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

A gnarly night at the movies

Including The Wedding Plan, A Dark Song, and Baywatch

Gnarly: difficult, dangerous, or challenging. The challenge of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? To make poor old Johnny Depp appealing again. Annnnd...nope. The difficulty of Baywatch: to make a successful R-rated ...

We bring Hollywood to San Marcos

ComicCon's Adult Swim Funhouse can make money

When horror maestro William Castle parked ambulances outside theaters showing Macabre in 1958, it was a publicity stunt. Today, it would be called experiential marketing, and the operation might well be handled by Hadley Media ...

He crashed Ford F-150 through the Bancroft's wall as band was starting

And there's more —Tower Bar, The Jewel Box, Zombie Lounge, Tobacco Rhoda’s, Wong's

It happens. Rob Logic, owner of the Bancroft in Spring Valley, can rattle off a list, starting with the time in 1964 when James Nelson Spencer smashed his Pontiac Bonneville through the front door of ...

Death, illness, poop, and divorce

Unpleasantness abounds in this week’s new movies, including Alien: Covenant and Obit

I’m probably more fascinated by H.R. Giger and his xenomorph than is entirely healthy, so it took me a little while to get over the fact that the aliens aren’t really the star, or even ...

La Mesa's Green Mile

University between 70th and Baltimore

University Avenue is improving. Between 70th and Baltimore, La Mesa is “maximizing walkability and creating a unifying streetscape theme” by installing trees along the sidewalks, amending crosswalks, updating street lights, and most significantly, planting the ...

How the world got to be the way it is

Director Vanessa Gould discusses Obit

Obit, Vanessa Gould’s documentary look at the obituary department of the New York Times in action, is as deceptive in tone as it is perceptive in vision. A strange air of calm rumination pervades the ...

Random people with great weed

The Vault on La Mesa Blvd. — "This is my afterlife"

Jay’s daughter has osteosarcoma — “cancer of the bone. She had to have her leg amputated. It also tries to travel to your heart and lungs, and it’s ongoing. They actually prescribed cannabis for her ...

The struggle is real. Or maybe just in your head.

Conflict, external and internal, in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Buster’s Mal Heart

In case my review of the (don’t call it quirky, don’t call it quirky) quirky psycho-thriller Buster’s Mal Heart didn’t fully convey it, I want to further express my delight at the film’s portrayal of ...

Doug Liman on The Wall

The sniper is so far away that you’ll be dead before you hear the gunshot

Doug Liman’s The Wall pits two American soldiers (John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, the latter looking like Jake Gyllenhaal and talking like Casey Affleck and acquitting himself admirably) against an Iraqi sniper in the pipelined, ...

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