Netflix Daily Pick: Under the Sea With ‘The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou’ (2004)

Today's pick is a classic Bill Murray comedy adventure.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou is a 2004 adventure about a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed an oceanographer’s friend.

Today’s Netflix pick is an unusual little gem from a man who’s made a career out of making unusual little gems. Starring Bill Murray and Owen Wilson, the film is a mix of comedy and drama but much more in its own weird way, telling a tale like a storybook fairy tale, complete with unique effects and colorful characters. It’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORY: Directed by Wes Anderson, the film follows Steve Zissou (Murray), an aging oceanographer (think Jacques Cousteau) on his latest mission as funds and interest dwindle for his long running documentaries. He is after a new kind of shark that ate his partner but along with him is Ned Plimpton (Wilson), a long time fan who also believes he is Zissou’s son. A journalist named Jane Winslett-Richardson (Cate Blanchett) is also aboard, covering the event and as the crew encounter pirates, competition and Zissou’s ex-wife (Anjelica Huston), things grow steadily out of hand.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, 2004 © Touchstone Pictures

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: Naturally, being an Anderson movie, the film simply pulses with creativity from the remarkable sets to the exotic locations, to the shooting style, all of which make watching it a unique experience already. But with Murray’s performance, one of his best ever, it’s double so. Add to that a sensationally affecting turn by Willem Dafoe as Klaus Daimler, Zissou’s first mate, and this is a terrific find. Quirky, funny, even a little sad, there’s a lot here that makes Zissou a fun and entertaining ride, including a sharp script by Anderson and Noah Baumbach and a haunting score of David Bowie covers. If you like things a little off center, this is one for you. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.