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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.


Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…