One of the ultimate popcorn thrillers, Jan de Bont’s Speed is white-knuckle ‘90s escapism at its finest. The premise is absurd: Keanu Reeves plays a mumble-mouthed cop who must keep a city bus speeding down the Los Angeles highways above 50 mph if he wants to stop a bomb aboard the bus from exploding. Sandra Bullock plays the wisecracking, nerve-racked passenger who is forced to take control of the wheel. The film also boasts some clever script work from Joss Whedon and a vote of approval from Quentin Tarantino — who was offered the directing spot, but turned it down to work on Pulp Fiction.
There are plenty of Speed fans out there, but the ultimate Speed freak (ahem) has to be Ryan Beitz — who owns over 500 copies of the movie on VHS. There are 26 Laser Discs in his possession, but his VHS stash is the focus of the World Speed Project. If Beitz makes his Kickstarter goal, he’ll revamp his cruddy 15-passenger van to look like the bus in the movie and take his VHS collection on tour.
The Speed superfan recently told Vice that he started collecting the movie after grabbing six copies of the film at a pawnshop. He considered giving them to his family as a cheap holiday gift, but realized collecting six of anything was kind of weird and interesting.
“What really cemented it was when I went to another pawnshop, and they had, like, 30 copies. I said, ‘I’ll take them all.’ They sold them to me for 11 cents a copy,” he told the website. When asked if he saw the collection as “a radical dedication to uselessness,” Beitz said: "Totally. I don’t give a s**t whether what I do is practical or not; I just don’t want to perpetuate society’s s****y capitalism forever. If you see everything needs a use or an instrumental value as like part of a capitalistic worldview, then the World Speed Project is anti-that."
If you want to see a crazed Idahoan barreling down a street near you with a van full of Speed (on VHS, that is), head to Kickstarter to support the World Speed Project.
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