Matthew Lickona

Matthew Lickona

As an undergraduate at Thomas Aquinas College near Ojai, California, Matthew Lickona co-founded and ran The Hype, a college lit-mag printed on the school's copier and sold at a dollar a copy to pay off speeding tickets acquired while trying to make movie times in Los Angeles. This may or may not have helped him to land a job at the Reader upon graduation in 1995, but the paper did reprint some of his collegiate Easter Island-based cartoons, and later, his Mudflap Girls series. He has been at the paper ever since, in a variety of capacities: feature writer, wine columnist, church reviewer, restaurant critic, television columnist, editor at large, and now, film critic. Plus some other stuff under various pseudonyms.

Some samples of his early writing at the Reader:

March 20, 1997, page 54 Men Will Rise to the Level Women Demand of Them

Oct. 16, 1997, page 50 Pistol Pete Was Fat in All the Right Places(cattle insemination)

Oct. 30, 1997, page 46 My Darling Droolbucket

(one of the Daddy columns)

June 18, 1998, page 26 Dah Always Wins

March 20, 2003, page 59 Domestic Spy

He is the author of a couple of books (Swimming with Scapulars, Surfing with Mel), and his essays have appeared in places like The Awl, FirstThings.com, and Doublethink. In his spare time, he likes to write movie pitches and country songs.

Articles by Matthew Lickona

Take cover from the storm and see these movies this weekend

A critic's job is to say "Hey, look at this!"

There is no delight in being contrary for its own sake. It's as dishonest a critical move as quote-whore cheerleading. It cries out, "Hey, look at me!" when, of course, a critic's job is to ...

“It was the funniest thing I had ever read”

Director Richie Keen on Fist Fight, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and media ex machina

Growing up in Chicago, Richie Keen would ride his bike down to where John Hughes was shooting Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and sneak onto the set. Later, he started as an actor before becoming a ...

Verbinksi on vacation

Madman's dream, A Cure for Wellness

With Pirates of the Caribbean, Gore Verbinski took a silly-spooky theme park attraction and built it into a multibillion-dollar defense of bucking the system and living by your wits. With A Cure for Wellness, he ...

Sequel report

Some follow-up movies (Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back) are considerably better than others (Fifty Shades Darker)

First things first: the 2017 San Diego Jewish Film Festival is underway, and runs through the 17th. Film lineup is here. I rather like the cutline: "Our Lives Projected." Between that and the first San ...

If you’re making art and getting paid for it...

You don't do anything when you're comfortable.

Guitarist William Wilson loves his children too much to suggest they follow in his footsteps. “It’s too hard,” he says flatly. Still, “the other day, I was talking to a banker, and when I told ...

Maybe not a good time at the movies, but a timely time

Some relevant movies open this week, including I Am Not Your Negro and Fire at Sea

How does the old curse go? “May you live in interesting times”? It is certainly an interesting time. Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Each side is forever seeing further evidence of the other’s ...

James Baldwin’s notebook

I Am Not Your Negro makes San Diego premiere at Human Rights Watch Film Festival

I was sorry when my interview with I Am Not Your Negro director Raoul Peck was cancelled at the last minute, in part because I wanted to ask him — out of genuine curiosity as ...

What’s in a name?

Naming names in this week’s new releases: Paterson, Toni Erdmann, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and more

Adam Driver is a bus driver named Paterson in Paterson, New Jersey in Paterson, the new Jim Jarmusch film that earned a whopping five stars from Scott this week. Me, I’m holding out for Miles ...

Family values on the big screen

The ties that bind in this week’s new releases: 20th Century Women, The Ardennes, and more

Scott’s big (and mostly positive) review this week is 20th Century Women, Mike Mills’s memory of growing up surrounded by strong feminine figures of all sorts. (Greta Gerwig strikes again!) It’s one more example of ...

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