As an admittedly sensitive child, there was nothing more disturbing than watching lovable nimrod Ernest P. Worrell getting the snot knocked out of him by the late NFL defensive linesman Lyle Alzado in the seminal '80s classic Ernest Goes to Camp. I still bear the deep emotional scars this experience left behind, though I do try my best to cover them with makeup and smiles. It's the darkest scene in the movie, for sure, shadowed only by the oh-so depressing song spit forth by the toothy goofball himself five minutes after being pummeled into submission in front of a group of impressionable children. To this very day, watching Ernest eat dirt and pour blood is very difficult to endure.
So why would a grown man not unlike myself want to re-watch something as obvious and moronic as Ernest Goes to Camp, you ask? That's a difficult question to answer, dear readers. Very difficult, indeed. My first instinct is to rush to the film's defense, to declare it a misunderstood masterpiece that has never received the proper recognition it rightfully deserves. But when I really stop for a second and ponder the question, I'm left with the sneaking suspicion that I simply have very poor taste in movies. I knew it was bad, mind you, but I honestly didn't think it was quite as horrible as this.
Don't tell anyone that I like it, okay? Thanks.
For those of you who had better things to do in the late '80s, let me give the skinny on what's up with this forgotten cinematic doodad. Kentucky's own Jim Varney stars as the titular character, an empty-headed country boy who spends his days attempting to keep everything in tip-top shape down at Camp Kikakee. Though his actions are slightly misled by his wonky good intentions, Ernest tries his hardest to maintain a high level of happiness around the camp within the limits of his capabilities. This, of course, leads to a number of mildly hilarious sight gags involving angry badgers, razor-sharp knives, and lots of low-rent pratfalls. Typical slapstick nonsense. You know the drill.