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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.