THERE’S immediate pressure on any celebrity asked by a newspaper about what books, TV and films they like – the answers must be either smart or funny. Maybe they can end up trying too hard. You can be too cool. Here’s writer, director, actor man, all round friend of Gervais, Stephen Merchant in today’s Independent:

‘I’ve been watching a lot of those existential American thrillers from the Seventies. They’re very bleak and open-ended, really thoughtful and leisurely paced, and it’s a great shame they don’t make that sort of thing anymore. I can’t really get with a lot of mainstream cinema these days, it just feels a bit too juvenile for me. I think I’m beginning to feel old.’

So, remember. Next time you’re invited around to Merchant’s Hampstead home for a movie night, take care. I’m not sure how you will get on if you turn up with a tub of popcorn, beers and a DVD of something like..  I dunno..  Hall Pass, the riotous Owen Wilson comedy from earlier in the year in which Merchant starred. It’s the story of two men given the ‘week off’ from their wives to do whatever they want and the juvenile hilarious high jinks that ensue. I was a bit old for that one.

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