BIG GEORGE FOREMAN
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Niki
The movie starts on a black screen. A voice says, “I died when I was 28 years old.”
A young George Foreman (KEI) rides in the back of a pickup truck with his sisters Mary, Gloria, and brother Roy. Their mother, Nancy (SONJA SOHN), rides in the front passenger seat. They are dropped off in front of a run-down house. That night, Nancy splits a small hamburger into four pieces. Just as George is about to eat his piece, Mary motions for him to wait. Nancy then says grace but isn’t seen eating anything. After George finishes his piece, he mentions that he’s so hungry he could eat the table, and Mary gives him part of her piece.
The next day at school, George wears a shirt and pants with numerous holes while his shoes are so worn you can see half his sock. When the teacher asks a question, George’s hand shoots straight up, but the teacher doesn’t call him after noticing his appearance. The teacher calls on a black student with nice combed hair and ironed clothing.
At lunch, George sits with his classmates; however, he has nothing in front of him. He gawks as they all eat sandwiches and chicken. One classmate mocks him for not having any food. He takes the skin from his chicken and tosses it near the trash. He calls George not Foreman but “poor man.” The class laughs. George’s rage takes over him. He bolts to the student and punches him to the ground. Dares him to mock him again. When the teacher comes, George takes off.
Cut to a now older George (KHRIS DAVIS), walking the streets of Houston in a bad neighborhood. He meets up with a friend who offers him a flask. George takes it. Once they see a drunk guy stagger out of the bar, they begin to follow him. After a moment, they grab him, throw him down and search for his wallet. They don’t find it but do find a police badge. The drunk guy isn’t drunk, after all. Sirens get louder, and George and his run from the site. The friend goes one way, and George runs in the opposite direction. The cop car chases after him. George ducks under a raised house. The cop car parks, and the two officers begin to search for George with a police dog. George thinks fast. He notices the house pipes dripping into mud/poop. He must spread the mud/poop onto his face to mask his scent and avoid the dog. It works.
While George walks home, he notices a commercial for JOB CORP. He goes to his mom’s work, a diner, and discusses it with her. She doesn’t like it, but she supports him and pleads with him not to fight. Job Corp sends him to California. He does well there and meets a numbers wiz Desmond (JOHN MAGARO), who has snuck in a flask. George finds a surprise for him in his bag from his mom. It’s brand new Converse sneakers. After a day of training, he notices that someone has stolen his shoes. At lunch, he vents to Desmond and then spots one guy wearing brand-new sneakers that look exactly like his. George looks at him, and he looks right back. Then the thief runs out the door. George chases him throughout the campus. George busts through a dorm door and holds the guy outside a window. Doc Broadus (FOREST WHITAKER) walks by and breaks it up. George gets his shoes while Doc questions him about the door as the thief runs off. Doc gets George into his car. Doc has two options send George to jail or send him home. George pleads not to be kicked out. Doc seriously contemplates taking him to the train station.
Instead, they pull up to the boxing gym. Doc gives George boxing headgear and gloves. He faces off against another boxer who dances around the ring. George tires, and the boxer lays him on his back with one punch. Observers laugh. This gets under George’s skin. That rage comes back. George exits the ring, and with one swing, he can knock a punching bag off the ceiling. Doc sees George’s potential, and they begin to train. Doc teaches him to feel with his steps. Think with his mind. Use his advantages for his benefit. He teams up with a trainer and promotions guy that Doc knows.
George is able to call his mom, and she is disappointed to learn that he’s fighting again. George says it’s not fighting. It’s a sport with rules. George is able to win a few fights, and Doc says it’s too late for him to go to the Olympics in a year, but in five years, he’ll be ready. George is disappointed to hear that.
One year later, against all odds, George is at the Olympics. He faces off against Russian fighter Jonas Cepulis and wins the gold medal. The crowd chants, “Foreman! Foreman!” George is on top of the world. He’s handed a small American flag, and George waves it. Back in Houston, he proudly wears his gold medal. Still, his friend isn’t impressed because he thinks George let himself be used to representing a country that doesn’t value the Black community. George takes this as motivation and goes on a winning streak.
At the train station, he meets Paula (SHEIN MOMPREMIER), and they begin to date and eventually marry. George makes it to the championship fight against Joe Frazier. Commentators think George could leave the arena on a stretcher. Desmond is in the crowd. But George wins the fight by knocking out Frazier. He’s the new Heavyweight champion of the world. At a celebratory party, George offers to make Desmond his money man if Desmond gives up drinking. Desmond doesn’t hesitate to accept. Upstairs, George finds a pretty girl in his room. He doesn’t make her leave, and they spend the night together.
Muhammad Ali (SULLIVAN JONES) is on TV insulting George and proclaiming he’ll fight George anywhere, anytime. George brings his whole family to his mansion for his daughter’s birthday party. George makes suggestions for the cooking process and is distant from his wife. Before lunch, George takes credit for providing the food while his mom insists on thanking God. His sister Mary announces that she and her husband are pregnant. Desmond says he’s putting George’s money into rock-solid stocks while Paula answers a call, but no one is on the other line. Paula confronts George in private. She knows about all his affairs and wants him to come clean. George wants to focus on his upcoming fight against Ali.
