I’ve never really watched “R”-rated movies.
Yes, my religion has influenced that decision, but honestly, it’s way more than that. Mostly I just don’t really like them. I’ve never enjoyed watching violence or seeing nudity, and swearing has never been my thing, either. Give me an off-beat, uplifting film like Secondhand Lions, Big Fish, Midnight in Paris, or Life of Pi, and I’m all set. That’s just me, and I’m well aware there are a ton of people out there who think I’m crazy.
So, in general, I stick with my “good, clean, no-higher-than-PG-13” rule of thumb. That’s what makes me happiest, and it works for me, as well as my family.
But then, there’s this one.
This one rated “R” movie I’ve kind of always wanted to see.
The one I’ve always wanted to make a bit of an exception for.
I first heard about it when I returned back from an 18 month trip around the world. I had been completely out of the film loop up until that point; I was far too busy teaching English/working on farms/living out a backpack bigger than I was somewhere in the southern hemisphere.
Case in point:
In Canada where I grew up, Slumdog Millionaire is actually only rated 14A, (they have a completely different ratings system there), but when I heard it was rated “R” in the States, I decided to let it slip through my fingers, like sand in an hourglass.
Until LAST SATURDAY.
We recently heard about VidAngel, a new online movie streaming service that seamlessly filters movies and shows – legally – and allows you to choose the filters. And it costs A DOLLAR PER MOVIE (if you watch within 24 hours).
Um – say what now?
First, you need to sign up. (It doesn’t cost anything to sign up.)
After that, you browse through and select your movie. They have a really good selection – miles ahead of Netflix and even Amazon Prime. They have new releases, too, like The Martian. You can also watch the entire Star Wars series (okay, minus the newest one). VidAngel even did mankind a favor, and created a Jar Jar Binks filter. Yes. You read that right. Your life can be JAR JAR FREE. Don’t believe me? Here’s screenshot-proof:
VidAngel: changing the world, one Binks-less movie at a time.
Once your movie is selected, you choose your filters.
Each movie is dissected, and I mean reeaaally dissected. In fact, you are going to want to assign someone who doesn’t care all that much about spoilers to take care of choosing filters. They don’t say the name of the person involved, but they do say what happens so you can decide if you want to see or hear it, or not. Clicking on the video camera to the left of the description cuts it out. Like this, for Slumdog Millionaire:
You see how when I edited out the dead body, and it crossed and greyed out like that? That means it’s going to be filtered out.
If you click on the arrows to the left, it will describe what exactly the scene or word is, along with a number in brackets to tell you how much that word or scene occurs. For example, I also chose to remove all profanity and blasphemy from the film. Clicking on the “microphone” on the right will filter it out of the movie for you, and the microphone will become muted, like this:
Another feature I love is that they show you how much of the movie you’ll be missing, so you can really decide if you think it’s worth it to continue on watching the movie before you buy. Like this:
So, as you can see, I cut out under only 2 minutes of content from Slumdog Millionaire, so it’s probably worth still watching. For comparison’s sake, I decided to look up how much would be missing from Anchorman 2:
I applied all 261 filters, and, as you can see, that’s more than 10 minutes missing from the movie! (Granted, that includes the credits.)
Once you are done selecting your filters, you pay for the movie. This is where things get interesting, and the loophole they took around the copyright/consent problem (that previous film editing companies have had) is actually genius.
So you buy the movie from VidAngel for $20. It’s essentially like buying a “membership”. That amount is removed from your bank account. Since you own the movie during that time, and you choose the filters, it’s not censorship, just personal freedom. They’ve just done all of the work for you.
Once you are done watching the movie, you hit the “sell back” button. (No screenshot, but just imagine a big blue button that shows up once the movie is done. Are you imagining? Good. You can even select “Auto Sellback” for when the movie is done.) Then, if you watch it and sell it back within 24 hours, VidAngel gives you a $19 credit to watch future movies. It’s a dollar per day, so if you take 3 days to watch it, you’ll get back $16. Clear as mud?
*UPDATE*: We had an awesome response from a reader that clarified things a little, and summed it up perfectly, so I’m going to say it here. Thanks Shea!
“To be clear on the sell-back, you get a $19 account credit, not refund, since it doesn’t go back to your bank. That being said, its like paying $19 for a “membership” to VidAngel since every movie after is only a $1. Unless you rent two at a time. Then you get charged another $20 to your account. Of course, when you sell back your left with a $38 credit to buy a movie with or slowly whittle away through rentals.”
You can get more info on the sell-back process here or check out this YouTube video.
If you want to cash it out, you can, and you can choose to keep the movie permanently as well!
So, quick overview from this page:
- BUY THE MOVIE – Pay the retail price of $20. (initial credit card payment)
- WATCH FOR $2.00 – $2.00 (per day for HD movies) is deducted from the $20 credit. $1 per day for SD or Television shows.
