Saginaw, Michigan-Troy Cedarwood, a former shift supervisor for GM, revealed today that he recently figured out the hidden joke in the movie Stroker Ace, a Burt Reynolds vehicle set in the world of auto racing and released in 1983.The film is often overlooked by film scholars, perhaps because it was sandwiched in Reynolds' career between the twin triumphs of Smokey and the Bandit 3 and Cannonball Run 2. But it has ranked high in polls of NASCAR fans, second only to Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly.
Troy saw the film at the age of twelve and always thought it was quite amusing. He forgot about it in his adolescent years, but rediscovered it on cable TV. Thanks to Country Music Television, he was able to view many airings of the film in recent years. CMT has aired the movie 2 ½ million times, which makes it second only to Pure Country in showings.
Troy explains, "I also enjoyed the film, you know. Burt Reynolds, the macho icon of the seventies, who did more to popularize the sleazy mustache than anyone, who posed nearly nude in Cosmopolitan to the delight of women everywhere, and he's wearing a chicken suit! I mean, that's comedy genius! And Ned Beatty drives his car into the water! Where do they come up with these things? But I sort of took it for granted. It was just something that was always there. Just some good clean innocent fun. And the name of the character, Stroker Ace, it just sounded like a macho name, kind of cliché, how many movies have a tough guy named Ace, you know, but basically okay.
"Anyway, the other day I was talking to this guy, and he had a weird way of pronouncing certain words. Maybe it was a Southern thing or something. Anyway, he pronounced 'ass' like 'ace.' I thought it was odd, but after a while something clicked. Ass, ace. And suddenly it all dawned on me. Stroker ace. Stroker ass. Stroke 'er ass! Stroke her ass! It's a pun, don't you get it? A total play on words! The title of the movie, the very spirit of the film itself, is a dirty joke! Did everyone else already know this, and was I the only one? In twenty-seven years no one ever told me!
"Sure, Lonnie Anderson's in the movie for sex appeal, but I never thought of it as a dirty movie. But if you look back at the poster, it all seems like a smutty joke. Burt Reynolds is standing behind Lonnie Anderson, smiling. And she looks totally startled, shocked even. It looks like he's got his dick up her ass, frankly. And you can't see what his hand is doin'. What's it doin'? Strokin' her ass, of course. It really does appear to be a rape scene. On the left of the poster you see the faces of the other actors. They're looking at Burt and Lonnie and they too look shocked, and titillated, maybe. It gives you the impression they'll all be going to some big orgy. It's really a disturbing bit of advertising. I hope Lonnie's okay.
"When you start thinking about this way, you wonder what other hidden meanings are there. I mean, think of the gay subtext. There's Jim Nabors, for starts. Usually Burt Reynolds brought along Dom DeLuise when he made a movie. But either way, he always brought a gay buddy. It must have been in his contract. And you can't see Ned Beatty without thinking of the hillbilly buggery of Deliverance. So is there a reason for all this? Can someone please explain it to me?
"Once you see a movie like Stroker Ace in a new way, it makes you wonder what else you're missing. The implications could go on forever. What if the very things our society is founded on, our very notions of civility and morality, are nothing more than an illusion, a thin layer of wet tissue paper that could collapse at any moment? What then? What then?"