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,, and Doublethink. In his spare time, he likes to write movie pitches and country songs.

Articles by Matthew Lickona

The Lion King: Unlively action

Why on earth are a bunch of real animals celebrating the birth of a new apex predator?

Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you they were going to take you to a movie and you responded by asking, your voice leaping with a combination of hope and trepidation, ...

Superhero psychology: fans of Harry Potter and Batman cope

Dr. Janina Scarlet heals with Superhero Therapy book

“Janina Scarlet is a real-life superhero with an origin story to rival any Marvel character. After surviving a childhood radiation spill [at Chernobyl], she moved halfway around the earth [to San Diego], overcame PTSD and ...

Comic-Con – 50 years in San Diego

The cosplayers, homeless at the Con, Balboa Park's shrine to Comic-Con

The real stars of Comic-Con By Jay Allen Sanford Not long ago, few had ever heard the word “cosplay.” Nowadays, pretty much any pop culture convention will be overflowing with costumed role-players posing for snapshots ...

Christo goes Walking on Water

His passion exhibited: unfeigned, childlike excitement for the work at hand

Say this for Walking on Water, Andrey Paounov’s documentary on the installation artist Christo’s 2016 effort to mount an enormous orange floating pier on the surface of northern Italy’s Lake Iseo: there are no talking ...

The “stethoscope of the spirit” from Walker Percy’s novel Love in the Ruins

From brain oscillations to targeted electric brain massage

Whatever the wonders of data, Voytek remains a neuroscientist at heart. His eponymous lab studies neural oscillations and they role they play in cognition, aging, and disease. “For whatever reason,” he says, “there are certain ...

Bradley Voytek’s voyage: from Deep Space Nine to deep data mine

Bill Gates: “I’m always amazed by the disconnect between what we see in the news and the reality of the world around us.”

In 2010, Bradley Voytek was a frustrated grad student working toward a Ph.D. in neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He was frustrated because there was too much data. “I had to learn the basics of the ...

Reader writer concludes he is his father's son

A man he calls Pop

All my friends have settled down/ Become their mothers and their fathers without a sound… — Cowboy Junkies, “A Horse in the Country” I saved the audiobook of Michael Brendan Daugherty’s memoir My Father Left ...

Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix: Fiery redhead

Plays like a small-scale, humanly significant trauma drama

It didn’t have to end this way — in such thoroughly standard smash ‘em up fashion, with minor heroes dutifully duking it out with faceless hordes for punchy-power bolt minute after punchy-power-bolt minute until the ...

Signs in mind of Harry Crane, Orson Welles, and a rock-pile installation in Golden Hill Park

The collection is accompanied by something human: a face

A low-grade tag war broke out a couple of months ago on the retaining wall in front of a burnt-out motel near my home. Three letters — initials, surely — spraypainted by some poor soul ...