- SELL THE MOVIE – When finished, “Sell it Back” for $18.00 of instant credit to your VidAngel account for your next purchase.
Grand total for a 24 hour sell-back? ONE. DOLLAR.
As I watched the movie, I was impressed at how seamless the filters really were. There also wasn’t any “bleeping”, it was just silent or skipped all together. Yes, there were plenty of parts we were obviously missing, and there were moments when I thought, “Oh, I remember setting that filter – that’s what we just missed.” Overall, though, I was really glad I could read through them and choose for myself what I wanted to see. In fact, I thought several times, “Man, I wish I would have filtered that out.” So next time, I think I’ll select a few more filters. It’s all up to you and what you wish to see.
Next on the watch list? THIS.
I am a huge, huge, huge Les Mis fan, but there were several scenes in the 2012 film that I wasn’t the biggest fan of, so I haven’t bothered to purchase the movie on BluRay. (That’s kind of blasphemy for me as I love the production and book so much.) I simply CANNOT WAIT to watch it with a few of those parts taken out! (Bring on the ugly cry!)
So, in summary:
The bottom line? Protecting our families is important. We aren’t perfect, but like every other family, we try, and try, and try again. We utilize technology like VidAngel and Circle to help us, and we teach our kids what they should do when they come across something inappropriate. (Because, let’s face it, it’s not “if” anymore…it’s when.)
Oh, and Slumdog Millionaire was awesome. But sad. And happy? Still digesting thoughts and emotions over here.
So sad that Vidangel got shut down and has to deal with their lawsuit. Such a great service. Signed up for the new Netflix service and it is flawless.
That’s awesome, I am excited to try it out!
I avoid Rated R movies and other movies I feel would be inappropriate for someone trying to be a good Christian. However, some Rated R movies, without certain content, have redeeming value. I love Vidangel for allowing me to watch these movies. Of course, as others have said, even without all of the filters, Vidangel is still an awesome service! It’s cheap and convenient– and ingenious! I really hope it doesn’t go anywhere (go out of business, etc.)
I’ll be watching “The Big Lebowski” to finally see what all my coworkers rave about. I am very excited, and I am so glad I didn’t give in earlier. The studios are mad, but it is their own fault that they insisted on a “take it all or leave it” policy and they should have been selling this to us themselves years ago. A low-friction secondary marketplace is legal, and should be protected by the courts against monopoly power. We’ll see if they give in to Hollywood’s money and influence or not.
It’s true. This whole lawsuit thing is pretty sad. I hope VidAngel doesn’t lose sight of their goal. I completely agree with you!
We just recently discovered Vidangel and we love it, too! We just watched Schindler’s List and Ring of Spies. It was awesome to watch war movies without nudity and explosive language. 🙂
Thanks so much for this awesome overview! I am so glad you finally got to enjoy Slumdog Millionaire; it is one of our favorite movies of all time.
I’ve just signed up for VidAngel and am soon going to be enjoying that one R-Rated movie that I have been dying to watch…. Deadpool! I’ve been a fan since I was a kid and was really sad when it “earned it’s R rating”, as everyone is so fond of saying. When I talked about finding an edited version, people joked that it would be about 10 minutes long… I applied all the filters I wanted and only lost about 6 minutes of screen time. It’s going to be the best Super-Hero silent movie ever!
And like a lot of commenters, I would love to try Game of Thrones next… I just have to wait for the technology that can filter cynicism and negativity.
Whoo hoo! Right? Everyone kinda has that one they really wanna see. So glad you signed up! Enjoy the movie!
And just you wait…those filters will come…some day! Ha!
I am SO excited about VidAngel. I have wanted to watch Game of Thrones since it came out. They informed me that they have ALL FIVE seasons.
I hope I have a device I can stream them on.
Just wanted to update you guys and say THANK YOU for posting about this website! We decided to try it out and we really love it! We’ve been able to watch a number of movies (which we hadn’t initially watched because of a few scenes that are offensive to us) and they were great. So happy to have discovered this website. Thanks so much! :))
Cathy Christensen, is that you?!?
Yes! Ha ha ha. Is this my neighbor from so many years ago?!
Yes! I am so excited to find one of my favourite ‘littles’ on one of my favourite blogs, hurray for the interwebs!
I watched mystery Alaska today and was thinking man I could have done without the excessive f-bomb and sex scenes. It’s such a good movie without all that and would totally be on my rewatch list for the sports story without it. Good to know about this
Right?! I feel the same way. Give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.
Just watched The Intern for a buck on Vidangel! Thanks for the tip!
I ?Circle !!! It’s awesome. I can’t recommend it enough!
We used it for the first time tonight and loved it! We watched Wild with Reese Witherspoon. So happy we could filter out all the stuff we didn’t want!
