This weekend, I caught Sam Peckinpah's "Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia," which came out on DVD not too long ago (here's a link to Keith's review from this March). Although any movie in which the main character forms an emotional attachment to a severed head is pretty weird going, it's easily my favorite of the three Peckinpah movies I've seen. (Perhaps in part because his disturbing attitude toward women is only somewhat revolting here, as opposed to "Straw Dogs.") It's a great modern noir in the vein of Jim Thompson and James M. Cain (and certainly has one of the best noir titles, right up there with such pulp classics as "I Wake Up Screaming"), even though it starts out by fooling you into thinking it's going to be a Western shoot-'em-up in the tradition of Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch." Warren Oates was terrific in the lead role as the beaten-down-by-life piano player who hopes that the million-dollar bounty on his girlfriend's ex is his ticket to the good life; he's the kind of guy who hides his eyes from the world so reflexively that he wears his sunglasses to bed. Before this film, I mainly knew him for playing the grumpy drill sergeant in Bill Murray's "Stripes" ("Lighten up, Francis"), so it was great to see him play such a different character, supposedly based on Peckinpah himself, copying his mannerisms and sporting a pair of Sam's own sunglasses.
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