on game shows, and milk left over in cereal bowls. High Strung doesn’t age particularly well, but I think most of the comedy was better at the time, more because of my age than anything else. I wouldn’t say I’ve grown more mature since I first saw it, but my take on comedy has changed. The rants are still humorous but I don’t find it as funny as I had.
Thane is a children’s book writer, but his books are a bit morbid, that part is still funny. One of his books is called Who’s My Daddy? Thane claims it’s a book to help children to spot signs of their mother being unfaithful. It was turned down, of course. He makes it a point to rant about how he shouldn’t have to please others with his work, which is clearly the whole idea of his job. The funniest thing about his rants, he’s oblivious to how sometimes he’s actually finding fault with himself.
He does have a few visitors that drop by throughout to break up the ranting and give the movie something else to chew on in small bursts. His best friend shows up for lunch, played by Thomas F. Wilson, best known as Biff in Back to the Future. His boss’ wife also shows up asking about his new book. She’s played by Denise Crosby a few years after she left Star Trek: The Next Generation. There’s also the metalhead upstairs neighbor that plays his music too loud, which Thane obviously hates. Jani Lane plays this part. Seems random seeing he’s not an actor and he’s the lead singer of Warrant.
Jim Carrey is also in this in a very small role. High Strung came out in 1991, but I’m sure I saw it no earlier than 1994, after Ace Ventura came out. That made Carrey a household name and at the time that’s why I watched this. I was at the video store, saw it and Jim Carrey was in it. If I had hated the movie, I would have been more pissed off about Carrey’s screen time.
This was before Carrey became a serious actor, so we get his goofy faces in all their glory. It’s just a gimmick like it always was. You remember this version of Carrey but at the same time don’t really care.
That’s really all there is to the movie, a guy ranting at us about the smallest things while stomping around his apartment, except on the rare occasion that someone comes by for him to rant at instead. High Strung has some decent jokes and the comedy is a bit dark overall, so it’s still kind of entertaining.
The movie could have used more work on the plot and maybe got out of the apartment more. I assume the budget for this movie was a few cans returned for deposit. I can see where people didn’t or won’t like it, but if you like discount Denis Leary style ranting comedies, maybe check it out?