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

Matthew Lickona and the Reader

San Diego wine and Porsche fans, Janet Flanner, Antiochian Orthodox church, Charger fans

Lickona has been at the Reader since 1995. 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 ...

Pop-Up Magazine’s touring show

“Nothing would be recorded. To see it, you had to be there.”

The California Sunday Magazine is included with “select Sunday copies” of the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. A one-year, six-issue subscription costs $39.95. The October 2019 issue featured a total of seven ...

The Geppetto of Taylor Guitars

You want romance? Buy three Taylors and play until one of them sings to you.

I once asked my wife if she thought I should attend art school. “How about business school?” she replied. A fellow I know, call him Tony, recently pared his collection of 40 guitars down to ...

Takashi Miike’s First Love: Why we fight

A bit less self-conscious, a bit more humane

My friend shook his head. “It’s been a bad year for movies,” he said. “A couple of blockbusters, and what else?” Well, a few things, at least. My favorite for the year so far is ...

The Russian Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake: something for everyone

A shot through the heart, and true love triumphs!

For the dark young man in flowing white drag: a heightened sense of reality, folk tales and folk dances transmogrified into sinuous spectacle by the touring company. Each movement considered and choreographed and beyond the ...

The Sound of Silence “muted” by Peter Sarsgaard’s strained expression

Maybe the quiet is surprising instead of fitting, since the movie is all about sound

Director and co-writer Michael Tyburski’s The Sound of Silence is, fittingly enough, a quiet film. In telling the story of a room tuner — a man who solves his clients’ problems by identifying dissonant sounds ...

El Norte: before and after

“Everything that happens in the film really happened to somebody.”

El Norte: Before Film director and self-identified Mexican-American Gregory Nava grew up in North Park during the ‘50s, but he had family in Mexico, and crossed the border “three to four times a week.” And ...

Los Reyes: Dog days and nights

That stuff is thoroughly human

There are two real dogs behind the canine stars of Los Reyes; their names are Football and Chola, and they really do spend their days (and nights) hanging around the titular skate park — the ...

One Child Nation: People v. Policy

How China went about preventing 338 million births between 1979 and 2015

There are a great many talking heads in Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang’s One Child Nation, a documentary devoted to exploring how exactly China went about preventing 338 million births between 1979 and 2015, when ...

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