Judging Kid Star Thomas Horn's Performance in Extremely Loud... Based Only on His Jeopardy! Expertise


Thomas Horn, who plays the 9-year-old protagonist in this winter's Tom Hanks/Sandra Bullock feature Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (which is gaining Oscar steam), gives a somewhat stilted first impression in the movie's trailer. He came off much stronger as a champion on Jeopardy!, where he towered over last year's Kids Week with a $31,800 finish. I say we judge his potential based on his Trebekian skills, not his trailer prowess. Which categories did he soar in? And are they helpful when solving Tom Hanks's key riddle?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close concerns a child whose father is killed in 9/11. The kid goes on a journey when he discovers a vase and a key his father left behind, and the surreal/magical trek brings him even closer to his mother. So: How can Jeopardy! help in this scenario?

Observing the gameboard of Horn's victory, it appears he's most proficient in government and world geography. You'll be disheartened to learn that he avoided both of the entertainment categories, but even then, he picked up a question or two in the "Video Games" and "I Wanna Watch TV!" columns (nice pandering, Jeopardy! -- why can't kids get asked questions about '40s Oscar winners and classical opera like everyone else?). Horn's character of Oskar Schell will need a complex understanding of New York City, a puzzlemaster's smarts, and a general precociousness to be believable. He has the third tenet in spades, and I'm confident he can pick up New York City's grid in a snap. Unfortunately, he only showed trivia prowess in the most cut-and-dry "trivia" categories, the ones where you either remember X, Y, and Z, or you don't. In the more puzzle-y "Synonyms" category, he didn't pick up a correct response, and he also went 0/5 in the cosmopolitan, uber-boulevardier Art category. For now, I will unfairly declare him a good match for the character's lovable smarts, but I question whether he's right for his intuitive savvy. But of course, I'm phrasing this entire theory in the form of a question.

(Thanks to the ever-fabulous J-Archive for the gameboard!)

J-Archive, July 8, 2010 [J-Archive]


  • Morgan Bruce says:

    Hmm? Questions about long-dead oscar winners and operas. Perhaps we should also include a lot of trivia about current child stars, the pop/rock charts (world-wide) and the latest computer games to balance it up. ie. 'Bzikebi' = Jeopardy answer. 'Who were the winners of the 2009 JESC competition?'
    In reality a group of 10-year-olds from Georgia (in Europe) who won the Europe-wide songquest for children aged 8-15. They have released a number of videos and can be seen on YouTube but not too many people in the USA might know that!.