“Ryan said that going into acting as a career meant that he was the first of 12 males in his family to break with tradition in not working for a paper mill. […] the fact that the sons all followed in the footsteps of their fathers and took work at a paper mill gives us a picture of what kind of family Ryan was born into: one of tradition. In any case, Ryan would break the generational pattern by opting for a different path in life.”
This shows how Canada supports individuality. Canada is mainly a liberal and progressive country, one that values each individual over the nation as a whole. In contrast, America leans more towards empowering the nation as a whole. I found this passage inspiring in a way because it shows a young person breaking free from a mold to express their individuality, something I’ve felt like I’ve had to do in the past. I also thought this was funny because it sounds like the set up for a Disney movie.
“On account of his father being away so much, though, from a young age Ryan grew up very attached to his mother and sister, and he has often said that he became conditioned by their feminine company. He later talked about that feminine influence in an interview with The Sunday Times, saying, ‘I feel that I think like a girl, just through osmosis, really, living with my mom and my sister. They talk so much. If you live in a house with just women when your brain is forming, well, I think my thought process became more similar to a woman’s. I talk to my friends and I feel a connection. A lot of my friends grew up with single mothers. And it’s like we communicate differently. I never spent a lot of time around guys.’”
I was a little surprised to read this at first, given a taste of his repertoire, but I realized that I can actually relate to Ryan in this passage. In elementary school, I had trouble fitting in with most of the other boys, but I founds it easier to make friends with the girls at my school. Something about the way I thought just seemed to align better with all the girls I knew at the time. The fact that Ryan admits this shows that Canada respects whichever way you lean and isn’t looking to push you one way or another, once again demonstrating how Canadians value individuality.
“If comments Ryan later made to The Toronto Star are anything to go by, his early school years were happy ones. ‘Canada’s a really beautiful country,’ he told them. ‘And it was nice to grow up in such a multicultural place where racial differences never really entered my mind. I went to kindergarten with people of every colour of the rainbow and my first crush was on an Indian girl.’”
I always say people should act more like children with regards to racial, cultural and ethnic differences. Perhaps what I meant by that was act more like Canadians. I say this because recently I’ve been wondering why we make such a big deal about inclusion and diversity when I see so many different kinds of people getting along and making things together in my community all the time. And then I realized that it’s really more of an American problem. This attitude gives an example of how Canada is ahead of countries like the United States in terms of diversity.
“Faced with this dual academic and social isolation at school, Ryan did what most children experiencing such problems do: he retreated into himself and turned to TV shows and films as a portal to escape into. Later, he spoke of this suddenly difficult period in an interview with Company magazine, telling them: ‘I was a lonely child, I didn’t do well at school and TV was my only friend.’”
This gives us an idea of the role entertainment has in Canada. Movies and TV shows are a part of everyday life for many Canadians, rather than a luxury, which indirectly says something about the financial, or economic state of a lot of Canada. This is also perhaps the most relatable passage I’ve come by in my reading so far. I’ve definitely felt this way before, academically and socially isolated, I still do sometimes, and film is my retreat. The time I started getting into film was a dark time in my school and social life. I was felt lonely and isolated, but I was overwhelmed when I discovered how many wonderful films were out there waiting for me to discover them. Later, Ryan mentions his parents wouldn’t allow him to watch R-rated movies (which makes sense, my parents wouldn’t) but that that’s where he found some movies like First Blood that spoke to him on a personal level. Speaking of…
“Rambo’s story provoked an intense connection in Ryan, so much so that, when the film ended, he felt as if he was John Rambo and the movie was simply playing on. He told About.com that the connection was completely absorbing: “When I first saw First Blood it put a spell on me and I thought I was Rambo. I even thought my face felt like Sylvester Stallone’s face when I touched it.'”
I can personally connect to this. There is one film, which I hold dear to my heart, that had this effect on me when I was 12: Whiplash. I call tithe film that got me into filmmaking because it showed me that great movies can be mad on minuscule budgets and that good filmmaking is a skill, not a commodity. But more importantly, I felt that I deeply related to the main character in the film, that his personality, his wants and fears, were similar to my own and that his release was mine as well. Both First Blood and Whiplash are American-produced movies, which demonstrates that not only is American media present in Canada, but it can have a profound impact on developing minds and emotional patterns. Whether or not that’s a good thing is debatable to a point, but I’m personally glad to have been influenced by the bulk of great American art I’ve consumed.
This is the theme I infer from my reading so far: Our lowest points in life can inspire our greatest talents.