Have you ever loved a movie so much that you just had to own every single copy of it? More specifically, have you ever had such a targeted and specific love for a movie that you had to own every single copy of it on VHS? Because Ryan Beitz has.
If you don’t recognize the name, allow me to formally introduce you to the guy who has made it his goal to collect every single VHS copy of Speed and then create his own Speed bus. And in case you’re wondering, yes. He’s taller than you. (Get it?)
As of right now, Beitz owns more than 500 copies of the Keanu Reeves-Sandra Bullock hit on VHS, and he’s not stopping there. However, his drive has less to do with a love of the film and more to do with life, quantity, Freud, Miley Cyrus, and life again.
— VICE (@VICE) April 22, 2014
As Beitz told Vice.com, this all started during some Christmas shopping. “I lived in Seattle and was super broke, and I had to come up with Christmas presents for my family. Usually I would just, like, dumpster-dive books or something and give them to them, but when I was at the pawn shop, they had six copies of Speed, and I thought it would be really funny to get everybody in my family the same gift, even me. 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.”
Little did he know, that bullshit would then blossom into a hobby. “Then when I bought all six it was, like, way too good,” Beitz said. “I realized it was really fascinating to have that many, like, same copies of a thing. What really cemented it was when I went 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.”
And now, Beitz’s hobby has led him to start the World Speed Project on Kickstarter, which he hopes will help him take his 15-passenger van and make it look identical to the bus in the movie. As for the VHS tapes? Well, he realizes that it’s probably impossible to really get them all. “I mean, probably, because of unknown human forces, the logistics of tracking them all down, and just the sheer expense. I don’t want to spend money on this. If a copy’s more than $4, I’ll just steal it. 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.”
Oh, and don’t forget Freud’s role in all of this. Never forget Freud. “I say it’s a practice in the repetition compulsion, which is Freud,” he said. “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?”
And thanks to that “life force or whatever,” Beitz is not slowing down any time soon. “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,” Beitz said, earning 10 extra points for his transition from Freud to Miley Cyrus.
As of right now, Beitz’s Kickstarter is nearly halfway to his final goal of $2,500. What comes next, nobody knows. Not even Keanu Reeves.