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

Spoilers ahead!

A few not-so-shocking giveaways about this week’s new movie releases, including Justice League and Frank Serpico

Okay, people, spoilers ahead. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. Justice League: Aquaman’s powers mostly go unused. BPM: AIDS kills. Frank Serpico: The hero cop of Serpico is a hero cop. Bill Nye: Science Guy: Bill Nye defends ...

Barbarians at heart

The Square is lengthy, sometimes luxuriating in its long the point of discomfiture

What is The Square? Well, it’s a piece of art, so there are no doubt any number of interpretations. But I’ll hazard a guess: The Square is writer-director Ruben Östlund’s latest salvo against institutions that, ...

That ’70s feeling

This week’s new movie releases look back: Murder on the Orient Express, Last Flag Flying, Novitiate

Novitiate? The Devils. Last Flag Flying? The Last Detail. Murder on the Orient Express? Murder on the Orient Express. No Greater Love? It ain’t exactly Winter Soldier, but it does involve war footage and traumatized ...

What’s in a restaurant name?

How Stake, West Pac Noodle Bar, Moo-Time, Leroy's, Lil Piggy's Bar-B-Q came into being

David Spatafore, the “visionary” and “primary owner” at Blue Bridge Hospitality, goofed with the name of his first restaurant. “We called it MooTown Creamery, and the concept was that we were going to make homemade ...

San Diego County Gestapo drove away farmer

Mikhail Baryshnikov poster: "Don't come back"

The House Where Nobody Lives sits out on Fuerte Drive in El Cajon. Kids sometimes visit at night to scare themselves: “Don’t come back” has been scratched into the black-and-white poster of a shirtless and ...


A plethora of three- and four-star movies in this week’s new releases, including Thor: Ragnarok, The Nile Hilton Incident, Jane, and Tragedy Girls

As the Beast used to say in the old X-Men comic books, “Oh my stars and garters.” (And yes, that’s a cheap way of referencing this week’s comic-book movie release, Thor: Ragnarok. Let’s get back ...

Death, stabby and otherwise

Knives abound in this week’s new movie releases, including 78/52 and Suburbicon

Guns are fun, but when directors really want to paint the screen red, they go for the stabbing, slicing, slashing goodness of blades. And this week sees the opening of 78/52, a documentary about maybe ...

A view of Mexico from the bathtub

Mel Taylor's home on Panorama Drive lot

It was the last undeveloped ocean view lot on La Mesa’s Panorama Drive, and the view was what made artist/designer Mel Taylor bite. The 7000+ square-foot home he nestled against the steep slope features decks ...

Qualcomm wants to be loved

“The genius behind your smartphone’s smart is a San Diego native.”

“Qualcomm: why you love your smartphone,” proclaims the company’s regional ad campaign, the one you may have seen on billboards, at bus stops, or on electric taxi carts around town. Curious: ­an ad campaign that ...

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