Any Ernst Fans?

minor muppetz

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I've been thinking about the three Ernest movies I consider the worst -Ernest Rides Again, Ernest Goes to Africa, and Ernest in the Army - and I realize that I've only seen each of those three just once (okay, I once caught part of a broadcast of Ernest Rides Again before renting and watching the whole movie).

I wonder if it's fair to consider those to be so bad. Probably. But at the time I saw Ernest in the Army and Ernest Goes to Africa, I had lost a bit of interest in Ernest. I suddenly had a spike of interest in the franchise around 1995-1998 (an interest that would come back a few years ago), wanting to see all the Ernest films I had not seen. During this time I had rented Ernest Rides Again, and for some reason I only watched it once (I did rent it from a video store where rentals lasted one day, but there have been many times I rented something that was due the next day and managed to watch 2-3 times). I don't think I hated it then (then again, there were a few video stores I frequented that had the Ernest Film Festival VHS, and for some reason I never rented it, despite wanting to see the commercials and knowing who Vern is, exactly... and I should have got from the short promo for Ernest Goes to School in the Ernest Rides Again VHS that he was an unseen character).

But I didn't see those others until my interest in Ernest had lowered a bit. I ended up renting Ernest in the Army shortly after Jim Varney died (I think it might have been the first thing I rented after that), but didn't see Ernest Goes to Africa until around 2005 or 2006, and found myself not being too amused by it.

I do feel a bit sorry for Ernest Rides Again. I read long ago on the Yesterdayland website that the movies were poorly reviewed but made profits because of their small budgets, but then I recently read on wikipedia that Ernest Rides Again didn't make its budget back at the box office (somehow I'm not surprised that this one made less). This one also seems to be the obscure one of the theatrical films. I only remember seeing a promo for the movie on TV once. It seems Doug Walker isn't aware that this one was released in theaters, if he's aware of it at all - He incorrectly says in The Nostalgia Critic's review of Ernest Scared Stupid that ESS was the last Ernest movie released theatrically, and in Doug Walker's "Real Thoughts" video about the Ernest series in general he once again mistakenly says that Ernest Scared Stupid was the last one in theaters (and he never acknowledges ERA). There was a reviewer called The Nostalgia Teen who reviewed the Touchstone-released movies and then said that he wouldn't review the others, I can't remember if the review was specifically for the ones released by Touchstone or if it was the theatricals but forgot this one.

Additionally, Ernest Rides Again came with a Mr. Bill short,"Mr. Bill Goes to Washington". I assume it was included in the theatrical release as well as the home video. I wonder if the general public reception for that short is better than the general opinion of Ernest Rides Again.
 

D'Snowth

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I don't think it's just you, I think the later Ernest movies (which were TV movies as opposed to the earlier theatrical ones) are often panned by viewers. Personally, I didn't mind either ERNEST RIDES AGAIN or ERNEST GOES TO AFRICA - they weren't great, but they weren't too bad. ERNEST IN THE ARMY was pretty meh. Again, the theatrical movies released by Touchstone tend to get more praise, and I think rightfully so: they have better production values, they include other characters from the TV show (well, mainly Chuck and Bobby), and they just have better stories. ERNEST GOES TO JAIL is often considered the best Ernest movie (maybe after ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS), and it is really good: Jim Varney really got to do a lot as both Ernest and Felix Nash. Funnily enough, some guy who looks like Mike Rowe has been robbing banks lately, which makes me think they ought to do a MIKE ROWE GOES TO JAIL, lol.
 

minor muppetz

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I found this special on YouTube:


It's interesting how in Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain, everybody pronounces Ernest's last name differently from how it gets pronounced in movies. I know there's some names that are said differently from person to person (for example, I've heard Joe Flaherty's last name pronounced differently from different people), maybe they didn't work on pronunciation. I believe this special has one instance where they say his last name in front of him and Ernest doesn't correct him.

Then again, I feel like most instances of Ernest pronouncing "Worrell" are said by Ernest himself (though several characters pronounce it in Ernest Scared Stupid)... And yet I don't think he refers to his own last name in this special.
 

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So the theme song for HEY VERN, IT'S ERNEST! says that the show has, "a storl and a moral." Okay, despite the disjointed and non-linear format of the show, each episode has a theme, so I can see where the "story" comes from, but I haven't picked up on any "morals" from this show, and for the life of me, I wouldn't be able to figure them out if I tried.
 

minor muppetz

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Maybe I asked before, but in Ernest Goes to Jail, how are Reuben and Nash supposed to be having a phone conversation? Did Nash call the jail and ask for Reuben (maybe using a different voice or name), or did Reuben happen to know the number he could reach Nash at (when neither of them knew before Nash got out that Ernest works at a bank)?

