Any Ernst Fans?

D'Snowth

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Looks like Jim Varney will soon be the subject of a new biographical documentary . . . this should be most interesting.
 

Cookie3001

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I also really love Ernest

I'm not as big of a fan as the rest of you as I've only seen some of the movies but I still love him

My favorite is Ernest goes to Camp
 

Buff Beaker

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This one hands down is my favorite! It's also great to pay remembrance to Splash Mountain which will soon be gone.
 

minor muppetz

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Here's something I did not know existed: A read-along of Ernest Goes to Camp, read by Ernest himself.

Ernest Goes To Camp 1987 Read Along Cassette - YouTube

Jim Varney is obviously the only actor playing his character from the film. Some of the voices make the characters sound like a totally different kind of character. One of the bullies sounds more like a pre-teen, Mr. Tipton has a more southern voice and seems like a somewhat more eccentric type.

I wonder if any of the other films had book adaptations, read along or not.
 

minor muppetz

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Last night I watched Ernest Goes to Camp for the first time in years, and I have some observations.
  • The poster and video cover seems to have a lot of the main cast (including some relatively minor characters, like Stennis and the foreman), but there's also a few notable characters not on the cover, like Sherman Krader, Krader's lawyer, and the bullies. But most notably, not all of the second chance kids are on the cover. I think that's Bobby Wayne sticking his head up above the top of the sign, but Chip Osgood and another kid (whose name escapes me at the moment - the cover definitely has Moose, Crutchfield, and Danny "Too Cool" Vargas) are not on the cover. And yet there's also two boys on the cover who, as far as I know, are not in the movie, a blonde boy with a fishing pole and a kid holding a frying pan (who kind of looks like that kid in the pool scene who angrily says "I'm gonna get you!", fully dressed as opposed to in swimming trunks). Makes me wonder if there was any recasting but they still caricatured some actors (the blonde kid couldn't have been any of the Second Chance kids, as he's wearing the standard camp uniform which the boys do not wear).
  • After the bullies get pushed into the pool, with Moose pushing one of them in, there's a boy about Moose's size who angrily says "I'm gonna get you!", but that goes nowhere. This is his only line in the movie, I think I saw him with the bullies at other points but he doesn't do anything notable. Seems like a counterparte to Moose - the little one of the group, but while Moose is the nice one of the Second Chance kids, this one seems to be quite mean.
  • I didn't realize that Jake and Eddy were absent from much of the movie for a long portion of the film. After they do their wacky cooking scene (with fettuccini alfredo and chicken pot pie), they don't appear again until the final battle, which has got to be around a half hour later. The other day I heard the read along album, and they don't appear at all, which made me figure their role is somewhat inconsequential. Of course since it sounds like everybody in the read along except for Ernest is played by a different actor, I don't think I would have wanted sound-alikes playing them. Also, when they join in the fight, are the other characters aware that they are fighting, or are they fighting independently of Ernest and the boys? Their participation in the battle could have easily been added much later in the film (after all the other actors were done and unavailable) and it wouldn't make any difference (to a lesser extent, all of their scenes in the film - including their scenes where they directly interact with Ernest and the boys - could have been added after most of the film was complete).
  • The two bullies - Pennington and Brookes - are barely mentioned by name (actually, it seems quite a few characters are not referred to by name but are named in the credits, including some of the councilors and the family who Krader arranges to force out of their home). Pennington's name is labeled on his canteen and Ernest very briefly calls Pennington by name during the battle scene. The boys call one of them Blondie a couple of times, which I always thought was a weird name but after last night I figure it's just a descriptive nickname given by the boys. But then when they arrive to join in on saving the camp, one of them refers to them as Ken and Barbie. I guess it's an insult, but what is with this particular joke?
  • Maybe I said this before, but it's interesting how the bad guy in an Ernest film is played by an actor whose last name is Vernon, which is short for Vern (and during Ernest's story, he refers to Vern as Vernon).
  • I used to think the boys were called the "Last Chance Kids" as opposed to "Second Chance Kids", it's mainly the bullies who call them "Last Chance Kids", derogatively.
  • I figured Project: Second Chance was supposed to be a program where the best-behaved detention kids would be sent to camp to determine if they've changed enough to be allowed to be released from the institution, but it's said that they were chosen by their councilors as most in need of help, so is it the kids who are in for the worst crimes or those who are on the verge of turning a heel-face? None of the councilors trust the kids at all while Mr. Tipton tries to give them the benefit of the doubt. If it is the kids who seem there's no help for, then they probably don't really deserve it, even if they think going to camp will help straighten them out.
  • For a film made in the 1980s, very few characters seem to wear outdated '80s fashions. I guess it helps that the majority of characters are in camp uniforms or business attire. Ernest and the Second Chance Kids (and Jake and Eddy) seem to be the only ones dressed their own way. I think some of Moose's outfits look a little '80s, and Vargas' close kind of looks '80s, but looking at the outfits, this could have easily been shot in the 1990s without the outfits looking weird.

