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.

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

The Desert Oracle's Ken Layne

Protege of Country Dick Montana and Buddy Blue Seigal

In 1983, teenaged San Diegan Ken Layne had a revelation in Death Valley. “The teenage boys in my crowd would take whoever’s car that was working that weekend” — often, it was restaurateur Sam Chammas’s ...

Scampering caterpillars devour Anza Borrego's superbloom

Some sand verbena and desert sunflowers are hanging on.

By early April, the Anza-Borrego superbloom was all but over. Yellow puffs of blooming brittlebush still dotted the mountains on approach, and orange-petaled spindles still tipped the ocotillos’ tall tendrils, but the carpet of flowers ...

The unforgettable Unforgettable?

New movie releases this week include Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen, plus The Promise, Truman, and more

Have you forgotten that the Katherine Heigl crazy-ex thriller Unforgettable opens today? Probably not, because you probably never knew it in the first place. Hey-o! But here’s what’s really unforgettable: Scott Marks liked it. Full ...

Colossal is colossal, and that includes Miss Hathaway

Fate of the Furious loses to Colossal in this week’s new movie race

“Why is Anne Hathaway the most hated star in Hollywood?” is just one of the first-page results when you google “Anne Hathaway Hollywood.” The others are similar. It’s almost enough to make you love her ...

Prose before bros

Cezanne et Moi, a story of two of the greatest figures of the 19th Century and their 40-year friendship

Artists are a famously difficult bunch: if they’re not wreaking havoc as they wrestle their demons into something fit for public consumption, then they’re plundering everyone and everything around them in service of their precious ...

On the road again: Robus and Myra, Roger and Sissy

"You oughta see what happens when I do the Shrine Auditorium with 5000 black people in there."

Look at my eyes now Pastor Robus of God’s Real Church — abused child, former Hells Angel, prison rape victim, two-time mental patient, twice divorced, and successful businessman who left it behind when God appeared ...

Queen of the Desert does not rule the movie releases

Take a look at Frantz, Mine, The Void, The Ticket, and Your Name

If you are a certain sort of enterprising soul — that is, the sort who doesn’t want to pay for stuff — you can find the video of Werner Herzog’s masterclass in filmmaking out there ...

Ido Fluk’s a director, not a puppeteer

The Ticket proceeds with the deliberate, inexorable force of a fable

Director and co-writer Ido Fluk’s The Ticket stars a lean and hungry Dan Stevens as James, a blind man who recovers his sight and immediately sets his sights on the horizon. The way he sees ...

Babies best babes

The Boss Baby tops this week’s new movie releases

I like to tell myself that I go into every film with a completely open mind, ready to praise or blame based entirely on what I am about to witness onscreen. But that’s not always ...

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