The Essential Ernest Collection is comprised of the Ultimate Ernest and Maximum Ernest DVD sets. — Ultimate Ernest contains the feature film Ernest Goes To Africa as well as two classic Ernest videos, Ernest's Greatest Hits... more » Volume 1 and Ernest's Greatest Hits Volume 2.
In Ernest Goes To Africa, Trouble always seems to find our buddy Ernest P. Worrell, with him losing his job at the gas station due to his bungled repair attempts. Looking to impress the waitress he has a crush on, Ernest comes into possession of two diamonds stolen from an African tribe. With the thieves thinking he's a secret agent, Ernest and the waitress find themselves kidnapped and taken to Africa, facing all kinds of interesting misadventures.
With Ernest's Greatest Hits Volume 1, you get a glimpse of what Ernest was up to prior to heading off to Africa. It turns out old Ernest was a pretty busy character as you see some of his old commercials, from public service announcements to hawking food, services and local television programs. Also included in the mix are some of Ernest's miscues and bloopers that are sure to make you laugh.
Finally, Ernest's Greatest Hits Volume 2 contain even more hilarious commericals starring everyone's favorite goofy neighbor. These commercials feature some of Ernest's most famous routines such as falling off a ladder, trying to fix a televison and getting electrocuted as well as propping up the window with his handy Acme window stop. Once again, you'll also be treated to some outtakes and bloopers when things don't quite go as planned!
Maximum Ernest contains the feature film Ernest in the Army as well as two classic Ernest videos, Hey Vern, It's My Family Album and Your World As I See It.
In Ernest In the Army, Our old buddy Ernest P. Worrell loves the big Army trucks so he enlists in the Reserves to get a chance to drive them. Unfortunately, Ernest's unit is called up to serve overseas as part of a force looking to stop a Middle Eastern dictator. While stationed in the desert with his unit, Ernest befriends a local youth and the two set off to rescue a female reporter covering the operation, whom Ernest has a crush on.
With Hey Vern, It's My Family Album, Ernest finds his old family album and can't wait to show his neighbor Vern. His family members star in a series of skits that are sure to entertain your whole family.
Finally, Your World As I See It has Jim Varney portraying a whole cast of wacky characters and family members in this extravaganza that features over 40 rare short stories. In this program Ernest P. Worrell is plagued by an overeducated alter ego named Astor Clement, a narrator who tries to unlock the sociological mysteries of our time.« less
Mary H. from COLUMBUS, OH Reviewed on 5/16/2010...
My set only has two discs. And it doesn't have Ernest's Film Festival, it has Ernest's Greatest Hits I. And everybody should see all his movies. Believe it or not...you will find his escapades are similar to many of your own...Great way to spend a family night...add some popcorn, sodas, and a box or two of your favorite candy...then just sit back and let Ernest do the rest.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kathy S. (kathyshea) from TERRE HAUTE, IN Reviewed on 5/6/2010...
My Essential Ernest with the same picture is not a 4 disc set - it is a 3 disc set
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Cade H. Reviewed on 3/29/2010...
Awsome! Very funny, you and your family will love these comedy filled adventures.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
You've Got To Be A Varney Fan To Love This
E. M. HAMILTON | Smoky Mountains, USA | 07/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This rating applies to the collection, itself...not the works, which are rated individually below. Thanks.
Ernest Goes to Africa: typical B flick, filmed like live television, film quality is horrid, and the premise runs like Jim Carrey's When Nature Calls. This is pretty bad, and the least deserving of the Ernest line, but if you loved Varney, it's worth having, if only to complete your collection...2/5
Ernest in the Army: again, this is not his best work, but it's essential, if you are a fan of Varney. 2.4/5
Ernest's Greatest Hits 1 & 2: This appears to be what was once the little-known VHS entitled, "KnowhutImean?" I can't swear that this collection bears the exact same commercials and TV spots as in the mentioned work, but considering how KnowhutImean? is not available on DVD, this is more than adequate as a replacement, as some of the spots/ads/etc. are along the same vein. 4/5
Vern! It's My Family Album: I was hoping this would be Varney in all his wonderful characters, but alas! it was not. He assumes a few, but these skits and characters were obviously written for this work, and bear no resemblance to the characters we've come to know and love. 2/5.
Your World As I See It: Mildly amusing pomposity on a stick, and something I hadn't expected from Varney. 3/5.
Now, I realize these averages do not add up to 5/5 as I've rated this collection, but seeing as how some of these are hard to find and are superfluous to all but the most avid fan and/or collector, I rate the set itself as a 5/5.
I miss you, Jim Varney. RIP, old friend."
Great Buy For Ernest Fans!
Phillip Prevost | Bakersfield, Ca | 01/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great DVD set for Ernest fans. The two movies are funny but not the best Ernest films, however the Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2 and Hey Vern! It's My Family ALbum are worth the purchase alone. The family album is so funny and brings back childhood memories of watching a VHS version. The commercials are even more hilarious and it's fun to look at mechandise from the 80's. Like the old logos of Sprite and Mt. Dew and the McDonald's with all the "M's" in brown and yellow."
