Thanks to Kaspar Peeters for pointing out mplayer, a Linux program that uses Windows codecs to play movie files in lots of different formats including quicketime and windows media player. Great, now I don't have to reboot anymore to watch movies from the web such as the great ad for a Renault Clio featuring Thierry Henry and a surprise guest from the Muppet show in a Blue Note Records style jazz club setting.
Update: Unfortunately, the above link now forwards to the general Renault website and the clip appears to be gone.
Second update: YouTube helps out:
Here is the one with Animal:
which I was talking about. There is another one here: