Ryan Beitz, from Moscow, Idaho, is a huge fan of the movie ‘Speed’. So huge, that he’s actually on a quest to collect every single VHS copy of the movie ever made. So far, he has over 500 VHS tapes and 26 laser discs. But it’s the tapes that he’s really after, the discs are just there to trade off for more VHS cassettes. Ryan also owns a 15-passenger that he plans to transform into the passenger bus featured in the 1994 film.
Ryan’s weird obsession started way back when he used to live in Seattle. He was super-broke and had to get Christmas presents for his family. At a pawn shop, he found six copies of Speed, so he thought it would be really funny to give them all the same gift. “I wanted to watch them open them one at a time and go, ‘Oh, Speed. Don’t we already have this?’ Somebody else would go, ‘Oh, Speed. Really funny, Ryan’. Then by the time you went around, everybody would have gotten the same gift from me. Then I could tell them that I love them all equally, you know? Just some bullshit,” he said.
But when he ended up buying all six tapes, he realized that it was ‘way too good’. “I realized it was really fascinating to have that many, like, copies of a thing,” said Ryan. “What really cemented it was when I went down to another pawn shop, and they had, like, 30 copies. I said, ‘I’ll take them all’. They sold them to me for 11 cents a copy.” Ryan hasn’t looked back since. He said that he has about 550 now, but he hasn’t really counted them because, ‘who really cares’?
Photo: Ryan Beitz
As much as he loves collecting the tapes, he doesn’t really want to waste money on what he realizes is a useless and impossible hobby. “I don’t want to spend money on this. If a copy is more than $4, I’ll just steal it,” he said. “But that’s not going to make me stop. That’d be the same as somebody saying like, ‘It’s impossible to make the world a good place, so I’m not going to try.’ If the idea is awesome, I’m just going to devote myself to it, regardless.”
Photo: Ryan Beitz
Ryan is calling his bizarre attempt the ‘World Speed Project’. In his own words, he doesn’t ‘give a shit’ whether this is practical or not. In fact, he believes that his project has a deep connection to Freudian psychology. “I say it’s a practice in repetition compulsion, which is Freud. Basically, Freud thinks that the goal of your unconscious is to repeat. You just have to repeat over and over again. I can’t remember exactly why. I think it has something to do with eros – you know, the life force or whatever?”
“The World Speed Project is satisfied by a compulsion to repeat because when you get one, you want to get another! And another! And another! Like the bus in Speed, we collectively cannot – and will not – stop,” said Ryan. He is now running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to make his bus look like the one in the movie. He also wants to buy auto insurance so he can tour his bus and his collection of Speed tapes around America. He strongly believes that the World Speed Project is against the philosophy that everything in the world needs to be useful.