Written and directed by Stephen Purvis, Larry McMurtry’s All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers is based on the esteemed writer’s autobiographical novel of the same name. Chapter 1 (aka the first episode) follows Danny (Baxter Gaston), who is attending a wild party thrown by Professor Godwin (Brian McArdle). While moving from one group to another during the night, Danny seems to be enjoying it, though nothing is truly grabbing his attention. Well, that is until he awakens the next day and meets Sally (Victoria Jacobsen).
She instantly captivates him, and Danny asks her out to breakfast. While Sally is fairly quiet, he’s a chatterbox, though she remains intrigued. However, Danny hits a snag in his plan when he discovers that Sally is with Godwin. “A man of honor never robs his host,” right?
Larry McMurtry’s All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers is pretty light and breezy, with this episode running only 13 minutes long. However, Purvis establishes quite a bit in that time frame. He ably sets up Danny and Sally’s various wants and desires and showcases the 1960s era well while balancing humor and drama. That’s nothing if not ambitious, and the filmmaker does it all quite skillfully.
“…Danny hits a snag in his plan when he discovers that Sally is with Godwin.”
Admittedly, it takes a moment or two to fully buy Jacobsen in the role, as her first line is somewhat odd. Sally says nothing until she sees Danny’s car, and by this point, the episode is halfway over. As such, it seemed she wouldn’t have any lines, and then the state of his car is her first comment? Mind you, this isn’t the actor’s fault. It is just jarring and slightly awkward. There must have been a more natural way to bring about her first line. But, this is the only flaw here, and it doesn’t detract too much from everything else going on.
Partially this is because the script is very funny, with some solid, amusing lines and the aforementioned excellent pacing and setup. In addition, Purvis directs with flair, as there are several enjoyable visual gags. The production design is relatively high as well, with the timeframe looking stunning.
The cast is the final peg in the fun board that is Larry McMurtry’s All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers. Gaston is excellent as the excitable lead, and Jacobsen has perfect comedic timing once she gets going. McArdle brings a lot of energy to his role, which fits the madcap latter half well.
The first chapter (again, episode) of Larry McMurtry’s All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers is solid stuff. The cast is good, the jokes land, and the motivation/story is laid out quickly and efficiently. Here’s hoping to be able to binge the whole season soon.
"…here's hoping to be able to binge the whole season soon."