And there's that early scene where Nash confronts an inmate about money he needs. Why would the inmate need the money and how could he have been expected to make the money back? I know prisoners can make money doing certain prison jobs, but I think I've read that the money isn't that much. What could he have needed that he had to borrow from Nash, and why would getting the money back be that big a deal? I guess you can purchase some things in prison, don't know if there's many options, but I've also heard that essentials like food and medication are provided for free.

Yeah, these most likely follow rule of drama and movie logic that we may not be able to really know the answers to. But now that I think about it, there is one more thing to ask (that might be easier to determine, or maybe harder).

At the beginning, after Chuck and Bobby find out that the drilling sound they hear is Ernest trying to start up a vacuum/mopping device, Chuck tells Ernest that he'll let it slide because "you're one of us and you work at the bank". So how was Ernest one of them besides the fact that they work at the same place? Could it be both seem to have similar intelligence (though Chuck isn't so goofy and has a more respectable job)? Could it be because they are close friends, neighbors, and Chuck drives Ernest to work and home? Could Chuck have just been being redundant with what he said? Also, Chuck's yelling at Ernest could have just been for Ernest's safety (as he could have mistakenly been shot by Bobby), but could Ernest have gone to jail for it? Ernest wasn;t really breaking a law or trying to pull a trick on the cops, but it seems Chuck decides not to arrest him as if he still could have.
 

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Regarding the phone call, I found that to be a bit curious myself, but I'm also curious about after the switch, how Nash was able to convince the rest of the jury of Reuben's innocence, because when they deliver their verdict to the judge, they're clearly intimidated by him, so what kind of method of intimidation did he use to convince them? Even the judge seemed suspicious of the not guilty verdict.

As for Chuck, Bobby, and Ernest, unless it's just because they work at the same bank, I think it could also be assumed that when Chuck says Ernest is, "one of us," could be because Ernest is an after-hours employee like Chuck and Bobby are.

But what makes the most curious about this movie? Why is it after the switch, suddenly all of the prison guards wear pink uniforms and the lighting inside the prison is pink as well?
 

minor muppetz

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One possibility I just thought of would be that maybe Reuben forced Ernest to give him a number where he could reach Nash. Of course Reuben doesn't seem that threatening to Ernest until after Nash's phone call, where he informs him that he works at a bank and promises him some money if he can keep the rest of the jail from finding out (and Ernest isn't even intimidated by his threats until he brings up that Nash could harm other people in his life).

For a long time, I thought it was lucky for Nash that as soon as he left jury duty Chuck got his attention to drive him to work and home, allowing him to know where Ernest lives and works, but if Ernest had identification on him, then Nash could have looked at that to know where he lives, and Ernest likely had something at home to inform him of where he works (and if he didn't show up, his boss might have called him).

It wasn't until I watched the movie recently that I realized the point of the arm wrestling scene, where Nash and another inmate arm wrestled over who got to rule the prison. But they really settled this kind of thing with arm wrestling, as opposed to something more physical or dangerous? And Lyle is able to visually threaten the opponent so that "Nash" would still win, I guess Lyle should be the one running prison.
 

minor muppetz

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Recently I've been thinking that, with the success of the Ernest movies, it's odd that other studios didn't try to cash in by producing movies starring other commercials characters. After all, when something is a hit, especially if it's innovative/unexpected success, other companies want to do something like it in hopes of attracting the same success.

But then I realized that Ernest was not a character exclusive to just one product, but many products, in many local areas (and it was rare that he appeared in a national commercial). So maybe that gave Ernest the advantage of being allowed to be in movies - he wasn't exclusive to one product, he may have been seen as a mascot for many companies but they didn't hold the Ernest copyright. Perhaps it would have been a lot harder/more limiting to make commercials starring the Noid, the Trix rabbit, the "where's the beef?" lady, and Zack the Lego maniac (I almost mentioned the McDonald's characters, but I think they could have lent themselves well to a feature film). Don't know how those Fruity Pebbles stone aged characters could hold a movie...😆

I remember first hearing about the Ernest commercials in 1995, shortly after becoming more of a fan of Ernest. And by then, I mistakenly assumed that they stopped making Ernest commercials. Of course I didn't realize that they were all local in different areas, so I didn't see the commercials, which would be one contributing factor. And somehow I assumed that they stopped the commercials when they did the movie, without really wondering why they would (but, again, they didn't seem to be airing commercials in my area). And then I saw an interview with Jim Varney around 1999 (might have been his last) where he said they were still making Ernest commercials, which surprised me.

When you think about it, Ernest got his start similar to the Muppets, in local commercials for different products (and I know, the Muppet commercials weren't the first things Jim Henson did), and was not copyrighted to one commercial company. Must be something about being named Jim. Too bad the Muppets never worked with Jim Varney (whether as Ernest, a different character, or himself; maybe he should have won a Muppet Magazine "honorary Muppet" award).
 

D'Snowth

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Well, back in 2007, they did try to give the Geico cavemen their own sitcom, but it sucked.
 
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