U.S. Sen. David Vitter has never been a fan of so-called Hollywood values — but he made a statement last week by inviting friends and supporters to join him at Chalmette Movies for a screening of The Interview, the controversial R-rated comedy that has irked North Korean officials (and not impressed film critics). In Louisiana, it was shown only in three cities: Chalmette, LaPlace and Shreveport. Vitter — who had urged President Barack Obama to screen the movie at the White House for members of Congress — brought his wife Wendy to Chalmette Movies for a Monday matinee, inviting along supporters.
"I just reacted the way a lot of folks have, thinking that this is absolutely ridiculous bullying from North Korea," Vitter told Gambit. "As Americans, we make our own decisions about what to see and not to see, and we're not going to let a dictator or a terrorist make those decisions for us."
Numerous cyber security experts have expressed dubiety that North Korea could be capable of a cyber attack as devastating as the one launched against Sony Entertainment, but Vitter said he hadn't heard those theories.
"Well, that's what all the evidence certainly points to," he said, reiterating his belief that North Korea was the culprit. In addition to supporting Americans' right to watch what they choose, Vitter urged moviegoers to donate an amount equal to the ticket price to the Wounded Warrior Project; he said he was kicking in $1,000.
Freedom isn't free, but at Chalmette Movies, it was a bargain: A Monday matinee was only $6.50. However, an informal survey of people at the box office indicated that most were there to see Annie (starring Houma native Quvenzhane Wallis) or the latest installment in The Hobbit series.
Asked if he knew The Interview was a raunchy, stoner comedy, Vitter said, "Apparently. ... If not for Kim Jong-Il, I'm not sure I ever would have seen it."
About 35 people joined the Vitters to watch what Variety called "a kind of terror attack to any audience with a limited tolerance for anal penetration jokes."