Lights, camera, and rolling — part one

Above: Actor/writer Ryan O'Connell plays a gay man with cerebral palsy in Special.

Ever since the pandemic started, I’ve had more time to watch shows and movies, both new and old.

Recently, I came across a show on Amazon Prime Video called Loudermilk.

At first glance, I wasn’t sure about it, but I read the show’s brief description. Then, I read the cast list, but I was more intrigued by the series’s directors: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly.

For those unfamiliar with them, Peter and Bobby Farrelly directed such hits as Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, Me, Myself & Irene, Shallow Hal, There’s Something About Mary, and many more.

Besides being known for their comedic films, they’re also known for casting people with disabilities, which is extremely rare.

When it comes to movies and shows, a person with a disability is typically portrayed by a person without a disability. An excellent example of this, which is Canadian related, is when Drake appeared on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Drake played a highschool student who became physically disabled after a classmate shot him.

As we all know, Drake isn’t actually physically disabled and is now a hugely popular rapper.

Next week, I’ll further discuss the issue of non-physically disabled actors & actresses portraying people with disabilities. That topic alone is worthy of an entire column.

But first…

This week, I’m going to list shows and movies which feature at least one actor or actress with a disability. All movies and shows mentioned are available on various streaming sites.

Loudermilk  (Series)
Centers on Sam Loudermilk, a recovering alcoholic and substance abuse counsellor with a bad attitude. Although he has his drinking under control, Loudermilk discovers that when your life is a mess is the easy part.
Stars:  Ron Livingston, Will Sasso, Anja Savcic
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Breaking Bad  (Series)
A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.
Stars:  Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn
Streaming on Netflix.

Special  (Series)
A young gay man with cerebral palsy branches out from his insular existence in hopes of finally going after the life he wants.
Stars:  Ryan O'Connell, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel
Streaming on Netflix.

Ramy  (Series)
In New Jersey, Ramy, son of Egyptian migrants, begins a spiritual journey, divided between his Muslim community, God, and his friends who see endless possibilities.
Stars:  Ramy Youssef, Amr Waked, Mohammed Amer
StarStreaming on STARZ.

Game Of Thrones  (Series)
Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for millennia.
Stars:  Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington
Streaming on Crave.

The Station Agent (Movie)
When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss.
Stars:  Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale
Streaming on Youtube.

Bad Santa (Movie)
A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid.
Stars:  Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

There’s Something About Mary  (Movie)
A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.
Stars:  Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller
Streaming on STARZ or rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Me, Myself and Irene  (Movie)
A nice-guy cop with Dissociative Identity Disorder must protect a woman on the run from a corrupt ex-boyfriend and his associates.
Stars:  Jim Carrey, Renée Zellweger, Anthony Anderson
Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Dumb and Dumber  (Movie)
After a woman leaves a briefcase at the airport terminal, a dumb limo driver and his dumber friend set out on a hilarious cross-country road trip to Aspen to return it.
Stars:  Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly
Streaming on STARZ or rent on Amazon Prime Video.

In doing my research for this story, I had a pretty challenging time looking for movies and shows that used physically disabled actors and actresses, especially when it came to titles being available to stream online.

As mentioned earlier, next week I’ll be talking about that very topic. Plus, I’ll be taking a look at some of the backlash that Hollywood has faced regarding their portrayal of people with disabilities.

(All descriptions used are from