See all photos
"I'm trying to collect every single VHS copy of the hit 1994 action adventure film 'Speed.'"
That's the simple goal of Ryan Beitz, chairman of the World Speed Project based in Moscow, Idaho.
As a kid, growing up on a farm outside Pullman, Wash. Ryan and his brother, knowing that "Speed" "wasn't that bad" for an R Rated movie, managed to convince their mom to buy to it and because it was one of the only Rated R movies they owned on VHS, Ryan and his brother would watch it over and over again.
But that was just one copy. Now he owns 550. (He just picked up 13 more copies Wednesday night.)
If he finds it at Value Village, it tends to run $2 each. At Goodwill, copies are only 50 cents. And the project all started at a Seattle pawn shop on Aurora, where he bought 30 copies of "Speed" on VHS for $10 in 2006.
With so many copies of "Speed" lying around, he doesn't have to go far to watch Sandra Bullock take the reins of that bus. "I've watched a few of the VHS versions. Man, I tell you when I have to find a movie it's not difficult, so it makes watching the movie easy."
So back to the point. It's actually totally pointless, according Ryan. "If it had some sort of point, it would totally ruin it." But that won't stop us from trying to find a point to it all. You could say that collecting all of the VHS tapes is about a random, arbitrary decision on his part about collecting something in the universe. You could also say it is art for art's sake.
Ryan wouldn't disagree with either of those explanations of the World Speed Project.
But you could also say it's about anti-capitalism. That's not why he started the project, it was just an afterthought.
"It only occurred to me in the sense that if you consider it's part of a capitalist mindset to believe that everything has to have a really specific use to be practical, or useful in some way," he said. "My project is totally not useful, it's useless in every way - and then you could call it anti-capitalist."
The project's other goal, as pointed out on its KickStarter page is to turn Ryan's bus-converted passenger van into a mini version of the bus from "Speed."
As the 20th anniversary of the action flick approaching in June, Ryan's been doing a fair share of interviews about his unique collection - most to put the word out that he's looking for your "Speed" VHS tapes. But at least one reporter from NPR said he was going to reach out to the agents of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock to try and get a comment.
Ryan has contacted Fox in an attempt to find out how many copies of "Speed" on VHS exist. They told him they don't keep records on that sort thing.
"So I can never know how many there [are] but I've been using an analogy to explain my motivation: There's no way you can ever know if you made the world a good place or not, but that doesn't mean you're going to give up and that's exactly how we are at the World Speed Project."