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Cheadled: The Story of “Iron Man” Tim Meadows

By Elijah Bates

There’s a reason that Iron Man made almost $600 million worldwide this year and, although it might not be due strictly to the work of one Terrence Howard, he was certainly an important piece of the production’s not so puzzling success.

Howard aside, the action in this action-adventure was super intense, the effects were slick and never-before-seen, Jon Favreau’s direction and attention to detail were spot-on and the flow of the film was juuuuuuust right. However, eclipsing all these ideas was the simple fact that, though it may not have seemed so perfect when reading off the pre-release roster on IMDb, the cast of Iron Man just gelled together perfectly, creating a sort of quality character blend second only to The Dark Knight (at least as far as the summer of 2008 is concerned).

But now…now, word has come out that Terrence Howard, who played Tony Stark’s government sidekick/future partner-in-arms “Lt. Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes,” will regrettably no longer be in the sequel (tentatively due out May 7, 2010). Though Howard himself managed to tease the character’s future transformation into the war-like machine-esque War Machine (i.e. the grey-ish Iron Man-kinda thingamajig), he’ll no longer be personifying this character in the upcoming guaranteed blockbuster smash. Unfortunately for us all, due to his apparent “high salary demands,” Hollywood has decided to taint a good thing by turning to its other Oscar-nominated/semi-popular/too-fucking-serious actor, Don Cheadle.

That’s right, the seventh most popular actor from the Ocean‘s “trilogy” will be kicking ass alongside Robert Downey Jr. when the next edition in this series hits the silver screen. And this fact bothers the shit out of me.

Don Cheadle is not the man to take over what will undoubtedly be a much expanded, more heroic role from the first film. Yeah, yeah, he’s portrayed a lot of great people and he’s won acclaim for almost every part he’s played in the last ten years. Of course, he’s worked hard to shine a light on worldwide tragedies in Darfur, Sudan and other African areas that severely need as much help as they can get. And sure, he has the experience necessary due to his slew of side characters in lots of semi-popular action films, from Volcano (eh…), to Mission to Mars (eh?), to Swordfish (EH!). Given all these circumstances, Cheadle might really seem like a perfect replacement. However, there’s a perfectly valid reason why such could not be further from the truth. And that reason is this:

Don Cheadle is nothing more than a dramatic Tim Meadows. Seriously, look at a clean-cut photo of Tim Meadows. Now, look at a similar photo of Don Cheadle. There’s an impeccable similarity, am I right? NO?!

Come on, we’ve all been there before…walking down the sidewalk, when all of a sudden a bus stop poster catches our eye. “Is that Tim Meadows?!” we always ask ourselves. Unfortunately, it never is and there’s a reason for this. Tim Meadows, well…he kind of sucks. Sure, we all laughed at his 1990s’ portrayal of O.J. Simpson and everyone enjoyed his take of Ike Turner. But when it comes down to it, didn’t we all like Tim Meadows because he was the lone funny black guy on the show? I’m not intending or implying any racist notions with that statement, but over the course of his decade-long career in Studio 8H, it’s not like he ever one-time eclipsed the talents Farley, Sandler, Hartman, Ferrell or even Chris Kattan. Let’s be honest: in the long run, where does he stand on the scale of successful black SNL stars? He might not be fluttering down at the ass-end with Finesse Mitchell and Ellen Cleghorne, but he’s certainly not regarded on an Eddie Murphy-level of remembrance. Hell, Tracy Morgan lived under Meadows’ shadow during his entire time on the show, but when it comes down to it, who’s currently kicking ass on 30 Rock AND Scare Tactics, and who’s supporting Bill Engvall on a second-rate TBS-produced “comedy” show?

And this same generality flies for Cheadle. Sure he’s been nominated for an Academy Award, but so Haley Joel Osment and when’s the last time anyone heard anything or cared about that kid?

I guess I’m getting a little off-topic here. The point that I’m trying to get across is that, if I’m gonna be spending an hour and a half peering at someone who looks just like Tim Meadows, I’d honestly prefer to be watching Tim Meadows. Cheadle, I understand this is a huge role to take on, but do us all a favor and embrace your humanitarian roots. Your career is doing swimmingly and not taking a part like this won’t make or break you. Won’t you please gallantly step aside so that the Ladies Man can have a go at War Machine, as well as a chance a refreshened career?

No? Then fuck you.

PS – Paramount, please take a look at Cheadle’s track record. He’s box office poison.

PPS – Then again, so is Meadows. Ugh…just pay Howard what he wants. He was perfect last time and he at least has a bit of ability, at least in terms of not being a somber buzz kill.


3 Responses

  1. Hey now, Hayley Joel is opening with the Broadway revival of American Buffalo this month. If Harry Potter has taught us anything, Broadway still matters.

  2. If I can steal a line from “Jesus Camp”:


    So there.

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