Strongman Celebrates a Blue-Collar Ox


In the tawdry South Brunswick, New Jersey, apartment that he shares with graying girlfriend Barbara (and her shrilly disparaging sister), muscleman Stanley “Stanless Steel” Pleskun devours ears of corn as if he were competing at Coney Island, guffawing along to The Honeymooners on TV. Zachary Levy’s fly-on-the-wall portrait of Pleskun—a blue-collar ox who can bend pennies with his fingers and lift dump trucks with his legs—avoids cheap voiceover, titles, and other editorializing to poignantly show why this ponytailed Samson identifies with a hopeless dreamer like Ralph Kramden. Nudging past his performance prime, Pleskun is a mostly gentle juggernaut who wears his flaws nakedly: A crippling inability to market his superhuman prowess only exacerbates his selfishness, personal insecurity, and professional resentment. The seemingly transparent irony is that he’s powerless to pull himself out of a long-spanning rut, including a go-nowhere day job hauling scrap metal for a salvage company. Never once going for detached comic potshots at Pleskun, his uncomfortably old-fashioned and co-dependent relationship with Barbara, or even his high and trashy brother, Levy’s deeply sorrowful but wonderfully affectionate doc depicts the wistful link between humanity and celebrity.