Ali boasts in front of a crowd of sports columnists in the hotel lobby. George overhears this. One guy asks George for his side of things. George gets in Ali’s face, but in the end, he walks away. One spectator says George could put Ali in the morgue. During the fight, Ali’s strategy is to lean up against the ropes and take punches. This wears George out. Round and round, George gets exhausted. Ali keeps running his mouth throughout the fight. In the end, Ali punches a tired George out and wins the fight.
George speaks to his daughter on the phone, and Paula insists that he sign the divorce papers. Nancy tries to comfort George and doesn’t understand when he fired his trainer and promotions guy. George vents about how Ali’s strategy won the fight.
To get back respect, George does a boxing exhibition by trying to knock out five fighters in one day. Ali is one of the sports announcers and heckles George in the ring. They have words. In the locker room, George agrees to go back to being a true fighter and not a showman.
At the hospital, Mary and the baby are in a critical situation. Nancy wants to pray, but George doesn’t join them. Instead, he goes outside and prays that if God lets Mary and the baby live, the Lord can take George instead. In the morning, Mary and the baby are in great condition. The baby is named George.
George’s next fight is against Jimmy Young. George badly hurts Young but is unable to deliver a finishing blow. He suffered a knockdown in round twelve before losing by unanimous decisions. In the locker room, George begins hearing voices. He blacks out and falls and hits his head. He tells God that he wants to live. George wakes to see everyone huddled around him. He gets up against their wishes and yells Hallelujah as he sprays the shower water on himself.
He gives a sermon at church about loving fighting, but now he’s going to give his life to God. He sees a young woman in the crowd – Mary – (JASMINE MATHEWS). Doc tries to persuade him to get back in the ring, but George says he’s done fighting. He shows up at Ali’s mansion, and instead of asking for a rematch, which is what Ali suspected, he asks Ali for forgiveness. Ali, in his sarcastic way, gives George a hard time, but in the end, they part as friends full of respect for each other.
George asks for forgiveness from Paula and vows to be there for his children. He begins preaching on a street corner. Hecklers want George to go back into the ring, but George vows to die before getting into the ring again. He takes Mary to lunch, and she’s impressed that he’s changed his ways. He shows her a run-down church that he wants to fix up and begins his life as an ordained minister.
Seven years later, a grandmother approaches him, asking for help for her grandson, who has gotten into some trouble on the streets. She wants George to teach him to box, but George insists boxing isn’t the answer. Later, on the TV, George sees that his grandson has been arrested for burglary. George knows if he had met that young man where he was and not where George wanted him to be, he could have made a difference in that young boy’s life.
George meets Desmond at a run-down gym on a street corner. George plans to turn it into a youth center for young people to go to instead of the streets. Des says he’ll call the bank and move some money around to afford it. After George walks away, we see Desmond take out a flask and drink the last of it.
The youth center is a hit. Everyone loves going there, and George knows that he’s making a difference in his community. Then the power goes out. The secretary tells George that the power company told her that the bill hadn’t been paid. George and Mary go to the bank, and the employee tells him that Desmond made poor choices, and now George doesn’t have a penny to his name. Nancy comes to George the church. She tells him she knows he has the whole town looking for Desmond, who took off. Nancy pleads for him not to get bitter.
George finds Desmond in a bar. He runs. George chases him. Desmond admits that he lost all the money.
George does a commercial for BBQ sauce. He sells everything he has. He continues preaching, but it doesn’t make a dent. George has no choice but to go back to boxing. Mary doesn’t want him to take that path. She wakes in the middle of the night, and she tells George she has a vision. She believes it’s from God. She saw George as the Heavyweight champion. He approaches Doc, who is training another boxer. Doc teases George because he’s gained a lot of weight. Doc says if George gets down to 265 pounds, he’ll begin to train with him again. George gets to work. He gets another punching bag. Mary gives their kids pancakes and George oatmeal, and George runs with his son. It’s grueling, and neighbors worry when he holds himself up against a tree, but George is able to get down to 265 pounds.
Doc says with some new tricks, George might have a shot. Although many thought George’s return was a mistake, in his first fight, he’s able to beat Steve Zouski. People start taking him seriously, and the crowd cheers for him. He wins more fights, and the commentators root for him.
While continuing his comeback, George sells his name and face rights for various products. He creates an affable persona to seem relatable. He’s no longer surly and disrespectful. When he goes on the Johnny Carson show, he makes everyone laugh. His fighting style even changes – his footing is different, and his style is now relaxed. His lack of stamina came from an enormous amount of nervous tension. This is no longer an issue.
At the bank, the employee tells George and Mary that his money troubles are over. The George Foreman Grill will produce enough income for generations to come. But even though George doesn’t have to fight again, he’s not content. He knows Mary’s vision needs to come to fruition.
He puts in the time at the ring. At age 45, George has the opportunity to challenge Michael Moorer for the world championship. Moorer is 19 years his junior. George wears the same trunks he wore when he fought Ali. This time George is the underdog. They have a match, and it’s a challenge. This time, however, George uses his head just like Doc taught him way back when. He uses his advantages to his benefit. Finds Moorer’s flaws and uses them against him. George comments that he had to get knocked down to the bottom to see what was already there – you can do the impossible. George wins with a knockout. He kneels to give God the praise.
George retires and continues preaching. His youth center has been taken care of financially forever since he sold his rights to the George Foreman Grill for $187 million. He names all of his sons George Foreman, “if one of them falls, they all fall, and if one of them rises, they all rise.” Ali and George remain friends and talk daily for the rest of their lives.