The fact that the Duffer Brothers had young actors auditioning for Stranger Things read lines from the Stand By Me screenplay might understandably sound alarm bells for those who are sick of empty-headed homages to '80s movies, and yet the Netflix series happens to be one of the rare entries in that overworked canon that manages to rise above its inspirations. That certainly came as a surprise to me -- and it sounds like it may have caught Stand By Me star Wil Wheaton off-guard as well.

Indeed, Wheaton -- who played the lead role of Gordie Lachance in the 1986 Rob Reiner classic -- may well be one of Stranger Things' biggest fans. According to the actor (via The Wrap), the series is in fact "one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced in my life as an audience member," and he attributes a lot of that to the casting of the young leads.

“It’s what makes something like Stranger Things so wonderful and so rewarding and so memorable,” said Wheaton, before adding: “We get to see actors who we’ve never seen before just become these roles. We can embrace the characters and they become real the same way the characters in Stand by Me did for our generation.”

For the record, Wheaton isn't the only person associated with Stand By Me to heap praise upon the series. Stephen King, who wrote the novella "The Body" on which the film was based, gushed over the movie on Twitter earlier this month.

A former contributor to sites including MTV's The Backlot and Bloody-Disgusting, Chris Eggertsen worked in film development before indulging his love of pop culture writing full time. He specializes in horror, the intersection of social issues and entertainment and Howard Stern. He's on Twitter @HitFixChris.