Animation Adventures

Jail Time and Electric Abilities: The Quirky World of Ernest Goes to Jail

Ernest Goes to Jail: A Classic Comedy Movie Synopsis

Ernest Goes to Jail is a 1990 comedy movie produced by John R. Cherry III and directed by John R.

Cherry III and Rod Daniel. The movie stars Jim Varney as Ernest P.

Worrell, a well-meaning but bumbling janitor who, through a chain of ridiculous events, ends up getting mistaken for a notorious criminal mastermind and sent to prison.Ernest Goes to Jail is an excellent comedy movie that will keep you in stitches from start to finish. This hilarious movie features a fantastic cast of characters, including the lovable yet sometimes hapless protagonist, Ernest P.

Worrell. Act I: Set-Up

The movie opens with a glimpse of Ernest’s life as a janitor, where he works at a bank and has a girlfriend, Charlotte (Gailard Sartain).

Ernest is often the butt of everyone’s jokes and gets into trouble almost daily, but his good intentions and unrelenting optimism seem to carry him through. In an unexpected turn of events, Ernest gets chosen for Jury Duty and heads to the courthouse, where he attracts the attention of a dangerous criminal named Felix Nash (Charles Napier).

During the trial, Ernest experiences a shocking force that causes his DNA to mix with Felix’s. Act II: Confrontation

As a result of this bizarre occurrence, Ernest begins to develop some of Nash’s traits, such as his cold demeanor and his ability to control electricity.

Meanwhile, Felix Nash escapes from police custody and decides to use Ernest’s newfound powers to continue his criminal activities. Ernest is arrested as the prime suspect for Nash’s crimes and sent to jail.

As he adjusts to prison life, he meets various characters, including the evil Warden (Barry Scott) and a fellow inmate named Lyle (Randall “Tex” Cobb). Act III: Resolution

In the final act, Ernest must use his newfound abilities to try to prove his innocence and take down the real culprit, even if it means facing off against Felix Nash in a final showdown.

With a bit of help from his friends and his clever wits, Ernest manages to vindicate himself and bring the notorious criminal down.


In conclusion, Ernest Goes to Jail is a lighthearted and whimsical movie that will leave you grinning and laughing for hours. The unique premise of a hapless janitor with superpowers makes for an entertaining and memorable plot that will keep you guessing throughout.

If you’re in the mood for a classic comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this movie is the perfect choice. Ernest Goes to Jail: A Hilariously Absurd Plot

Ernest Goes to Jail is a classic comedy movie that embodies a unique type of humor that is both absurd and delightful.

The movie’s comedy is inspired by the slapstick and physical comedy of actors such as Jerry Lewis and Jim Carrey. The plot is centered around Ernest, a character who is incredibly endearing, but who manages to get himself into hilarious predicaments.

This movie has stood the test of time and remains a fan favorite for people who love to laugh. Act I: Set-Up

The movie starts with Ernest working as a janitor at a bank, which provides a routine and often mundane life, until he unexpectedly gets selected for Jury Duty.

Ernest arrives at the courthouse, unaware that this event would soon change his life. It is here that he crosses paths with one of the most dangerous and notorious criminals of their time, Felix Nash.

As the trial progresses, Ernest is exposed to a dangerous voltage through a bizarre accident that causes his quirky and lovable persona to change into something unexpected. Act II: Confrontation

As Ernest’s life spirals out of control, he is imprisoned, where he endures all the challenges that come with being in jail, including dealing with the intimidating warden and trying to avoid trouble with other inmates.

While things appear dire for Ernest, his new supernatural powers start to manifest themselves, giving him a fighting chance against the prison’s hostile environment. However, Nash has escaped from prison and is looking for a way to escape the authorities.

Nash seeks to capitalize on Ernest’s newfound powers by coercing him into perpetuating his crimes. Ernest then realizes that he must break out of jail to clear his name, but he has a sinister force in Nash, blocking his way.

Act III: Resolution

In the final act, Ernest uses his new abilities to escape from prison and team up with Charlotte, his girlfriend, to take down the real criminal. As Nash tries to use his electric powers to escape, Charlotte and Ernest find themselves in a high-stakes chase that proves Ernest’s innocence and brings Nash to justice.

The character development throughout the film is what makes the resolution so satisfying. Ernest goes from gullible and awkward to a self-assured hero who can fight for his cause.

His character changes throughout the film, embodying the moral concept that anyone can rise and take control of their destiny.


Ernest Goes to Jail is one of those movies that you can watch and enjoy no matter how many times you have seen it! It is absurd, but it is the type of absurdity that makes you laugh until you cry. The movie is best described as a fun and lighthearted journey filled with slapstick, humorous physical comedy, and a plot that never takes itself too seriously.

