"Suddenly I'm no longer hearing people spontaneously express themselves; I'm hearing people deliver well-rehearsed speeches.
There's no question Chayefsky was a clever and gifted writer, but there are times in Emily when I wish he'd - what's the expression? - "reigned in his parade." "
Shouldn't that be "reined in his parade" ;-)?
There are people who speak in cogent sentences and paragraphs. Although I didn't agree with just about anything he said, (except when he advocated decriminalizing weed after sailing into international waters before trying it), you can listen to one of the best extemporaneous speakers ever, William F. Buckley, if you can find recordings of his old interview series. Possibly the best ever real-time advocate, even if it was in service to a false god. Paragraphs be damned, he practically spoke in complete essays. Dennis Miller (okay) and Bill Maher (better and smarter) are more contemporary practitioners of the art, but WFB remains the champ, IMHO.
Part of this performance art is the ability to remember previous rants, and refine and build upon them, honing the message with each repetition. Characters such as Charlie have had this argument before, and are smart enough to remember the most telling parts, and deliver them with gusto. Currently, Aaron Sorkin does some fine work on "Harry's Law", just as he did previously on "West Wing", even if he seems to be waxing more libertarian than liberal this time around.
As a long-time live theater fan, I am perhaps more tolerant of such speeches, as they are a very good theatrical device. The "heightened realism" of those speeches is useful in that it will get across very complex ideas with a minimum of confusion and spent time, something that is arguably not possible with the ums, errs, pauses, backtracks, and repetitions in the speech of ordinary mortals like myself.
Aaron Sorkin's script for The Social Network is another example of what I'm talking about; spontaneous exchanges between smart people that don't sound carefully prepared.
And of course, even William F. Buckley had a way of expressing his ideas without making them sound painstakingly rehearsed; on the other hand, Charlie Madison's scenes with Emily's mother feel so precisely timed and delivered you can almost hear Arthur Hiller off-camera saying "Cut and print."
I'm also a long time fan of live theater, but I don't think theatrical dialogue works well in film; it tends to sound like - well, theatrical dialogue. But if you have no problem with Emily's script, that's fine. In fact, I know many who think this is one of the best-written films of all time. And I know other people who cringe at much of the dialogue, simply because it calls attention to itself as WRITTEN DIALOGUE.
PS: And yes, "reined" would be correct. The expression, nonetheless, still applies.
I agree there is the "I've had this discussion a hundred times" type of speech pattern where the person DOES talk like that. The ideas are well-honed and the rant has undoubtedly been used before in somewhat the same form.
I particularly like some of the British comedians who are excellent at intelligent ad lib panel shows and can carry off a rant like this with great skill.
People whose stock in trade are arguments and words can become very good at using them to more or less beat the opposition into submission. In this setting it can be seen as his alternative to war, to using his fists or a gun, the same way comics who grew up in bad neighborhoods learn to use their wits and sense of humor as an alternative. I might suggest that many intelligent ranters aren't very happy people because they are outsiders but this can become their advantage in life.