One of his major hobbyhorses—“a constant topic,” in James’s words—was the attention-hogging egotism of his own generation, the baby-boomers.
In his view, the boomers did not know when to step aside and cede the stage.
When he wasn’t writing creatively, he was writing about how much writing he was doing. John III is a musician and producer who owns an independent record label in Chicago.
You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”At some point, Hughes stopped and looked around, and he realized that he didn’t want to make movies anymore.
The answer, to some degree, lay in the wisdom of Ferris Bueller, who, as played by Matthew Broderick, delivered the most epigrammatic of Hughes-isms: “Life moves pretty fast.
Even James’s little boy, eight weeks old at the time of his grandfather’s death, has a stack of letters awaiting him.
Hughes, his sons say, reveled in grandfatherhood; he relished the concept of growing old and shifting into the role of eccentric paterfamilias.
Though he still kept up with new music—Hughes had been a legendarily voracious record buyer in the old days, admired by rock snobs for the acuity of his soundtrack picks—he now viewed it as his primary duty to be, in his younger son’s words, “the curious, engaged grandpa in the seersucker.”The creative writing he continued to do was, therefore, not necessarily for public consumption.
In recent years, he worked in a variety of formats: memoir, short fiction, and, yes, screenplays.
Whereas, in the 80s, he had hewed faithfully to the fashion conventions of the time, collecting expensive basketball shoes and wearing his hair in a rococo power mullet, in his last decade he pointedly dressed in a suit nearly every day, favoring Brooks Brothers and the custom tailor Henry Poole of Savile Row.
“I think it bothered him that people his same age, of similar means, were wearing sweat suits and Twittering,” said James.
James and his wife are now in the process of relocating to Chicago.
Among the first things John and James showed me was a little red Moleskine pocket notebook, three and a half by five and a half inches in size.
Writing was, for Hughes, not so much a profession as a condition of life. We convened at a hotel in Lake Forest, Illinois, not far from their parents’ home.