I found the VidAngel app the other day on my Apple TV App Store. So if you have the new 4th generation Apple TV, it’s on there! We just rented “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy tonight. I filtered out all 300+ f-bombs. Can you imagine having to hear that many? It was awesome to NOT have to listen to crude language that has Zero to do with the plot! We love VidAngel!!
That makes me SO happy to hear! And good to know about the Apple TV! And 300? As much as I love Sookie, ya, no thanks.
We LOVE Vidangel and I’m pretty sure our friends think we sell it since we are always raving about it. I’m hoping a ton of people will start to use it so that more movies will be added. I’d love to see some older ones on there!
Right?! I know! It will get big. I just know it.
Will have to check this out. Sounds really great!! :)) My husband and I haven’t wanted to watch that particular Star Wars movie because of that scene so this would be perfect! 🙂 And there are plenty of other movies that this could be great for like movies that have that ‘one scene’ that’s bad and the rest of the movie is good. I can’t wait to show my hubby!! 🙂
Can anyone tell me if they have Stand By Me?!!!
Darn, I don’t see it!
We too love vidangel. To be clear on the sellback, you get a $19 account credit, not refund, since it doesn’t go back to your bank. That being said, its like paying $19 for a “membership” to vidangel since every movie after is only a $1. Unless you rent two at a time. Then you get charged another $20 to your account. Of course, when you sell back your left with a $38 credit to buy a movie with or slowly whittle away through rentals.
Awesome way to watch shows!
Thank you for clarifying that! We are still new to the system, so we haven’t gone that far into things yet. I actually loved your comment so much that I put it right into the post! Thank you!
Every SD movie is actually $1.95 average after you watch 20 movies. $20 for the first + $1 for the next 19. Total $39 for 20 movies which is $1.95 average.
Couple things I’m not clear on: What do you play this on? Do you have to have a ROKU or something? And if I purchase the movie, where does it stayed stored and will i have it forever??
You can play it on just about any device – laptop, iPad, iPhone, Chromecast, ROKU. We played it on our laptop and then plugged our HDMI cord into the TV. I haven’t purchased a movie yet, but apparently, yes, you can purchase one, and I’m assuming it will just stay stored on VidAngel on your account.
Actually I just found the answer here:
They put your $20 as a credit, then add and subtract from your credit with each buy and sell. Meaning you pay the $20 and plan to keep it there as a credit to buy and sell from. You can cash it out, it says. But people need to know they won’t be getting that money back in their bank account each time, so keep that in mind.
Perfect! I’ve put that link into the post and clarified things a little. I appreciate that!
Yes it is the best! It’s great for my 11 year old son who wants to watch pg 13 movies. We love vid angel!
Sounds awesome! So will it allow you to actually BUY the edited movie and keep it? I’m like you with Les Mis, but I’d love to own the copy once I’ve edited it so I can watch it whenever I want.
Yes, you can absolutely do that!
Actually, they will send the DVD to you, but the DVD is not edited. When the movie is streamed, the filter applies the chosen edits.
Thanks for a detailed explanation. It sounds like a great solution to the movie problem! Also, we have that mormonad on our fridge. Love it!
Thank you for this. I have looked around their site but haven’t pulled the trigger on any of the movies yet. It’s nice to hear an independent review. And Mormons doing memes before they were cool? So true. :o)
Thank you so much for a great post and review of something that you feel strongly about. I am so glad for a relatively easy way to watch movies and protect my family at the same time. My kids are going to be thrilled about watching Star Wars and I will feel comfortable showing it to them. Win-win!
We love vidangel too! We’ve been using it for almost a year. Slumdog Millionaire was one of my favorites on there also. I love it because we can watch all the popular movies (my kids love all the superhero movies and so many are a little violent or have bad language) as a family and they can be appropriate and enjoyable for all of us ages 5-40.
Thank you for explaining the “own it” feature of the $20. I was a bit confused on HOW you own it but only pay $1. So excited to see some movies like The King’s Speech without the swearing! 🙂
Right?! That is one of my favorite movies…also rated 14A in Canada! Ha ha. I am excited for that one too!
I discovered VidAngel in November and thought it was awesome- even if you choose not to filter anything, it’s cheaper and more convenient than RedBox! We watch it via our Roku and have never had any streaming problems. My mom, who loves watching movies but is, let’s say…NOT tech savvy…also absolutely loves it, especially because if she accidentally purchases things she doesn’t mean to or can’t get it to play right (pretty much 100% user-error), they have wonderful, attentive customer service that makes it right ASAP.
It really isn’t cheaper. RedBox movies are $1.95 and with VidAngel after watching 20 SD movies the average cost is $1.95. After watching 1 movie the cost is $20. After 2 movies $10.50 etc until the $19 credit is used up.