‘High Strung’ (1991)



Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Underrated Cult Classic

There are a number of films in the late eighties and early nineties that I love because they are just so different than today’s films. The way they were made back in those days were representative of a completely different vision that hasn’t been seen in a long while. That’s because there is such a different and higher expectation when making a movie nowadays. It’s all about simplicity, and “High Strung” is very simple in its ideas, yet very effective.

Steve Oedekerk stars as Thane Furrows, a man that hates everything. That’s right, there isn’t a moment in the movie where Thane is not complaining about something or other. Not only this, but he complains about these things to the camera, a continuous rant. He is a children’s book writer, but that fact is focused on very little in the movie, it’s just a humorous fact. Every time he complains about something, his overused line is, “I’d rather be dead!”. This is where the story really starts to take effect. Death (Jim Carrey) begins calling him, reminding him to be ready at 8:00 p.m. because that is when he will die, seeing how Thane continually says he would rather die.

If you don’t like watching actors break the fourth wall, that is, talking to the camera, then this isn’t the movie for you. The whole thing feels very theatrical, like a monologue given by Steve Oedekerk as if he were a stand up comedian and his chosen comedy was angry humor. It is hysterical though, if you open your mind a little and accept what it was going for.  Oedekerk has a unique writing style and it shows. I also loved Jim Carrey’s role so much that I wished they made some kind of sequel or spinoff that he could reprise his role as Death with, I just wished he had a bigger role than he did in this, because it fit him perfectly.

Oedekerk and Carrey have worked together since “High Strung” as well. Oedekerk has had writing credits in such films as “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” and “Bruce Almighty” as well as multiple episodes of Carrey’s famous television show, “In Living Color“. So, it is clear that these two are comfortable with each other and probably good friends.

What really made this film special was it’s unique style. I have seen actors speak to the camera before, but not at such a frequent rate. That was the idea behind the entire movie. It may throw people off, because it isn’t what they are used to, but in my humble opinion, I really think that it was a smart choice. I think not enough people have actually heard of the movie, let alone seen it. I have, however, seen plenty of other older Jim Carrey films to know that this is one of the better ones before his career really began.

The writing was great, the acting was different but very well done. There were also some recognizable names throughout the movie, and if you don’t catch it, you will miss Kirsten Dunst in one of her very first film appearances, though she was just a young girl at the time. The funny thing is, Dunst as starred with Carrey later in life in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind“, and she has changed quite a bit.

I honestly do think this is a good addition for a DVD collection. It’s not the best movie in the world, but it might actually do you some good to watch when you’re down or upset about something. Why? Because the guy is mad and so are you, you’ll have a blast and cheer him on as he complains about everything. If you haven’t watched “High Strung“, I would highly recommend you track down a copy to watch.

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