This Guy Is Trying to Collect Every Single Copy of the Movie ‘Speed’ on VHS
Ryan Beitz owns over 500 copies of the movie Speed on VHS. He also owns 26 laser discs of the film, but those aren’t part of the collection. He just holds onto them so he can use them as bargaining chips to get more on VHS. His goal is a simple one: To collect every copy of Speed on VHS ever made. His other goal? To trick out his 15-passenger van to look just like the bus in the movie.
In order to see the World Speed Project in action, I decided to visit him at his current residence in Moscow, Idaho, where he has scattered all his copies of Speed throughout the van in anticipation of my arrival, and lined the ceiling with them. As we talk, he drives me and a handful of his friends out through the woods via a restricted-access sheep farm on his college campus. As he drives, copies of Speed periodically fall from the ceiling onto the floor.
VICE: Are we allowed to be back here? Ryan Beitz: Yeah, whatever. The signs just say “No Public Access.” We got official business. I don’t have car insurance now, but that’s OK because I only drive the van around for show. We’re going like 35, and I feel like we’re being respectful. We’re not trying to scare the sheep or like, steal them. Although we could put a sheep in here.
Why don’t you tell me what got you started collecting the Speeds? 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.
Then when I bought all six it was, like, way too good. 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.
How many copies do you have right now? I don’t know, like 550 or something. I haven’t counted in a while ‘cause who really cares?
And you’re going to collect them all. Yeah. People always go, “Dude how many of these things are you going to get?” And I’m like, “All of them, duh.”
Hollywood never met a true story it couldn’t fuck up. In Braveheart, the Battle of Stirling Bridge is fought without the bridge, a fuckup akin to a D-Day movie without a beach. They can fuck up downward, casting the five-foot-seven Martin Sheen as the famously tall Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg. They can fuck up life and death: In Band of Brothers a show so faithfully detail-oriented that it might well have been called, Honest, We Read a Book: The Miniseries, they killed one character 19 years before reality did.
But those are wars. Big things. You know, 50 million dead, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous, the atomic bomb. Getting smaller stories right is easier, or so you’d think. Like Heaven Is for Real, the tale of a four-year-old Nebraska boy—deliciously named Colton Burpo—who went to heaven then came back to tell his pastor father all about it. The bare bones of that story sounds like a Capra script already, but somehow, Hollywood fucked it up. Heaven Is for Real is phony. It isn’t even a fun bad movie.
You’ve probably heard about Heaven Is for Real, which, like everything, was a bookbefore it was a movie. Published in 2010, it sold like only a relentlessly heartstrings-jerking tale of a young boy who saw heaven during emergency surgery could. It was co-written by Colton Burpo’s father Todd and Lynn Vincent, who also co-wrote Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue and Never Surrender, with Lieutenant General William Boykin, who left the US Army after saying that America was at war with Satan and that he didn’t fear a Somali warlord because he was armed with a God, while the Somali had only an “idol,” and who once proudly stated that he wanted to crawl into heaven on all fours covered in blood. Those are the kind of righteously tone-deaf people Lynn Vincent writes books with, people whose level of doubt vacillates between, “Am I right, or am I really right?”
There’s a Bootleg Jurassic Park-Themed Restaurant in Los Angeles
Weirdness is getting harder to find these days.
Between marketers, sitcom characters, and whacky dickheads in shirts that say things about ninjas and bacon, genuinly odd stuff is difficult to come by. So I was extremely excited to hear about Jurassic Restaurant, a (presumably) unofficial Jurassic Park-themed Taiwanese restaurant in Industry, California.
Weird shit used to be everywhere. If Tod Browning’s Freaks is to be believed, it used to be that you could barely open your door without tripping over some undiscovered weirdo.
But then lunacy got gentrified and oddness became mainstream—co-opted by Phoebe from Friends and printed on trucker caps to be sold at Hot Topic (over 600 locations nationwide).
American entertainment became about gawking at weirdos. TV shows about women who eat couches or get plastic surgery to look like celebrities became the norm. The guy with a 300-pound scrotum (RIP) got an agent.
