Movie Review: Nuts! tells the semitrue story of a goat-testicle guru

Because Penny Lane’s documentary Nuts! is partially animated, the most obvious point of comparison would be other “cartoon docs,” like Waltz With Bashir or Chicago 10. But Nuts!‘s structure and tone actually fall halfway between a visitors’ center welcome video and a quirky public radio segment. To tell the strange story of one of the most successful snake-oil salesmen of the early 20th century, Lane’s film at times adopts the voice of the pitchman, positioning quack doctor and media magnate John R. Brinkley as a misunderstood genius finally getting his due. But Lane, like any great storyteller, springs surprises after luring her audience in. Nuts! keeps spinning one remarkable anecdote after another, like a well-read raconteur who holds a dinner party rapt with one good, “Hey, did you hear about this guy who…?”

Lane’s subject is this guy who made a fortune in the 1920s performing …

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