No director better bridges the divide between art house and Hollywood than Dutch transplant Paul Verhoeven, who weaves subversive themes and political commentary into cartoonish takes on the science fiction, action, and thriller genres. Check out these contemporary classics--and if anyone gives you shit, tell them you're researching the postmodern phenomenon. Or trying to see Sharon Stone's hoo-hoo. What's the difference?

RoboCop (1987)--You probably remember all the gratuitous violence and robots, but you may have forgotten the poignant question posed by this film: What if corrupt corporations decided to go into the law enforcement business? It also has the best gang of TV dad villains ever assembled, featuring Kurtwood Smith (Red from That '70s Show) and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks' Leland Palmer).

Total Recall (1990)--This Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi flick combines themes of virtual reality, escapism, and the privatization of fresh air. Is Arnold trying to save Mars from a corrupt CEO, chasing his dead lover, or is he a pawn in a searing critique of corporate-interest environmental policies? It's all of the above, people! Plus, there are a bunch of dead bodies and explosions!

Basic Instinct (1992)--A Hitchcock film for an era of graphic violence and cardboard-cutout Hollywood actors. Sharon Stone plays a classic femme fatale, killing a former rock star in the first scene and eluding arrest throughout the film. How does she do it? By revealingly uncrossing her legs in one of the most famous, frequently rewound scenes in film history.

Starship Troopers (1997)--More aliens, more dead bodies, more boobs, and even more political satire. A bunch of has-beens from crappy TV shows--Saved by the Bell, Melrose Place, Doogie Howser M.D. --star as recruits in a futuristic bug-killing army. They look like models, dress like Nazis, and serve up a timely take on fascistic military groupthink.