I do have more to say about the movie (and about Ernest in general), but these are the biggest things on my mind.
 

minor muppetz

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I saw that today is Jim Barney’s birthday.

anyway, a few more things to say about Ernest Goes to Camp…

The opening credits sequence is rather basic compared to the other theatrical films (which had illustrations, visual effects, and other forms of cool-ness), but in watching the movie the other day, it does look like it would make a good opening sequence for an ‘80s sitcom. Doesn’t seem too different from the opening to Chris Elliott’s 1990 sitcom Get a Life.

It’s been a long time since I last saw all of the movies (especially the ones I only saw once, which I tend to think of as the worst Ernest movies), but it seems like this one has some of the most awesome music in an Ernest film. I wonder if a soundtrack album was released (well, I looked online and couldn’t find any info on a soundtrack album).

It’s clear that the later Touchstone films had some kind of a better budget, but this one seems to have the most notable names in show business (though some more retroactive), people from things I know about (many of them I knew about later, but still). It has Scott Melville, who played Dwayne in the last season of Full House and has done voices on Rugrats and Teen Titans Go. Iron Eyes Cody plays the chief, he was in the classic “crying Indian” anti-litter PSA (and the first Thanksgiving episode of Newhart). Sherman Krader was played by John Vernon, who was the Dean in National Lampoon’s Animal House. TV Tropes refers to Jacob Vargas under retroactive recognition, though I’m not familiar with his work outside of this film. And that’s not counting Jim Varney, Gailard Sartain, or anybody else who shows up in other Ernest films.

A lot of thibgs don’t seem too developed, which could be due to a small budget, maybe little time to write the script, or perhaps they didn’t think people would care (or didn’t care if people cared). Previously I’ve pointed out that it’s odd Moose is part of the gang when there’s no clue or explanation to him being there. I’ve started thinking maybe it would have been better if he was rude to Ernest at first, before being saved, or even turned against Ernest after he got beat up by the foreman. Maybe they should have given more focus to why he couldn’t swim, with Ernest teaching him or him having a fear of the water. Maybe the other kids should have been a bit more cruel as well.

When the Nurse gives them the talk about Ernest being the only one who liked them and cared About them when nobody else wanted them around, I don’t think that’s entirely true. The boss gave the kids the benefit of the doubt and defended them a little when the other councilors didn’t trust them. The nurse seemed to tolerate them. Her father seemed to like them. Jake and Eddy greeted them kindly on their first day (and maybe they don’t know the situation). Some of these could be that they shouldn’t be so hateful to the kids for the sake of their job, but most of it seems genuine.

Now for a few other Ernest things…

There have been times, especially recently, where I have seen Ernest referred to as being for kids (Leonard Maltin’s review of Ernest Goes to Jail basically has the line “the importance of seeing Ernest depends on your age and IQ. If either is below 12, this is for you.”). Yet back in the days of video rentals, I would always see these movies in the comedy section as opposed to children’s/family, and the book Video Movie Guide also lists most of them in the comedy section (I think Ernest Saves Christmas was listed in the children’s/family section).

