Stephen ‘Spling’ Aspeling has been the resident movie reviewer and presenter of Talking Movies at Fine Music Radio for ten years, having broadcast over 500 straight episodes of the weekly film review series without fail since May 2013. Spling’s ongoing passion project is a much-loved film radio feature, which frequent listeners have praised as “erudite,” “succinct,” and “fresh and spontaneous.”
Spling says it has been his “mission to enrich the understanding of cinema and expand his audience’s love for the art form” as one of South Africa’s only dedicated movie review radio shows. Spling adds that he’s “tried to keep listeners informed, entertained, and inspired” by using a conversational tone to keep his evaluations accessible and relatable without downplaying the writing.
The 10-year anniversary and 500+ weekly episode milestone is notable, having not missed a single week’s broadcast on arts and culture powerhouse Fine Music Radio. Spling, who has been dubbed a “national treasure”, “our generation’s Barry Ronge” and “South Africa’s answer to Roger Ebert,” recognizes that he has a responsibility not just to his readers and listeners, but also to supporting the local cinema industry.
Spling created a special show to countdown his top ten favorite movies of all time after commemorating 500 episodes of Talking Movies by donating the same number of DVDs to the TEARS animal welfare charity. His top 10 favourite films being: Monty Python & The Holy Grail, Sunset Blvd., Chinatown, Excalibur, As It Is In Heaven, Into the Wild, The Intouchables, Departures, Army of Darkness and Mad Max: Fury Road.
Spling has heard various reasons why listeners tune into Talking Movies over the years, whether it’s to hear his unique perspectives, pick up movie conversation points, or wait for him to eventually give something 10/10. Having met a lot of listeners over the years, it’s funny how some of them anticipated him to be older, taller, and even blonde.
Talking Movies has stayed nearly constant in its three review structure, beginning with “Welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling”… and concluding with his catchphrase “…and remember, don’t wing it, SPL!NG it!” After a decade, Aspeling realizes it’s time to renew the time-honored Talking Movies. As a result, he’ll be launching new forms of Talking Movies shows.
A significant milestone achievement on his bucket list, Spling has also recently crossed off another item having published a book called ‘The Essence of Dreams: An Anthology of Film Reviews’, now available on Amazon. While Spling is known for Talking Movies, he’s not just talking or writing about films, streaming or on circuit, but helping them reach their full potential through his script consultancy, reviewmyscript.com.
So, whether you’re hearing about Spling for the first time or have seen every single episode of his Talking Movies, the film reviewer says “a big thank you to everyone” for making it possible.