This movie is an example of what great comedy can do for our spirits, breaking down the barriers of stress, anxiety, and fear to deliver a memorable cinematic release. Ernest Goes to Jail is a film that never gets old, and it will always leave audiences laughing.

Ernest Goes to Jail: An Inside Look at Production

Ernest Goes to Jail is a 1990 comedy movie that has become a classic in the genre. The film follows the comedic series of events that unfold after a bizarre accident gives Ernest P.

Worrell superpowers, which he must use to get out of jail and clear his name. While the movie’s storyline is exceptional, it is not the only thing that has contributed to its success.

The production and direction of this film were also instrumental in its ultimate triumph.

Screenplay and Direction

John Cherry III directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg, and Charlie Kaufman. Cherry has directed nine of the Ernest movies, including Ernest Goes to Jail and other Ernest classics such as Ernest Scared Stupid and Ernest Saves Christmas.

His experience working with the Ernest character and in the comedy genre lends an authentic feel, capturing the humor for which these movies have become so well-known.


Jim Varney plays the role of Ernest P. Worrell.

Jim Varney was the perfect choice to play Ernest, having previously portrayed him in television commercials for a variety of companies. Varney had been performing stand-up comedy, voiceovers for cartoons, and other television roles for years, but it was his portrayal of Ernest that revolutionized his career.

Supporting Cast

The supporting cast, including Gailard Sartain as Ernest’s love interest, Charlotte, and Randall “Tex” Cobb as Lyle are instrumental in making the movie funny and entertaining. The supporting cast’s development in Ernest Goes to Jail is essential to the overall film experience.

The characters often complement the physical humor and eccentricity of Ernest with their straight-man roles. This balance helps make the comedy more effective and enjoyable for viewers.

Special Effects

The special effects used in the film were quite remarkable, considering the film’s age. The transformation scenes where Ernest acquires Nash’s electrical abilities are carried out smoothly.

Additionally, realistic special effects are utilized to illustrate the use of electricity to amplify Ernest’s abilities, such as when he levitates a cappuccino machine through the air.

Filming Locations

Most of the scenes are set indoors, with the bulk of the recording taking place in Hollywood, California but the movie’s most memorable scene was filmed on location in Nashville, Tennessee, in the Tennessee State Prison. It was at this location that the prison interior scenes, including Ernest’s escape scene and the final confrontation between Ernest and Nash took place.


The movie soundtrack, composed by Mark Snow, sets the stage for the humor through its use of music. The soundtrack is especially memorable because it integrates the sounds of electricity to reflect Nash’s and Ernest’s powers.


Ernest Goes to Jail is a classic comedy movie that exemplifies the concept that production is instrumental to creating a memorable film. To make a film that will captivate and entertain audiences, it takes a great script, cast, special effects, sets, and soundtrack.

Ernest Goes to Jail delivered a fun, heartwarming, and amusing film that continues to stand the test of time because it perfected all facets of the art of filmmaking. The brilliant production and direction of the film helped shape it into the timeless classic that it is today.

Ernest Goes to Jail: A Successful Release

Ernest Goes to Jail is a comedy film that brings an insane amount of humor and a significant dose of slapstick to the audience. Released in 1990 and directed by John Cherry, the film stars Jim Varney as the lovable, albeit goofy character, Ernest P.

Worrell. The movie was well received by fans and critics alike, primarily due to its humor, production, and the distribution channels adopted to offer it to the public.

Marketing Strategies

The film was heavily promoted a few months before it was released as part of the promotion, Jim Varney toured the country as Ernest, appearing on shows like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Arsenio Hall Show. The posters for the movie were also deployed to the mainstream public and were captivating, effectively communicating what the movie was about.

The heavy marketing and excellent use of advertising elements helped to create buzz for the movie.

Distribution Channels

Ernest Goes to Jail was initially screened in theaters on April 6th, 1990, and was distributed by Touchstone Pictures, which is a division of Walt Disney Studios. The movie’s core audience was young children and their parents, and the timing of the release made it an ideal choice for families looking for an enjoyable movie to watch during Spring Break.

Box Office Performance

The budget for the movie was about $7 million, and it made back more than $25 million, which was an exceedingly desirable profit. Thus, the film became a hit with audiences and remains an iconic movie in the comedy genre.

Critical Reception

Ernest Goes to Jail opened to mixed reviews from critics, with some appreciating the slapstick humor and Varney’s performance as Ernest, while others found the film too silly and inane. Critics often compare Ernest to other slapstick-driven comedic actors like Jerry Lewis and Jim Carrey.

However, despite mixed reviews, the film’s success at the box office and its cult following are evident of a movie that has succeeded. The light-hearted, goofy, and wholesome comedic approach combined with slapstick humor made this film a fan favorite among families and comedy enthusiasts.