Marketers and advertisers got their claws in, too. Weirdness used to be a pursuit for outsiders, but now it’s thought up by teams of market researchers, to be regurgitated by the Old Spice Guy or the Geico Gecko.
Speaking of weird shit, did you go to the CBGB bathroom recreation at the Met? No, I spent enough time in the real one.
Which bathroom was the most rancid? CBGB’s. Max’s Kansas City was a little better. And the Mud Club was just people doing drugs and having sex, by then. So that was different too. Then there was like, the Anvil. I never really checked out the New York hard-core gay scene. That wasn’t really my thing—but I was glad that it was there.
Does it bother you that the New York underground scene you were involved in has been totally fetishized? I find it disturbing. But that’s the way it always is in history. They form these little groups after the fact. There was a brief moment in the early 80s where punk rock, graffiti artists, and hip-hop converged together. I loved hanging out at this bar that was in an alley behind the American Thread Building. It was fucking great because, you know, Bambaataa would show up and Jean-Michel [Basquiat] would be there. Arto Lindsay or Mick Jones or Futura 2000—we were all there together. That was fantastic. My point is, it’s always evolving into the next thing. That’s just the way it is. But if you want to freeze it anywhere, that kind of disturbs me.
Has your relationship with New York changed since those days? I mean, there are days when I love it. And then there are times—like on the way here when I was smushed against a stranger’s armpit—when I fucking hate it here. In my years here, I’ve seen it being sold out, sold out, sold out. To real estate, to corporate stuff. I must say that I don’t like the noise of the city anymore. And I don’t like how a lot of young people are just into money and status. Going out becomes less interesting. But New York is about change and it’s about hustle. It’s about Money-Making Manhattan. I don’t have nostalgia, like, Oh, if only New York was like 1978. But I’m kind of sick of New York.
We interviewed Jim Jarmusch about his new film Only Lovers Left Alive and offered him a puff of our e-cig, which he declined. Read the whole piece
Recently, I’ve been hearing a whole lot about David Lynch, and not from the Lynch camp or concerning any new projects (what’s it been, eight or so years since Inland Empire?). Rather, I’ve been hearing about Lynch from people who have been re-watching Lynch’s work, especially Twin Peaks. I was in junior high when the series came on, and I was more interested in watchingBeverly Hills, 90210 (the first incarnation, with my man Luke Perry as D-McKay).
But even my young, culturally stilted self couldn’t help being aware of the phenomenon that wasTwin Peaks when it hit prime time. The first season was a juggernaut of creative innovation that television had been waiting for, as the response from critics and viewers clearly showed.
By now, the tale of woe that is Corey’s Angels is the stuff of legend. We went to his birthday party last year, took a bunch of photos he claimed were doctored to make the party look bad, and then our writer was accused of being a pervert. The irony of Corey Feldman accusing someone of sexual deviancy at a party where he charged men $250 to hang around women in lingerie was clearly lost on him.
After a few weeks of Corey furiously tweeting his displeasure over the article, shit died down. Corey went back to retweeting any and all compliments he could find, and all seemed normal… until we saw an ad for a Corey’s Angels Valentine’s Day party. Which was, naturally, scheduled forFebruary 22nd.
It’d be fair to assume we would have learned our lesson and stayed away this time, but like the producers of Lost Boys 2, we went greedily went back for seconds despite having every reason in the world not to. Through cunning, guile, and perseverance (and a $300 entrance fee), we made it back to the Feldmansion.
Obviously, under no circumstances, would Corey allow someone from VICE back to one of his “parties,” so I came up with a pseudonym and invented the backstory that my guest was from out of town and looking to get crazy. The party had a dress code where all men had to wear suits, so I sucked in my gut and squeezed into my Sunday best. Cameras were banned this time around, so I took the illustrator Johnny Ryan with me to draw what happened.
If $300 seems like a lot for two grown men to go to a party, you’ll be horrified to learn that it almost cost more, as Corey’s assistant called me up and tried to claim that the advertised “Early Bird Special” on their website should have been discontinued before we bought our tickets and that we’d need to give Corey an extra $200. We simply refused to pay more and went on our way.