We all have to find our place in the sun. For some it’s work, for others it’s parenthood. Some seek spiritual enlightenment. Ryan Beitz of Moscow, Idaho, has found his raison d’être. His mission in life is to collect every single VHS copy of the 1994 movie Speed, starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bukllock. So far, he has over 500 VHS tapes and 26 laser discs. (He doesn’t really care about those discs, though, they’re just there to trade for more VHS cassettes.)
What started one Christmas as gag gifts for his family (“Wouldn’t it be funny if I gave everyone VHS copies of Speed?”) quickly escalated into a frenzied sort of mono-mania when he realized he couldn’t go through it – HE COULDN’T GIVE THEM AWAY.
“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’?
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.”
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.