Anticipation hung in the air like streaky bacon last night at the Brunswick Institute as we counted down the minutes to the big event. The pizza was crusty, the Red Bull was cold, the corn was popping in the microwave. At the stroke of 7:30, we gathered around the telly and hit the switch.

This was it. Channel 9’s Premier Special Event – Fifty Great Movie One Liners. A familiar face filled the screen, round and pink with the twinkly eyes of a mischievous schoolboy.

But something wasn’t quite right. Bert’s obvious had a fair bit of scalpel work done recently, including a double cheek replacement, but whoever did his ears should be struck off. They were squashed flat on top and kinked outwards, like somebody has been sitting on his head, using them for footrests.

Then we realised it wasn’t Bert, after all. It was Peter Costello, doing an impersonation. “Living within our means,” he said. “No cheap political advantage.”

The guy couldn’t deliver a famous one-liner to save his life. Not only wasn’t he Bert Newton, we were tuned to the wrong channel. We switched to 9, pronto.

“Greed is good,” Michael Douglas was saying. “Greed is right.”

Just to double-check, we reverted to 2. “If we can reduce tax, we should,” said Costello.

This was getting confusing. Back to 9. “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

Damn right. If this got any more confusing, we’d be stuck with SBS or Simpsons reruns.

Back to 2. ” … including a new technical college in Perth … “

Back to 9. “I could’ve been a contender.”

Maybe it was too much Red Bull, but this was starting to get freaky. They were matching each other line for line. “A $16 per week tax cut. We’re on a mission from God. Carers bonus. Wax on, wax off. Pharmaceutical benefits. I feel the need, the need for speed. Super Hornets. At my command, unleash hell.”

Costello finished and a different bunch of guys with round, pink faces started talking about bracket creep and workplace participation rates. By that stage, Bert Newton, the real one, had reached the all-time number-one best-ever movie line.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

And neither, by that stage, did we.