Vudu’s new filtered movie service gives families options

Vudu’s new filtered movie service gives families options

By Michael Foust
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist

What if you could turn a PG-13 movie into a family-friendly film that even a 7-year-old child could watch? 

Thanks to a new venture between Vudu, Walmart and Clearplay you can.

In September the Walmart-owned Vudu launched a new section on its platform called “Family Play,” allowing families to filter out rough language, sexuality and violence in more than 600 streaming movies, including action films like “Avengers: Endgame” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” as well as  more family-centric flicks like “Incredibles 2.”

The result: family movie night without uncomfortable moments — and without the need to dive for the remote. 

The service currently is available on computer browsers, iOS and Android devices and certain smart TVs, but Vudu says the list is growing. 

I tested the new service by watching “Superman Returns” with my young children — I connected my laptop to my TV with an HDMI cord — and it worked flawlessly.

More options

Most movies on Vudu can be rented or purchased although some are available free but with ads. 

It’s the most exciting development for family entertainment since the launch of VidAngel, which has a similar service but lost a court case, limiting what can be streamed legally. (VidAngel is still in business and remains the better option if you’re wanting to filter mature content from Netflix or Amazon Prime.)     

Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, said Walmart took a “bold stance” in launching the service. 

Helping parents

“They’re saying, ‘We know that parents want this. And we’re going to try to find a way to make it happen.’ I’m absolutely thrilled,” Winter said. “We hope other streaming platforms beyond just Vudu will seek to adopt something like [the filtering options].”

The new service also incorporates information from Common Sense Media, the popular website with parental reviews.   

Learn more at

Also worth watching this month:

  • “When Hope Calls” — If you’re a fan of Hallmark’s series “When Calls The Heart” — or just Hallmark movies in general — then you’ll love “When Hope Calls.” Set in 1916 it tells the story of sisters Lillian and Grace who open an orphanage in the Canadian town of Brookfield. The series has the same feel and look of “When Calls The Heart” but with an entirely different plot. It’s streaming now on Hallmark Movies Now, Hallmark’s on-demand streaming service. 
  • “Toy Story 4” and “The Lion King” — These Disney films are two of the most family-friendly movies of 2019. In “Toy Story 4,” Sheriff Woody has a new owner and a new hilarious friend: Forky. “The Lion King,” of course, is a live-action remake of the animated classic. (Parents may want to be prepared to discuss the film’s “circle of life” worldview.) Both films earn high marks for family entertainment. The Disney/Pixar film “Toy Story 4” is on digital platforms and on DVD/Blu-ray. “The Lion King” debuts on digital platforms Oct. 11, followed by DVD/Blu-ray on Oct. 22. 
  • “One on One with Kirk Cameron” — The well-known Christian actor interviews celebrities such as Phil Robertson and ends each show with a game or stunt with his guest. It’s enlightening and entertaining. The series airs Thursday nights on TBN which has undergone a transformation and now features a primetime lineup with the goal of reaching a new generation. The Thursday night lineup also includes “Drive Thru History” and “Jesus the Game Changer.”   

New series

  • “Carol’s Second Act” — This one comes with a caveat but first the plot: A middle-aged woman, Carol Kenney (Patricia Heaton), pursues her dream of becoming a doctor at age 50. This means of course that she will be training alongside young adults half her age. I only screened the first episode, which included one or two minor coarse words and an implication that one character is a lesbian. So why is it on the list? Here’s why: It’s funny, it contained no sexual humor (a rarity) and because Heaton is a favorite among many Christians. Watch with caution. It airs Thursday nights on CBS.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Michael Foust covers the intersection of faith and entertainment as a media reviewer for The Alabama Baptist. He also is the husband of an amazing wife and the father of four young children.