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DID YOU READ

5 Revelations From the Goodfellas Reunion

Goodfellas Cast

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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

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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.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.