There's a movie floating around for "free" on one of the streaming platforms at the moment. It is forebodingly titled Dark Waters and it tells the story of deeply uncharismatic lawyer Rob Bilott's battle against corporate America.
It is still a new enough movie that it feels wrong to throw out spoilers, suffice to say it involves chemical company DuPont rolling into town and fouling the place up while using its status as the principal employer and benefactor to paint itself as the ultimate good citizen.
Conveniently, there's a real-time sequel happening we can all follow. For DuPont read the international Olympic committee and this film is called Games of the XXXII Olympiad.
In this sequel, the IOC and all their loyal subjects blow into Tokyo in the midst of a pandemic and… well, nobody's quite sure how the ending will go, but there will be fireworks.
It really is a brazen plot line but it's no surprise, the IOC has always been a bumptious director, draining other people's money – in this case Tokyo's – to spin box-office gold.
There will be talk about all the benefits for Tokyo – the jobs, the prestige, the shiny new sustainable facilities that speak to a modern city. Over two-and-a-bit weeks there'll be action scene after action scene, triumph of the human spirit and pathos in equal measure. After a rough couple of years, it's just what the world needs, right?
Never mind the fact that Greater Tokyo's 37 million residents squeezed in the metropolitan area at a density of 2650 people per square kilometre, really don't want the Games. Really don't. Like as in more than 80 per cent negative.
That May poll was taken before the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, which represents about 6000 primary care doctors, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga it which it "strongly" requested a cancellation.
Opposition to the Games has softened in recent polls as a sense of inevitability takes hold, but even still more than half do not want it taking place, the majority saying not this year, but many saying not at all.
The reasons for this are frighteningly simple.
The majority of Japan's citizens live in densely packed cities. As a country they have struggled to get on top of Covid-19, particularly the more recent and deadly variants. Tokyo and Osaka, the two major population centres, emerged from state of emergency lockdowns only a month ago.
The promised one-million-per-day vaccine rollout has proved to be a fairy tale. At the start of July, just eight per cent of the country had received one.
Against this backdrop, this scene-setter if you will, countries like the USA and Brazil, with about four million confirmed cases between them, will send massive delegations into their city.
There will be precautions taken – some of the most cautionary precautions in public health history, most likely.
So it will come as a massive shock that two athletes, South African footballers to be precise, have tested positive in the athletes' village less than a week before this movie starts.
That's a plot twist nobody except nearly everybody saw coming.
This is a big budget operation. Japan has already invested more than US$13 billion into it. Without fans and possibly without some sponsors that'll no longer want to be associated with a toxic brand, they won't come close to recouping that investment.
That's not the IOC's worry, though.
Say what you like about DuPont, at least they spent their own money while putting innocent citizen's lives at risk.
What a weekend for the defending champion in the resurgent business that is Formula One. Hamilton shunted his main title rival Max Verstappen into the barriers after half a lap, served a 10-second penalty then chased down a Ferrari to win in front of 140,000, yes you read that right, adoring fans at Silverstone. Red Bull principal Christian Horner, aka Mr Ginger Spice, described Hamilton's driving as unprofessional, desperate and dirty, ensuring that the rest of the season will be, groan, super spicy.
He won the Open Championship at his first attempt. With two majors already, he could be a great though he really needs to spark a feud with Brooks Koepka to get more column inches.
Just 22 and with two Tour de France titles under his belt, it feels like a formality that the Slovenian will break all records. His dominance on the final Pyrenean mountain stage further evidence that he's the brightest general classification cycling talent on the planet.
One necessary word of caution: as with any rider who appears to be in a class of his own, questions are starting to hover involving the nasty D word.
The utility back – is that his official designation now? – was one of the few rugby players I'd stop everything to watch at his peak. I can't be certain what stage of his career we're at but it's not "peak". Barrett has looked vanilla since returning and his injection into proceedings on Saturday night resulted in one half-break from broken field and a bunch of ball-shovelling at first-receiver that any NPC five-eighth could have performed with equal aplomb.
It's hard to reach any conclusion other than his extraordinary natural talents have been neutered by constant positional tinkering. It warrants a Government-funded independent inquiry. Until that time I can only hope Messrs Foster and co just give him a jersey, get out of the way and let him play again.
From the position they were in with time up in the first test, to the numerical-advantage gift they were handed in the third, could any other top-tier side in world rugby bar France have lost that series to the Wallabies?
An interesting letter from somebody who should know in response to last week's column about the dark side of schoolboy rugby.
I couldn't agree more with your sentiments about how unsavoury the whole business is. There is one phrase you used that I would like to comment on - "the ridiculous 1st XV arms race". That's bang on. The landscape has changed so much in recent years and it is my belief that some schools have simply lost all sense of perspective when it comes to 1st XV rugby. Having it now televised and live streamed has, I believe, raised the stakes, and I have some real concerns around that. Schools are using their 1st XV as their shop window. While this isn't necessarily a new phenomenon, the lengths that some schools have gone to in order to have a good 1st XV year in, year out, have been extraordinary and disturbing. A number of schools, however, do not poach or offer scholarships to senior rugby players. That means those schools will be strong some years, not so in others. That's the way it goes, and we are happy with that because we want our Year 9s to know that by the time they are seniors they will have a chance to play for our top teams, and that their places won't be usurped by a scholarship player who has come in at Year 13 or even Year 14 as has happened at some schools. And surely school is about more than rugby, hence my comments about perspective.
-David Bovey, Rector, Palmerston North Boys' High School.
North Otago's biggest booster Hayden Meikle has returned to his beloved ODT as sports editor and hit the ground running with the most grassroots rugby story ever. The yarn is not over-sold, yet contains a number of droll observations that will be instantly recognisable to those who play their footy in the lower reaches, including the fact the referee happened to be the father of the game's hero.