Hardcore Ernest/Jim Varney fans will love this set!
Monty Moonlight | TX | 05/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, the synopses and my take on the individual programs:
Disc 1: Ernest Goes to Africa (1997, 8th Ernest-titled feature, direct-to-video release): Sacred jewels are stolen from an African village and amazingly end up in Ernest's hands back in the States. This lands Ernest and a nerdy waitress he is crushing on in a lot of trouble with the smugglers who are after them. Sure enough, Ernest winds up in Africa trying to save the girl and unwittingly carrying the hot stones around with him.
"Ernest Goes to Africa" is not going to please the casual Ernest fan who loved "Ernest Goes to Camp", "Ernest Saves Christmas", "Ernest Goes to Jail", and "Ernest Scared Stupid", but find his lower budget yet less restrained work too goofy or incoherent. Those mentioned were the first four Ernest big-screen features, and they're great family films! After them came the final theatrical release for Ernest, "Ernest Rides Again", which I remember not being very impressed with as a kid, but may view differently today if I ever get to see it again. The four films that followed were direct to video, and I haven't really seen two of them ("Slam Dunk Ernest" and "Ernest Goes to School"). Incidentally, there was also a 10th film that was nearly finished when Varney was tragically taken from us in 2000, "Ernest the Pirate". But, back to the film at hand, "Ernest Goes to Africa" may have actually been filmed in Africa, but it is so low-budget and poorly written (plus, they keep referring to a python as a cobra...) that I have to call it the worst Ernest film I've seen so far. Then again, I have liked all the others, but this one is pretty bad. I'm not saying it isn't enjoyable. Varney is as Ernest as ever, and he gets to do some of his great old characters here, but everything else about the film is such a mess that overall it's a flop for anyone except the true Varney fan. Luckily, everything else on this DVD set is far better.
Your World As I See It (1994): Pompous, well-to-do Astor Clement (Jim Varney) hosts a series of clips featuring Varney's best-known characters as his commentary on various subjects and how they relate to the low-class, common man.
This is referred to as a feature by some, though it is under half an hour and, to me, gives every impression that it is a collection of segments of some sort that were made to be shown separately, as each subject covered includes a new host introduction and exit for not just the brief skit, but himself as well. I have no idea, if that was the case, what they were actually initially created for, but it could have been anything. In fact, these clips might be much older than 1994. Anyway, as they are lumped together, they provide a fine example of Varney's amazing talents at portraying different characters and are pretty enjoyable to the Ernest/Varney fan.
Hey Vern! It's My Family Album (1983): This was Ernest's first program, for lack of a better word. It's just under an hour and was released to video, but I believe it was also aired as a TV special and probably created for that purpose. It's also known as "Knowhutimean? Hey Vern, It's My Family Album". Here we have Ernest visiting his friend and neighbor, Vernon, and showing and telling him all about great family members from his family album, leading into skits in which Varney plays his various relatives. These aren't the characters you might be expecting either (whom you'll find in "Your World As I See It"), these are characters like frontiersman Davy Worrell, military pilot Ace Worrell, meanest man in the world Lloyd Worrell, the hilariously hip carnie Billy "Boogie" Worrell, the southern gambler Retch Worrell, and kindly old Pop Worrell who is on a slow-moving mission to take young Ernest fishing.
"Hey Vern! It's My Family Album" is probably going to be considered by most Ernest/Varney fans as the gem of this set. This program alone is worth the meager price of this collection! It is a fantastically funny showcase of Varney's talents in a sweet, very "Disney's Goofy" kind of presentation (appropriately so, as now that I think about it, Ernest was pretty much a live-action version of Disney's Goofy). I have a vague memory of seeing at least part of this on TV as a kid and loving it then too. An interesting thing to note is that the Pops/Young Ernest relationship is portrayed again very similarly in "Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration" (1990), something I so wish would get a Walt Disney Treasures DVD release. Incidentally, there is also supposed to be an "Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain" program from 1989, according to the Internet Movie Database. As a Disney fanatic, I'd be interested in seeing that!
Disc 2: Ernest in the Army (1998, 9th Ernest-titled feature, direct-to-video release): Ernest wants to do manly things like drive big vehicles, so he decides to join his two best friends in the Army Reserves (now, he sounds like Donald Duck, who joined up because he wanted to fly, ha). Low and behold, his unit is sent to the Middle East to try and stop a mad dictator with a devastating weapon! While there, Ernest meets a young boy who grows very attached to him and believes Ernest is the liberator of prophecy that his father had told him of. Of course, there's a girl involved too, an attractive television reporter, and Ernest ends up on a rescue mission to save her.
