Sam Peckinpah's last real masterpiece is also the film that nearly wrecked him, both personally and professionally. A major flop upon its 1974 release, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia was made while the Straw Dogs and Wild Bunch director was debilitated by alcoholism. The film's violence and perceived misogyny also led at least one critic to call for his head. A rare defender was Roger Ebert, who called it "some kind of bizarre masterpiece," and time has given its black comedy and existential story line a cult following, along with many, many parodies of its title. In a career-best performance, the great character actor Warren Oates, with a face so leathery it could be a wallet, plays an alcoholic piano player in Mexico City who sees a big cash payday in delivering the titular noggin to the drug lord calling for it. As with many get-rich-quick schemes, things go awry, with Oates literally rising from the grave and having one-sided conversations with the head as he seeks vengeance for what he's lost in his quest. It's one of the purest distillations of Peckinpah's nihilistic vision, along with a rare English-language supporting turn from Iesela Vega as Oates' victimized girlfriend (her most moving scene with Oates is partially improvised, and features some of the onscreen wild man's most sensitive work). The film's had spotty availability on video, so take this opportunity to see it on the big screen.