Stanley “Stanless Steel” Pleskun is a lumbering, mumbling tree of a man. He hauls scrap metal for his New Jersey salvage company; he munches corncobs by the bushel at supper. Then, on weekends, he lifts trucks with his legs, drives nails into metal with his palm, manhandles horseshoes, and warps pennies with his meaty fingers.
But being the self-styled “Strongest Man in the World (At Bending Steel)” doesn’t make for riches and renown. Stanley performs in parking lots and at parties, and though he emblazons homemade T-shirts with hypes like “Power Beyond What Is Normal,” he finds himself powerless when it comes to life’s entanglements: problems with his girlfriend, professional jealousy, a dysfunctional family living in rural squalor.
Ten years in the making, Zachary Levy’s film is a stark and arresting study of a simple man trying to do good with what he’s got. As Stanley says during one of his many moments of self-reflection, “It’s hard to be a champion all day.”