Surprisingly, "Ernest in the Army", despite being released right after "Ernest Goes to Africa" and from the same filmmakers, is a far better movie. Except for one or two moments I could have done without (and the budget issues), this one might have even fit among Ernest's big screen releases. The jokes are that much funnier and the overall movie (though not outstanding) so much better, even if Varney doesn't let loose with all his characters in this one. Incidentally, it seems like the only time they really married a good story with full use of Varney's talent was in "Ernest Scared Stupid", but this one is still a very enjoyable watch and a happy addition to the set.
Ernest's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and Vol. 2: These are two separate collections, just under a half hour each, of some of Ernest's classic television commercials, plus a few bloopers. Ernest hocks everything here from dairy products and sodas to natural gas and local news teams.
My take on "Ernest's Greatest Hits 1 and 2": These are a must-have for the Ernest fan! They're a fascinating and fun look at Ernest's early days as a national pitch man for an advertising company. I was even thrilled to see a few commercials for my local news stations (the ones for the Valley's channel 5, which is down here in SOUTH, South Texas)! It was weird to see the local weather, sports, and news guys I grew up with again, and so young again! Not to mention interacting with Ernest! Ha, one of the guys shown quit the news because he won the Texas lottery!
So, that's everything on this excellent 2-disc set from Mill Creek Entertainment. That's right, I said 2-disc set (which combines the content of the previous, single-disc releases: Ultimate Ernest and Maximum Ernest). Apparently, a lot of people have seen this as a 3-disc and/or 4-disc set, but I bought this just the other day as a 2-disc set at the local retailer that everyone knows and loves for a mere 5 bucks. It was a steal at that price for all this great Ernest material! Like I said though, this is for the hardcore Ernest/Jim Varney fan, not the guy who only likes a couple of the theatrical flicks. And go into this one expecting to get the most enjoyment from "Hey Vern! It's My Family Album", "Ernest in the Army", and "Ernest's Greatest Hits".
4 discs, not 1
Robert Luzaire | Virginia United States | 06/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just a correction to the Amazon specs, this collection is actually 4 discs not 1."
This is an Ernest P. Worrell Goldmine-Know Whut I Mean?
Robert Badgley | London,Ontario,Canada | 08/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As soon as I got this home I viewed it from beginning to end.I was a bit hesitant in buying it, considering the low price and that one usually gets what one pays for.But I'm here to tell everyone that this is the Ernest bargoon of the year! Its' title says it all,it IS essential Ernest and cheap at twice the price! The set comes in a wide hard slip case with just TWO DVDs enclosed,as opposed to the four the offical description lists.Upon opening the product I discovered a small piece of foam had been inserted between both discs,obviously to prevent them coming loose.A great precaution. The actual contents of the DVDs,unlike the descriptions on the actual DVD case,are as follows. Disc one contains the movie "Ernest Goes to Africa" ,the previously broadcast TV special "Hey Vern,it's my Family Album" and excerpts from his Saturday morning TV Show,specifically the skits"Your World as I see It". "Africa" sees our hero become involved,by accident,with thieves that have stolen eyes(made of precious stones)from an African tribes'idol.Ernest inadvertantly picks them up in a flea market,takes them home and makes a yo-yo out them for his girlfriend.Before you can say "know what I mean?",both are whisked off to Africa.Jim Varney has a couple of terrifc moments as an Indian servant and a harem girl on his way to rescuing his girlfriend and eventually returning the stones to their rightful place.It's not one of Varney's best but it has its' moments and enough action and hijinks to keep most fans satisfied. "Family Album" was a one hour special run when Varney was at the height of his career.It is a series of sketches and involves more than a few of his characters. "World" are excerpts from his weekly TV show where he sits in a chair,ala Alistair Cooke,with a snobbish New England accent,philosophising about life through Ernests'faux pauxs.An absolute favourite of mine. Disc Two contains the movie "Ernest In The Army" and "Ernests' Greatest Hits-Vol#1(54 min)& Vol#2(50 min). "Army" sees our hero working at a driving range.He has a buddy in the army reserves and has always dreamed of driving military vehicles.Not needing much persuasion from his friend,Ernest joins the reserves.Shortly after the unit is called up for duty in the Persian Gulf and Ernest and company find themselves imbattled with some local terrorists.Through a long string of hilarious events Ernest,as usual,saves the day. "Greatests Hits-Vol's 1 & 2" are a string of commercials Varney did in character for both regional and national sponsors.Some are well known others are not.But they also include many out takes and off camera humour by Varney and crew members.A delight. The entire two discs have been transferred quite well and the movies especially look very crisp. This has been a VERY pleasant surprise and if you are an Ernest P Worrell fan like myself you will love this set to bits.Two decent movies,a TV special,excerpts from his TV show and many,many of his commercials with out takes.All in good,clean transfers.Mill Creek Entertainment,the makers of this set,are to be congratulated for putting out such a high quality product at such a reasonable price. Vern,you can't beat it....know whut I mean?"