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Ernest Goes to Camp

The incomprehensible Ernest, butt of so many jokes, learns from Iron Eyes Cody what bravery means, and finds himself in a summer camp, not just any summer camp but the very one in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where he aspires to be a counselor. O joy! But the children are so cruel, and there is John Vernon as the eponymous head of Krader Mining, who wants to buy the property (as lifelike a portrait of this species as you could wish to see). Jim Varney’s grief is expressed in a sob and a song, at both of which he is proficient.

The finale takes its cue from the Boston Tea Party, if you like, and The March of the Wooden Soldiers without a doubt in the world.


Ernest Saves Christmas

Another film, not without promise, based on the proposition that Santa’s Workshop needs a regime change, or else “the magic will fade”. Amidst the strained and mawkish propaganda, you get a bit of Jim Varney at his most magical, talking to a hand-held camera he calls Vern while tearing up the place at some quotidian task like putting up a Christmas tree.


Ernest Goes to Jail

Among other things, a satire of jury duty, that function of citizenship which hales you before lawyers as fodder for their bemusements.

This is the outward structure, which, like Ernest P. Worrell’s homage to Ernest T. Bass, is the incidental setting of the Varney genius for cutting remarks deftly delivered.


Ernest Scared Stupid

An extremely funny comedy, in an age dominated by Steven Spielberg’s incredibly abject humorlessness.