This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.


U.S. Documentary Competition


A fascinating yarn gets a creative telling in "NUTS!," a documentary about a classic snake-oil salesman. Director Penny Lane starts with the rags-to-riches story of John R. Brinkley, a hardscrabble Kansas druggist-turned-physician who in the 1920s hit upon a proven cure for male impotency: The surgical implanting of goat testicles in the human scrotum. Brinkley built a medical empire on his miracle cure, and launched a successful radio station, until the American Medical Association and Federal Radio Commission (the predecessor to the FCC) shut him down. Undaunted, he relocated to Mexico, continuing his treatments and erecting a million-watt transmitter that blasted country music and spiritual programming across America. Lane employs a squadron of animators to tell Brinkley's story, using his authorized biography as her template — up until the moment she stops, artfully turning the story on its head. The results are a glorious look at the American dream running head-first into innocent gullibility.

— Sean P. Means

"NUTS!" screens again at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema 1, Park City; Sunday, noon, Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room; Monday, 9:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinema 3, Salt Lake City; Thursday, 9 a.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City; Saturday, Jan. 30, 3 p.m., Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City.

comments powered by Disqus