Wednesday: "First Blood"

July 5

I have a Rambo tattoo on one of my arms. It's a scratchy stick-and-poke that reads, "they drew first blood, not me," and it's a thing that John Rambo (played with Brando-esque mumbling aplomb by Sylvester Stallone) says toward the end of the movie after he's been essentially chased into the woods by the longhair-hating cops and the military after some self-loathing sheriff profiled him, put him in jail, and so on, and injured dozens and killed at least one. I like the line not because it's "bad-ass" or whatever, but because there's something kind petulant and child-like about it—"they started it," pretty much (and also because it's a kind of a good reading of what being alive is—look I didn't ask to be here and this shit started long before I showed up). All of this to say that "First Blood," the first of many Rambo movies, is not like the others, which are, yes, awesome and ridiculous, whereas this one is kind of quiet and tragic. "First Blood Pt. II," for example, pretty much invents the ridiculous '80s action movie, whereas "First Blood" is more '70s—slow-ish, character-based, melancholy—and a bit of an autocritique in terms of the limits of violence and tough guy bullshit and how war ruins people (the book "First Blood" is based on is even grimmer and also a great beach read!). 8 p.m., The Senator, 5904 York Road, (410) 323-4424,, $10. (Brandon Soderberg)

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