Chase Masterson and the Be Kind Campaign


At the recent Star Trek: Mission Chicago convention at McCormick Place, I had the opportunity to interview actress Chase Masterson. Not only is Masterson a brilliant actress and producer, but she is also a big influencer for positive change. During my interview, my primary focus was to learn more about her Be Kind campaign, in addition to chatting a bit about Star Trek. The goal of the campaign is to help those around the world with mental health challenges. The campaign is linked to school programming and raises awareness about mental health.

Masterson and many other celebrities, such as Matt Smith, David Tennant, and Brent Spiner, take part in this campaign.Thanks to our conversation, I was able to gain insights into how Masterson came up with the idea to grow this anti-bullying non-profit campaign.

I asked Masterson why she founded the campaign and she responded, “I see bullying as a major and devastating problem in the world.” It’s not just traditional bullying alone, but many other forms of bullying as well. “Whether it’s bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQIA, cyberbullying, and other forms of injustice, humans oppressing each other is something that should never happen.” As I continued my discussion with Masterson, we went in-depth on the subject as she elaborated on her goal to inspire others with the Be Kind campaign.

Masterson made me realize that bullying of all kinds is still a significant problem around the world. She made it clear, however, that she is not stopping to fight for change. Masterson explained to me how superheroes and icons can play a positive role in those who want to improve their self esteem and gain confidence. “I absolutely believe there are huge and profound messages in superhero movies as there are in Star Trek and Star Wars and other depictions of the heroic journey.” Masterson’s point of view is that heroes can be born when influenced by superhero icons. “These stories teach people that we can be heroes over injustice, we can be heroes for ourselves, and for other people.” Masterson’s explanation of her interesting point-of-view tapped into my emotions. While she talked, I realized that even when I am struggling with negative patterns, there is a world of inspiration out there and many positive role models to follow.

The interview with Masterson gave me a lot to process. I was feeling positive about the campaign and couldn’t help but thinkabout others in the world who are dealing with mental health issues or bullying. The pandemic has led to an increase in mental health conditions, and many are still recovering from what has been lost in uncharted territory. When the interview was wrapping up, I asked Masterson for advice going forward. “The Be Kind movement is such an important message, you wear the shirt because you feel it’s necessary.” I too believe that it is an important message, and one I believe Masterson will keep spreading to make an impact with the Be Kind movement.

For more information on the Be Kind movement and to take part, visit www.popculturehero.org. I am Tarek Fayoumi of movieswithtarek.com, medium.com, approved critic of Bananameter, and member of Chicago Indie Critics.

Father Stu Review


Mark Wahlberg is a talented and iconic actor who has that positive personality vibe. But Father Stu is his second film in a row—the previous one being Joe Bell (2021)—where I thought he was miscast.

Father Stu follows the true story of Stuart Long, a struggling boxer turned actor. Stuart, played by Wahlberg, hits a breaking point in his life and decides to become a priest. He has a strained relationship with his father Bill, played by Mel Gibson, who is a religious man. Stuart tries to find his own path in life and mend some fences. Jacki Weaver plays Stuart’s mother, Kathleen.

Early in the film, when Stuart is in a self-destructive mode, Wahlberg fits his role just fine. But I just couldn’t buy him as a priest. Mel Gibson has played a pastor before, he directed The Passion of the Christ (2004), and he actually is a religious person. So he fit his role fairly well. But Wahlberg—not so much.

Despite Wahlberg seeming out of place, Father Stu is still a solid lighthearted drama. I did find myself moved by the story, and the redemption scenes could be engrossing. So although it didn’t do a lot for me, I’m sure the film will touch many people. Three stars for Father Stu

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Review


I haven’t seen a film as creative and funny as The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent in a long time. It totally rocks, and is destined to be a classic!

I’m a big fan of Nicholas Cage’s films, ranging from Moonstruck (1987), Wild at Heart (1990), and Leaving Las Vegas(1995), to Matchstick Men (2003) and The Weatherman (2005). But it’s been a while since Cage had a big hit, and I would call The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talenthis epic comeback. Some may view the setup of the film as quirky, but I would call it unique, unpredictable and, again, just very creative.

The best part of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is that Cage plays himself—sort of. He goes by Nick Cage, a very successful actor who is offered a million dollars to appear at a birthday party for a huge fan, the incredibly wealthy Javi Gutierrez, played by Pedro Pascal. Cage’s agent is Richard Fink, played by Neil Patrick Harris. Cage needs the money, so he agrees to the appearance. But the event takes an unexpected turn when it is revealed that Gutierrez is an arms dealer who is being pursued by the CIA, causing Cage’s family, including his daughter Addy, played by Lily Mo Sheen, to fall into grave danger.

To get himself and his family out of the very dangerous situation they find themselves in, Cage takes on the persona of some of his most well known roles from previous films. This is where the creativity of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent goes off the charts. The film becomes a journey of Cage revisiting his old acting roles blended with a fictionalized and brilliant plot.

Cage is known for his sporadic outbursts that are whacky, intense, and entertaining, and there is a whole lot of that in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Simply put, Cage’s performance is superb. His method is stylized and witty, and the film is just incredibly funny. I laughed until my lungs hurt.

Go see The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. It is an unforgettable film that takes its audience on an unparalleled, nostalgic, and extremely entertaining journey. It is one of the best films I have seen this year. Four stars for The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.

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