Directed by: John R. Cherry III
Starring: Jim Varney, Gailard Sartain, Bill Byrge
If one can quantify such things, you could say that Ernest Goes to Jail is the “best” Ernest movie. Since they are all irremovable smears on the good taste of mankind, calling any of them the best at anything is a little insulting to the spirit of exploration that we as a people embody.
Ernest works as a bad janitor in a bank, where he gets electrocuted and given super electrical powers. He gets jury duty and is very proud about it, but the bad guys use it as an excuse to switch Ernest out for a criminal mastermind in jail who looks exactly like Ernest. Ernest ends up in jail and gets the death sentence, while the evil Ernest plans a bank heist. Of course, the electrical chair just gives Ernest the power he needs to bust out of jail and confront his evil us-es, and everything is right and wonderful again. Wait, this is Ernest, I mean everything is soul-crushingly depressing forever.
You know what makes this the best Ernest movie? The cinematography. They actually do some interesting things visually, and there are good special effects. It’s unfortunate that they’re focused around Ernest and his dumb idiot jokes, but there are actually enough redeeming qualities in this film to get a second star from me. It’s as surprising to you as it is to me. Actually, it’s probably way more surprising to me.