Please suggest self-aware romantic comedies. (Rather lengthy explanation sheepishly included.)
Here is a list of things I like in a movie, with examples. The basic genre is "smart romantic comedy", but there is a specific list of attributes I'm focussed on.
1. Can you suggest more movies that fit into this genre?
2. Can you succinctly name this genre?
The major conflict is realistic & interpersonal (no chainsaws, no sharks, no murders).
The stakes are not "life v. death", they are more like "fulflling, challenging love v. boredom & loneliness" (eg, Annie Hall)
The plot is logical and simple, although it can be quirky.
The plot is possible- it could happen to almost anyone in the audience.
The tone is irreverent, ironic, and modern (although I'm very interested in classic movies that fit this genre, too).
The music is important and carefully chosen, and maybe even performed live by a character at some point (the final duet in Juno).
The locations are romanticized (Paris in Amelie, the record shop in High Fidelity, the quarry in Garden State)
I like quirky, but we don't need to go overboard (Garden State goes overboard: Juno is pushing it in a few scenes).
The characters are charming, detailed, funny, self-aware, and ironic.
Females are smart, funny, and genuinely equal matches for males. Men are not slacker cads who resent growing up, and women are not shallow bridezillas (eg, not like Knocked Up).
Not everyone is the same race, sexual orientation, social class, etc., and yet these differences are not a big deal and don't drive the plot.
There is a sense of friendly competition and fraternity between the characters, especially the lead couple (Pam & Jim in The Office).
The characters enliven their days by playing games with themselves, or indulge in small, private ceremonies (Amelie skips stones; Cusack makes lists in High Fidelity).
The characters have a high reference level- they are up to date without seeming too trendy or topical (Woody Allen knows his McLuhan in Annie Hall, Tina Fey in 30-Rock).
There are comedic "bits", plum roles, and/or killer scenes that may be somewhat tangential to the main action but add a lot to the tone. (Jack Black in High Fidelity, the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally.)
The romance is quirky- people give each other Pepto Bismol and comic books, not roses and chocolate.
The characters tend to be a little dry, cynical, or self-conscious, but there are parts where we see their genuine sweetness and love.
At the climax, the audience reaches a soft, open, innocent emotional state where they smile a lot and cry a little at the same time. A big, swelling, satisfying feeling (Amelie when the music swells as they ride the scooter through Paris, Wall-E when he & Eve hold hands).
AWARENESS OF VIEWER
** I'm interested in movies that only fit the above criteria- but, major bonus points if you can suggest films with the following trait as well:
The main characters are occasionally aware of the viewer and look or speak directly to camera at times.
(as occurs in The Office, Annie Hall, High Fidelity, Amelie.)
That's about it, I guess.
So, how to pithily describe this genre?
What movies should I rent in order to research it?
I also welcome general comments about the genre if you think my list of its traits is flawed or incomplete,
and resources for learning more about how best to write this specific type of movie.
Thanks for your help!