Basic Instinct ★★★½

Equally trashy and beautiful, a rare combination that’s definitely part of its continued appeal. There just aren’t too many movies this full of shit that are also this good looking. There are parts of this movie that are as silly — or sillier! — than anything in Showgirls. But almost no one seemed to notice that in 1992. Sharon Stone is so goddamn sexy I think she hypnotized everyone into not realizing it.

Stone here is like a baseball player here with an unremarkable rookie year who suddenly starts pulling down Hall of Fame numbers in season two. She could make a textbook about upper endoscopy procedures sound erotic. And Verhoeven matches her playfulness; every single aspect of the movie — the music, the mystery, the twists, the sex, even the final fade to black — is one big tease. Stone’s Catherine Tramell gets off on screwing with people. So does Verhoeven. That’s what makes Basic Instinct fun.

(Also, I have literally never heard anyone talk about this movie’s car chases, but there are several really good ones with awesome practical driving stunts.)