Anyway, the Ernest Character became pretty damn popular after a slew of commercials for Convenient Food Mart, where he would shop with his bestie for the restie, Vern. The cool thing about these commercials was that the viewer was Vern, thanks to first person perspective. Ernest was talking to you, hanging with you, making an ass of himself directly in front of you. It ruled. Needless to say, I was elated to find out about Ernest Goes to Camp (there were some Ernest themed stuff beforehand, but Goes to Camp was the first big one), and while that movie was fan-fucking-tastic, there was no “Vern” moments. Crushing. Thankfully, this problem is rectified inErnest Saves Christmas, during a scene where Worrell and Harmony Starr/Pamela Trenton (the teenage runaway) deliver a Christmas tree he saved from the highway to Vern's house. As a youngster, this scene alone made Saves Christmas a much more complete feeling experience than Goes to Camp. Still to this day, I consider Saves Christmas and Ernest Scared Stupid the absolute best out of the Ernest films.
It makes me laugh to read so many negatively fueled reviews towards Ernest movies, especially Saves Christmas. If you actually take the time to call such a film “stupid”, then the joke is ultimately on you. If you weren't spending so much time dissecting why they're stupid, you may actually discover that there's some heartfelt shit layered in each and every one of these films. I'm pretty certain that director John Cherry and Jim Varney weren't aiming for the fucking Oscars while making these films; they were probably just having a good time. It works for me. I'm watching Saves Christmas twenty years later and still finding a ton of shit to laugh about, and even kinda shed a few unabashed tears. Awwww.
Of course, the late Jim Varney was on top of his game here, and he as usual unleashed his awesome ability of portraying many different characters. A personal favorite is a Florida snake rancher Worrell personifies in order to sneak current Santa onto the set of a Christmas horror movie (which, by the way, looked fucking awesome) in another attempt to convince Joe Carruthers to become the new Santa. Aside from the multiple personalities, Varney pulls off a shit-ton of funny faces and legitimately humorous one-lines, and even a few moments of seriousness when voicing his love for Christmas and belief in Santa Claus. The late Douglas Seale is pretty damn convincing as the 'my time is up' Santa Claus. I always envisioned everyone's favorite red dressed jolly bastard to be a little more on the heavy side, but I'm down with a slim Kris Kringle. Seale definitely excels in the cheerful spirit of the character, and the dude's eyebrows certainly scream “this IS Saint Nick”. Noelle Parker plays Harmony, a teenage girl Ernest and Santa pick up while on their way to the Orlando Children's museum. Harmony has secrets and spins a lot of lies that Santa can see right through. When I was a kid, I for sure had one of those 'older babysitter' type crushes on this character. There's just something about Harmony's rough attitude and disbelief that makes me love her, and Parker fits herself into it nicely. Plus her late 80's attire is fucking amazing. If anybody is a weak link, it's Oliver Clark as Joe Carruthers, potential candidate for new Santa. He's not bad, and he has the generic Mr. Rogers shit down pat for his portrayal of a host for a kids TV show, but there's just something about him that seems off. Maybe it's the fact that he reminds me of Grampa in Silent Night, Deadly Night by appearance, and that shit gives me the fucking heebie-jeebies.
There's not much by way of SFX, save for the bad ass sleigh riding segments in the finale. I'm pretty sure the reindeer standing on the ceiling is just upside down room trickery, but whatevs... I dig it. I'm just gonna say I love the shit out of Ernest Saves Christmas and finish this up with a few of my key favorite moments.