Now, I have a confession. I spared the Ernest movies from this list. Mainly because I’d have to include all of them and I wanted to save room for other movies, but also because they are all pretty much the same movie. I wanted to keep this list reserved for the special, the absolute bottom of the mainstream film barrel (or at least of my barrel), and the Earnest movies are all pretty much identical to the commercials that made Jim Varney a star in the 80’s. It’s all the same joke. That said, Jim Varney makes the list with the Beverly Hillbillies, a TV adaptation that is so bad, you can smell the shame emanating from the screen.
The opening of the film focuses on the Clampetts striking it rich as the theme song expounds and moving to Beverly Hills. However, the central plot of the film centers on Jed looking for a new wife (Because there needed to be a resolution). So there are some other plot points, including one where a woman is trying to get to the Clapett’s money but this film is mainly 90 minutes of these actors embarrassing themselves.
Director Penelope Spheeris’ career really is a mixed bag. She did direct the very enjoyable Wayne’s World from 1992, but then did do this movie, the terrible Little Rascals remake and the David Spade and Chris Farley comedy Black Sheep, a movie that the late famed film critic Gene Siskel admittedly walked out on (something he only reportedly did two other times in his almost 30-year career). To me, this movie is much, much worse than Black Sheep (and that’s saying something). The Beverly Hillbillies is a weak attempt to cash in on a trend and to kick off another attempted franchise.
This is one of those movies that has a big cast, and is basically trying to sell itself just on the brand and its stars. There are also a lot of cameos (including one from the original Jed Clampett Buddy Ebsen), but really terrible comedies try to get snickers out of the audience with these appearances by other stars. This rarely works though and, in the case of the Beverly Hillbillies. there is no distracting from the bad acting and the metric ton of filler in this movie which is ultimately just a juvenile mess. The early 90’s saw a lot of popular television series from the 50’s and 60’s remade into silly, cameo-laden comedies, and the Beverly Hillbillies was one of the films that sort of slowed, and eventually killed, this trend.