5 Revelations From the Goodfellas Reunion

Goodfellas Cast

Posted by on

On Saturday night, April 25th, the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival closed out its festivities with a Goodfellas reunion. While director Martin Scorsese couldn’t attend, writer Nicholas Pileggi — who cowrote the screenplay with Scorsese and penned the book Wiseguy which was the basis for the film — joined principal cast members Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino on stage at the Beacon Theatre in New York City following a special screening of the classic mobster film.

Stories were swapped, jokes were made and The Daily Show‘s own Jon Stewart hosted the whole damn thing. If you weren’t there to take in the glory of such a reunion of talent, here are five major takeaways from the frivolity.

1. Not Everyone Was a Fan of Goodfellas

Warner Bros./Everett Collection

Warner Bros./Everett Collection

Though Scorsese couldn’t be there, the acclaimed filmmaker sent over a pre-recorded video message for the audience. “I remember the previews were one of the worst experiences of my life,” he said in the video. “It seemed that the audience had to be prepared for what it was, but there was a lot of controversy.” By “controversy,” Scorsese means the backlash that came in portraying Italian-Americans as mobsters. In fact, the owner of an Italian restaurant the director and Pileggi loved refused them service after Goodfellas came out, “because we apparently denigrated a certain ethnic group for the picture.”

2. The Origin of the Famous “Funny How” Scene

video player loading . . .

This is arguably the film’s most famous scene, and it became as good as it is because the actors improvised much of it. As Joe Pesci was also unable to attend the reunion, Liotta recollected his experience speaking with “a connected” man in Queens prior to the shoot. Upon hearing of the exchange, Scorsese worked it into the script, though he had to pull back Pesci when he went “off book.”

3. Pileggi Didn’t Believe Scorsese Wanted To Make Goodfellas

Lev Radin, Everett Collection

Lev Radin, Everett Collection

Goodfellas is based on Pileggi’s novel Wiseguy, which caught the eye of Scorsese. Apparently, the Oscar-winning director attempted to contact the writer multiple times, but Pileggi wouldn’t answer. He thought the whole thing was a joke. “I never thought it was Marty calling,” he said. “I was at New York Magazine at the time, and I’d get these little pink slips that would say, ‘Call Martin Scorsese.’ I thought it was David Denby, who was the movie critic at New York Magazine, so I didn’t respond.”

4. Paul Sorvino Almost Quit

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Veteran actor Paul Sorvino famously portrayed Paulie Cicero in Goodfellas, but even after he landed the role, he almost quit. As he remembers it, he told his manager that he wanted to leave production three days before it was scheduled to start. According to Sorvino, he just couldn’t wrap his head around his character and the contradictions within him. He ultimately changed his mind after — get this — he accidentally made a weird face in the mirror while fiddling with his tie.

5. There’s a Method to the Ketchup Madness

Everything in Goodfellas has a method to its madness, even that ketchup bottle. Pileggi reached back out to Henry Hill, the subject of Wiseguy, to find out how Jimmy “The Gent” Conway got the ketchup out of bottles. The answer can be found with De Niro, who’s seen rolling it in his hands in the meal scene at Tommy’s house.

Watch More
Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

Watch More

Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

Watch More
Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

Posted by on

End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet