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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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The cast of "How I Met Your Mother" (from left): Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders, Josh Radnor, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel. (photo courtesy CBS)
The Cricket's Daily 3: A pre-holiday 'Hobbit' habit

Here's what's being talked about today in pop culture:

• "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" topped the pre-Christmas weekend box-office chart, with a lower-than-expected $36.7 million. Newcomers "Jack Reacher" and "This Is 40" fared well, but "The Guilt Trip" was a dud. [Box Office Mojo]

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• Two deaths in rock 'n' roll over the weekend: Mike Scaccia, 47, guitarist for the industrial band Ministry, died after collapsing onstage at a show in Fort Worth, Texas; and Lee Dorman, 70, bass player for the iconic psychedelic band Iron Butterfly – who played the immortal riff on the 17-minute track "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida" -- died of natural causes at his home in Laguna Niguel, Calif. [Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times]

• Another year of not knowing who Ted Mosby married: Deals have been struck to bring CBS' sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" back for a ninth season. [Vulture]

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