Whenever news about the NBN unfolds, I am reminded of a 1990 film called The Bonfire of the Vanities. This comparison, in the case you were one of the few who witnessed Tom Hanks’ failure to play a corruptible man, has little to do with its plot but everything to do with its production process. Everyone was waiting for this newsy blockbuster, based on a Tom Wolfe novel -- it looked so good on paper! Then as news of its Cleopatra-sized budget blowout began to leak, and as personnel compromises were made for peculiar reasons, we began to expect very little.

Very little was what we got. Investors lost money and the book’s difficult social themes, only just upheld by the skill of Wolfe, were swallowed inside a bloated script. An American story that had, in written form, served people with its critical look at both race and the finance sector was hollowed out into a festival of nothing. Not even Hollywood’s best taglines -- "An outrageous story of greed, lust and vanity” -- could save this craven dog.