Home Video Release

After the success of Ernest Goes to Jail in theaters, the movie was subsequently released on DVD and VHS. The VHS release of the film was a massive success, grossing over $117 million.

Home video sales for this movie were an excellent return on investment for the studio and helped Ernest Goes to Jail cement its place as a beloved film classic.

Final Thoughts

Ernest Goes to Jail, released over 30 years ago, remains a relevant comedy movie that has captured audiences of all ages. The movie’s distribution, timing of the release, outstanding marketing strategies, and critical reception were all instrumental in making this film a success.

The family-friendly brand of humor, coupled with the ensemble’s exceptional production, kept the film relevant long after the release date. Ernest Goes to Jail was a remarkable success that has since become a fan favorite and continues to bring joy to audiences worldwide.

Ernest Goes to Jail: A Quirky

Soundtrack That Complements the Film

In the film industry, the importance of a movie soundtrack cannot be overstated. A soundtrack can make or break a movie, it can set the mood or build suspense, add dramatic effect, or just provide background music.

Ernest Goes to Jail is a 1990 comedy movie with a quirky soundtrack composed by Mark Snow. The music in this movie is memorable and has become an integral part of the film’s identity.

The soundtrack includes a blend of electric guitar, rock, pop, funk, and synthesized music that perfectly complements the film’s surrealistic and bizarre themes. Opening Credits


The opening credits start with the upbeat guitar-heavy “Ernest Theme,” which sets the tone for the movie.

The theme is catchy, providing a peppy introduction to the lead character- earnest. The song is a high-energy-riff that seems to match the personality of the Janitor who dreams of a better life but gets into ridiculous scenarios that make him seem foolish.



The soundtrack includes various electrifying tracks that create a unique soundtrack that is unique to the film’s themes. The use of electric sounds is an essential aspect of the soundtrack, enhancing the film’s comedic effect and contributing to the overall atmosphere for the audience.

The electric sound effects used to signify Nash’s powers and Ernest’s newly acquired abilities contributed exceptionally well to the humorous moments and provided a captivating audio-visual experience.

Romantic Melodies

The film also features tracks that complement the romantic themes of the movie, such as Two Hearts and Head Over Heels, which provide pleasant melodies that break the monotony of the electric tracks. These tracks could be interpreted as a testament to the romance between Ernest and his girlfriend Charlotte.

Funk Music

Ernest Goes to Jail offers a funky soundtrack that reflects the late 1980s and early 1990s era, and serves as a representation of the film’s time. The funky music that complements the whole movie is something that makes it stand out from other comedy movies.

The tracks, such as “Time Ta Jam” and “Rock in the Joint” are high-energy tracks that work for both the comedy and the action scenes in the movie.

Synchronized Music and Action

The soundtrack in this film also contributes to the synchronized action sequences that occur throughout the movie. With its upbeat tempo, the soundtrack’s climax tracks play a critical role in keeping a consistent pace and build up to the scene’s high points.

These tracks produce an excellent blend of music to complement the action and excite the audience as the plot intensifies.


The soundtrack in Ernest Goes to Jail is an exceptional and memorable one that is an essential element, contributing significantly to the film’s success. The subdued romantic tracks, coupled with the electric and funky tracks, give the film a quirky and unique sound that amplifies the humor and overall atmosphere of the film.

The selected tracks complement the movie’s bizarre themes, which seemingly make them even more entertaining and add to the viewer’s experience. Woody Allen once said, The music sets the mood and tone for the film, unlocks the imagination and helps tell the story, and this is precisely what the soundtrack in Ernest Goes to Jail accomplishes.

In conclusion, Ernest Goes to Jail has stood the test of time as a comedy classic. From its well-written plot, endearing cast, fantastic production and marketing, and entertaining soundtrack, it’s easy to see why the film has become a fan favorite.

The film’s reception was successful and profitable, making it a vital part of the Ernest franchise. Now, almost 30 years later, the movie is still cracking us up.

With its timeless humour, it’s sure to remain a movie favorite for years to come. FAQs:

1) Who directed Ernest Goes to Jail?

– John Cherry III

2) What genre is Ernest Goes to Jail? – Comedy

3) Who plays the lead character, Ernest P.

Worrell? – Jim Varney

4) Where was the movie mainly filmed?

– Hollywood, California

5) How was the movie marketed pre-release? – Jim Varney toured the country appearing on shows like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Arsenio Hall Show.

6) What is the movie’s overall budget? – $7 million

7) Who composed the movie’s soundtrack?

– Mark Snow

8) Which of the actors portrayed Lyle in the movie? – Randall “Tex” Cobb

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