Directed by Penny Lane
The true story of John Romulus Brinkley, a small-town Kansas doctor who discovers in 1917 that he can cure impotence by transplanting goat testicles into men. And that’s just the tipping point in this stranger-than-fiction tale. With the balls of a P.T. Barnum, the gonads of goats, and the wishful dreams of flaccid men, Brinkley amassed a fortune, was almost elected Governor of Kansas, invented junk mail and the infomercial, and built the world’s most powerful radio station. By the time all of the twists and turns of Brinkley’s story are revealed, Nuts! certainly earns its title.
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★★★½ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd
Once upon a time in American history (1918, to be precise), a man by the name of J.R. Brinkley got the bright idea that impotence could be cured by transplanting goat testicles into human bodies. The only thing crazier than his hypothesis was that people — thousands of them — actually believed him. As illuminating as it is immensely entertaining, Penny Lane's doc uses charming hand-crafted animation to trace how Brinkley ballooned a wacko epiphany into a vast media empire built on nothing but hot air. It's a chronicle of the American dream in action, and the fact that it's all true didn't stop Lane's film from ending with the best twist of this year's Sundance.
★★★★ review by Raul Marques on Letterboxd
A film about America's finest invention, unless anyone tells you otherwise, branding narrative, put together as a sort diversely animated South Park special who's greatest achievement is incorporating aesthetically every bit of its subject matter wicked ingeniousness, even if the twist wouldn't necessarily come off as surprising.
★★★★½ review by Jaimie on Letterboxd
This movie is so clever and the story is so wild, and it's kind of insane how much clear video and audio they were able to gather from 90-100 years ago.
I keep telling people to watch this and no one will believe me but...seriously, you NEED to see this.
★★★★ review by Koko on Letterboxd
Well, this was indeed Nuts!
★★★½ review by Jenna Ipcar on Letterboxd
It's so funny, I just read a book about the founding of Johns Hopkins at the beginning of the year, and then I just finished a book about the history of singing cowboys the other day, and I watched this on a total whim and had the sudden realization that I had read about him already in both books. A bizarre mix for sure, but Brinkley was a bizarre guy.
The founding of border radio and his marketing skills are surely worth recognition. Unfortunately everything else, as funny as it sounds, was far more harmful than I think he even let himself realize. This documentary is charming as heck - well cut, nice animations, great direction and short-n-sweet. I kind of wanted more information and details though, I coulda easily sat through another 15 to 20 minutes if needed.
Anyhow, he's an interesting guy worth the focus. This doc also wins for most weirdly depressing cold snap towards the end. I feel so bad for his son.
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