THE BITTER BUDDHA
(director/writer: Steven Feinartz; cinematographers: Alex Sax/Danny Garcia; editor: Dan Russell/Steven Feinartz; cast: Eddie Pepitone, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt; Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Mikki Raphael Rosenberg/Steven Feinartz; Cheremoya Films-on demand video; 2012)
“enjoyable lighthearted watch about someone you want to root for to succeed.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The debut film for Steven Feinartz is a solid documentary about veteran stand-up Brooklyn born and raised in Staten Island and now LA residing comedian Eddie Pepitone, known as The Bitter Buddha. Eddie is described as a national treasure by fellow funny men but is still relatively unknown despite doing a comedy act for thirty years. I never heard of him before this film. The 54-year-old stays in character throughout, as both famous and not famous talking head fellow comedians laud him as the comic’s comedian. We also catch him on old footage, his act at LA Improv, interacting with live-in girlfriend Karen, talking about how he overcame his alcohol abuse problem, his love of cats, dealing with his anger he claims he inherited from his Sicilian dad and there are animations drawing out comedy dialogue. Eddie is depicted as the same schlep at home as he is onstage. Despite the respect of his peers, the raspy voiced Eddie lacks mainstream success. Believing he never got his big break seems to pump Eddie up for his raucous comedy routine, where he’s self-deprecating, loudly rages against corporate greed and is often very funny telling how fucked-up he is.
The profile on Eddie serves the comedian well, as he is seen as a likable regular fat guy who relates to the ‘little guy’. The fellow comedians interviewed include Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman andPatton Oswalt, who say Eddie’s rage comedy is his Zen moments.
It leads up to an edgy Eddie, the ‘everyman’ comedian, as the headliner, for the first-time, at the Gotham Comedy Club in his hometown city, with his opera loving estranged Staten Island dad in the audience for one of his rare treks into Manhattan.
Too unfocused to be more than an human interest insightful piece on the good guy comedian, who maybe rose to heights less than his expectations but probably higher than a lot of other comedians in such a crowded and competitive cutthroat field. Yet the fast-paced pic is an enjoyable lighthearted watch about someone you want to root for to succeed.
REVIEWED ON 3/19/2013 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/