A little more than three years ago I described We’re The Millers as a “vulgar, sloppily written, oppressively unfunny road comedy. Plotwise it’s about a typical Middle-American family involved in a Mexican drug-smuggling charade, but thematically it’s a lampoon of suburban families and the hellish, self-loathing lives they presumably lead as they tow the normal line.
“There’s a scene in which Jason Sudeikis‘ character, a Denver pot dealer, is about to get a straight-arrow haircut so he’ll look like a stodgy family guy, and he goes into a longish riff about what a miserable thing it is to be Joe Schmoe with the kids and the mortgage and the temptation to put a gun in his mouth. And yet the movie is also about the nurturing effect of living this kind of life, and how even the most anti-straightlaced among us are drawn to it.”
An 11.1 N.Y. Times article by Dave Itzkoff mentions that Sudeikis is currently starring in a New York theatrical stage production of Dead Poet’s Society. (Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street.)
It also reports that Sudeikis and fiance Olivia Wilde have two kids, the recently arrived Daisy and a two-year-old son named Otis. Speaking as a dad who (along with my ex-wife Maggie) gave a lot of thought to naming his two sons, Jett and Dylan, and speaking as a non-fan of Richard Donner‘s Superman (’78), in which Ned Beatty played a doofus named Otis, that name gives me pause. Suidekis and Wilde’s son will be fine — he’ll own it, make it his own. But if I was a kid I wouldn’t want to be called Otis. Just being honest.
On one level Otis sounds like a hipster name or the name of a poet or scholar of some kind (i.e., the legendary film critic Otis Ferguson). But it’s a bit of a challenge name — a name that announces its otherness. To me it sounds like a cousin of Rufus, as in Rufus T. Firefly. Or Brumus, which is a great name for a St. Bernard and was also the name of Bobby Kennedy‘s dog back in the ’60s.