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Final Day - Tuesday, July 5


In 1917, J.R. Brinkley, a country doctor practicing in Milford, Kansas, begins treating his male patients for impotence by surgically implanting them with goat glands, a treatment that is so successful that Brinkley starts raising his own goats to meet an increasing demand. Over the years he builds the country’s 4th most powerful radio station (the better to sell his medical miracle), runs for governor of Kansas, and amasses a fortune with which he lives in sumptuous splendor. Filmmaker Penny Lane writes: “Like my previous feature-length film OUR NIXON, NUTS! is structured as classical tragedy with a complicated and deeply hubristic protagonist, rendered with equal parts comedy and pathos.” NUTS! draws upon a fascinating trove of archival materials and integrates charming animated sequences that, together, bring to life a man who saw himself as more Albert Schweitzer than P.T. Barnum, but who ultimately turns out to be an unholy mix of Bernie Madoff and Donald Trump.

USA • 2016 • 79 MINS • CARTUNA


“Critic’s Pick! An inventive documentary… tells a quintessentially American story – one that elicits both wonder and horror. An entertaining tale of made-in-the-U.S.A. bunco. This brisk movie is that, and more. (Marked by) the filmmaker’s genuinely cunningstrategy. The movie culminates in a cinematic coup de grâce bold enough to spin your head – one that gives the movie an entirely new dimension.” 
– Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
Read the full review here.

“Marvelous! Showcases, with wit and suspense, the undoing of one of the 20th century’s great flimflam artists. A grand cartoon playlet, scripted like the best movie dramas.” 
– Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“Penny Lane tells an extraordinary story… She is a story-maker, a sort of historical epistemologist, and also an artist of taste and invention. She uses animated sequences…(and)  extraordinary archival research and comes up with newsreel footage… restoring the past to a vital immediacy. She’s a classical modernist whose good and wondrous story reflects her own astonishment at the weird ways of the world and its archival traces and trails. She herself watches the scope and implications of the project expand into astonishing realms of power and influence. NUTS! is fiercely original in its ingeniously dramatic storytelling, its vision of the place of such stories in the media-scape, and its aesthetically refined yet good-humored vigor.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker online 

“The strange story of one of the most successful snake-oil salesmen of the early 20th century. Lane, like any great storyteller, springs surprises after luring her audience in (and) keeps spinning one remarkable anecdote after another. Given all that’s happened in the world since NUTS! debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this past January, this documentary has gone from being an amusing novelty to an urgent warning.”
– Noel Murray, A.V. Club, The Onion

****! [4 STARS]
“A ridiculously enjoyable ode to old, weird America. Mixing droll animation, stock footage and a restrained number of talking head interviews, the director Penny Lane’s biography has all the whimsy of a tall tale, until a late change in tone surprises with genuine emotion. NUTS! is really a kick.”

– Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian

“The tale of one of the most colorful characters in American success lore, a country-boy made good. It further tantalizes the viewer with the notion that anybody with a good idea and the balls (pun intended) to run with it can become widely successful. A blend of cornpone commentary and tongue-in-cheek exposition, NUTS! is consistently very entertaining.”
– Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter

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