I recently saw a video where somebody talked to Bill Byrge (Bobby), and he talked about not being in Ernest Goes to Camp, I think he said that was because he was busy. I wonder if he meant Ernest Rides Again, as Ernest Goes to Camp came before Chuck and Bobby were associated with Ernest (though they were in commercials from the same crew, maybe they wanted him in it). Makes me wonder if we could have gotten Chuck and Bobby as the cooks otherwise. I’ve also wondered if they considered having Jake and Eddy be the airport storage people in Ernest Saves Christmas instead (Dan Butler, who played Eddy, did play one of the animal control officers), though by then Chuck and Bobby were featured on the Saturday morning show.

Most of the titles make it clear which one it is, but I feel Ernest Rides Again is the most generic in terms of title. If you haven’t seen the others or hadn’t paid attention to titles before, one can still figure “Ernest Goes to Jail is the one where Ernest goes to jail” or “Slam Dunk Ernest is the basketball one” or “Ernest Scared Stupid is the Halloween one”, but it is hard to determine what to say about Ernest Rides Again (though he did ride a cannon for a long period of the movie). I remember when I was getting into Ernest, I kept wondering what it was about or why it was titled Ernest Rides Again (though “rides again” tends to be a standard type of title).
 

minor muppetz

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A few nights ago I saw Ernest Goes to School for the first time in years. It's interesting, I can't tell why the guy from the school board clearly wants to shut down the school.

I had forgotten about the scenes with Rodney doing school announcements, yet I also feel there's less of those than I had remembered. And yet I feel I didn't realize he was one of Ernest's main group of friends. Additionally, it seems like they slowly build up a group of high school friends for him. Seems Donald is something of his best friend or at least his main friend when he starts school (but they are not shown interacting before Ernest becomes a student again). Rodney announces Ernest as a new student (and I think refers to him as a friend) and can be seen in some of his class, but it's not until the cafeteria scene where smart Ernest is trying to invite his friends to activities where he is shown to be one of his friends. And then there's the girl (played by Sarah Chalke), who is seen in classes early on but doesn't get any dialogue until after the intelligence enhancer gets destroyed and she, Donald, and Rodney confront Ernest when he realizes he's messed up and they help tutor him.

Gerta tells Ernest that she and Bobby selected him for their device, there is an early scene where the principal says that all of their seniors are on their way to graduate, so I guess he's the only senior who would need the device.

I also recently saw Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam for the first time. I was previously under the impression that Jim Varney played most of the characters (not helped by the fact that he's the only actor listed in the film in Video Movie Guide - it even incorrectly says he plays Lance Spalding), of course most of them are the title character in transformed form (but then they seem to appear as separate characters later on). I can't tell if this would count for the TV Trope "Random Events Plot", I did have trouble following what was going on at first (and do they ever reveal/solve the riddle?), but I was also mesmerized by all the '80s special effects and music, that's awesome. I feel like they are trying to make it a b-movie, there's something odd about the actor playing Lance, I'm not sure if he's a bad actor or purposely being a bad actor or if it's something else. It seems this was the only starring role for that actor (I saw on IMDB that he has small roles in some of the Ernest movies, roles I was unable to identify at first). This film makes me wish John R. Cherry did a lot more movies besides the Ernest ones, if Ernest Goes to Camp wasn't that big a hit (or if the Ernest films were a hit but were discontinued after just a few), I wonder if Cherry would have directed more movies like Dr. Otto. While watching I also wonder if the creative team was on drugs. The film now has a TV Tropes page thanks to me.

I recently found a playlist of videos called Ernest Roulette, where a group of guys talk about each Ernest film (and they count Dr. Otto as one). They are a good watch and listen.

Ernest Roulette: The Ernest Movie Review Video Podcast - YouTube
 

minor muppetz

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One thought I just recently had: if Vern had been a character who appeared on-screen and his voice was heard, do you think the Ernest movies would have been really different? Might we have instead gotten titles like Ernest and Vern Go to Camp or Ernest and Vern Scared Stupid?
 

D'Snowth

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I'm not sure. Bobby never spoke on the TV show or those commercials he and Chuck did, but he spoke a line or two in the movies in was in (perhaps ERNEST GOES TO JAIL having his most epic moment where he faces down Nash and tells him, "Freeze punk! Make your play!") The movies could've been a nice way to actually add more to Vern's character, but then again, perhaps that may have ruined the mystique of Vern's character.
 
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