By Tim Stack
Updated October 26, 2012 at 04:39 PM EDT
Image Credit: Rhythm & Hues

Jaimie Trueblood[/caption]

Responsible for pop-culture TV phenoms The OC and Gossip Girl, writer Josh Schwartz knows a little something about dramatizing life as a teenager on screen. “The stories that I keep getting drawn back to are coming of age stories,” admits the 36-year-old. So it’s no surprise that his first big-screen outing would be the comedy Fun Size, opening today, about teen Wren (Victorious’s Victoria Justice) searching for her missing younger brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) on Halloween night. Schwartz gave EW some of the comedy classics that inspired his directorial debut.

Sixteen Candles (1984)

“It’s a comedy with a teenage girl at its center, but it’s also one that guys can enjoy. It was John Hughes’ first movie as a director. It’s really about family and rooted in Samantha Baker [Molly Ringwald] and her emotional journey in the same way Fun Size is about Wren’s family.”

The Goonies (1985)

“It’s one of the great underdog stories: a group of outcasts who become heroes in their own adventure. Mama Fratelli [Anne Ramsey] helped inspire Johnny Knoxville’s bad guy [in Fun Size].”

And does Schwartz’s film have an elaborate waterslide sequence like The Goonies? “We don’t. I wish. But we do have a giant humping chicken.”

Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

“The movies that influenced me the most in life are the John Hughes movies and the Amblin movies. And there is a vector between them: the early films of Chris Columbus, because he wrote The Goonies and directed Adventures in Babysitting. It was funny, exciting, and who didn’t have a crush on Elisabeth Shue?”

Home Alone (1990)

“Where Hughes meets Columbus! It holds up so well and it is a perfect holiday movie for all ages. Visually, I love the way that you see the film through Macaulay Culkin’s eyes, and when we’re off on Albert’s adventure, I really wanted that perspective.”

Adventureland (2009)

“It was really inspiring to me visually because it has a great sense of place and a very naturalistic look. The adventures our kids get into can get pretty crazy, but we always wanted Fun Size to feel like it was rooted in a world as real as Adventureland.”

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