My wife and I drove 7+ hours from Indy to Memphis for two days, one night, and one show. I couldn’t decide whether to open or end this post with the dramatic, life-altering rock show… so I’ll just move chronologically.
We left Indy just after 5a Tuesday morning, arriving in Memphis after noon, by gaining a hour. Once practically there, we realized we’d mapped one hotel and booked another. So, we arrived a bit discouraged that we weren’t walking distance to Beale St, but rather an $8 cab ride. We checked in and left immediately for some Memphis BBQ at Blues City Cafe.
After an amazing lunch, we walked Beale St. to the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. We spent a couple hours there bobbing our heads to blues, country, and rock. It was an informative, fun, self-guided tour. After leaving we added an impromptu tour of the Gibson plant, located directly across the street. While a much shorter tour, it was more interesting in my opinion. I mean, you can always read about the history or rock and soul, but seeing how one of the top made guitars are crafted top to bottom, was really something.
From Gibson, we quickly made our way to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks. We made it early, so we got a great “front row” seat and had a cold beer. While waiting, who walks through the lobby, you ask? Well, none other than Mr. Jack White. My wife and I both get starstruck, so we were elated to say the least. It was a rock appetizer for what was coming that evening. We stayed for the ducks then made our way back to Beale St.
We walked down to the New Daisy Theater for a sneak peek at the crowd and line situation. After deciding we had time for dinner and a couple more drinks we stopped into Rum Boogie Cafe. What’s probably a great place to drink and see a blues band, unfortunately, wasn’t a great place to eat. We had poor service and mediocre food, so we took our beers to-go (which I love) and waited in line with the other anxious fans.
We met a great local couple and the good conversation helped the time pass. Then the doors opened. And it was time. We anxiously stood listening to a talented local band, The Memphis Dolls. The lights went down while Jack and his band took the stage. He opened with Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, then went on to rock for about a hour before stripping his guitar and quickly leaving the stage. After much crowd encouragement, they took the stage a second time for the most hard rocking, physically exhausting, extended encore I’ve ever experienced. Jack White continued to blow our minds with White Stripes, Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, and new solo material for a second hour to hour and a half. It was rock experience that can’t be trumped.
From the marathon drive, the tour filled day, and the physically and emotionally draining rock show… we were spent.
Luckily, my wife is incredible, so we woke Wednesday to a second perfectly planned, activity-filled day. We ate a quick breakfast and made our way to the remarkable, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for our 10a tour. We proudly donate monthly, through their Partners in Hope program and were humbled to see just how incredibly that money is put to use. Especially after learning about the $1.7 million DAILY operating costs. It’s truly a phenomenal place.
As our trip’s end was quickly approaching, we spent the afternoon at the National Civil Rights Museum. It’s an impressive collection at an almost overwhelming quantity. So much information, we simply couldn’t have spent enough time there. We were walking distance to our recommended lunch spot, Earnestine and Hazel’s, for mouth-watering burgers. They were so good. I honestly enjoyed the burgers more than the famous, Memphis BBQ.
We were homeward bound, arriving in Indy around 1a. It was a quick trip to say the least, but getting to experience an Earth shaking rock show and an awesome city with incredible sites and food, all with my best friend, made this exhaustive recovery worth it.
Act of Valor is an action-packed, tactical, and distracting thrill ride that should be seen by everyone. What is taken for granted by so many, is painted so well in AoV.
A quick synopsis; An elite team of Navy SEALs (portrayed by active duty SEALs) embark on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent and stop a terrorist from smuggling a new breed weapon onto U.S. soil.
The movie excels in places and falters in others. What is most unique about this project is exactly what causes it to struggle. Active duty SEALs, acting.
The script is relatively strong. The story is not only exciting, but engaging as well. There is no shortage of action and you find yourself caring for characters with very little character development and/or screen time. However, you must work for the payoff and earn your enjoyment. The SEALs’ lack of acting ability is much more distracting than I had imagined it to be. As a result, I found myself rolling my eyes at what would otherwise be really powerful storylines. Secondly, the story holds so firm to its realistic approach, that you spend time translating military jargon to keep yourself in the mission. I feel the story could have taken more risks and gotten more complex had directors, Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy simply Hollywooded up the dialogue a bit.
Overall, I really enjoyed Act of Valor and I do think it needs to be seen. I am not sure what AoV’s overall goal is as a movie, but it succeeds in opening your eyes to a side of war that you can otherwise only imagine. It reminds you to be grateful and forces you to feel patriotic.